Zhao Xia is a 33-year-old professional wrestler from China. She is currently signed with the WWE and performs on SmackDown under the ring name, Xia Li. She is the first Chinese woman to ever compete in a WWE ring.
Xia’s WWE Tryout
Before joining WWE, Li was a combat-sport athlete, fighting in the martial art of wushu. In January 2017, Li joined the WWE Performance Center after she had impressed talent scouts at a WWE tryout in Shanghai, China. On July 13, 2017, She made her debut for WWE competing in the inaugural Mae Young Classic. She was eliminated in the first round by Mercedes Martinez.
On September 19, 2018, Li competed in her second Mae Young Classic, defeating Karen Q in the first round, but was eliminated in the second round by Deonna Purrazzo. For 2017 and 2018, Li only wrestled at NXT live events outside of the Mae Young Classic tournaments.
Xia Li’s Main Roster Debut
At the Royal Rumble in 2019, Li made her first appearance on the main roster pay-per-view by entering the women’s Royal Rumble match at #11. She lasted only 4:48 before being eliminated by Charlotte Flair. On February 20th’s episode of NXT, she made her television debut losing to Mia Yim. In May, she had her first televised victory defeating Rachel Evers on the May 1 episode of NXT.
In November 2019, Li started feuding with Aliyah and Vanessa Borne. She won back to back singles contests against them and then was attacked by Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke after her match against Borne. This led to a non-title match on the following week of NXT, with Li losing to Baszler by submission.
Xia Li’s Various Feuds
In January 2020, Xia Li participated in the Women’s Royal Rumble match entering at #24. She lasted 10:49 before being eliminated by Shayna Baszler. At the end of February, Li fought Mia Yim and won the match with a roll-up after a distraction from Dakota Kai and Raquel González.
On the March 25th episode of NXT, Li was scheduled to face Aliyah in a qualifier match to determine the number one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship. However, Aliyah was injured backstage before the match started. As a result, the match between the two was rescheduled for the April 15th episode of NXT. Li defeated Aliyah.
On the May 6th episode of NXT, Li wrestled Chelsea Green but was defeated due to outside distractions by Aliyah. The following month, Li and Aliyah fought again but Aliyah defeated Li after Robert Stone distracted her by vomiting in the ring. On the September 16th episode of NXT, Li teamed up with Jessi Kamea in a losing effort against Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro. The next week, Li competed in a battle royal to determine the number one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship, which was won by Candice LeRae.
Xia Li Teams With Boa
Li went against Carter on the September 30 episode of NXT, losing the match and pushing her to the mat after being extended a hand. The following week, after losing a match against Shotzi Blackheart, she was approached by Boa who gave her a letter and followed him afterwards. On the October 21st episode of NXT, Li lost a match against Catanzaro. After the match, she attacked Catanzaro and Carter, thus turning heel.
On the November 25 episode of NXT, a vignette aired of Li and fellow NXT Superstar Boa, looking very rough, entering the backseat of a vehicle together before being driven to an unknown location. The same elderly man who handed Boa a letter on the November 11 episode of NXT appeared outside of the building, appearing to be waiting for them. Weekly vignettes began airing of both Li and Boa being brutally “punished for their failures”, all while being watched over by the elderly man and a mysterious woman in black-and-white face pain.
Li returned on January 6, 2021 during NXT’s New Year’s Evil special, defeating Katrina Cortez. The following week, she defeated another jobber in two strikes, but then was wordlessly given an order by her master on the stage, resulting in Li tying up the opponent and taking more shots at her. On the February 10 episode of NXT, Li defeated Cora Jade quickly. During and after the match, Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter came out to the ring to reason with her but she attacked them both for disrespecting her master Mei Ying. Li then defeated both Catanzaro and Carter in singles bouts on the February 24 and March 10 episodes of NXT. She beat them again in a handicap match three weeks later.
Li Begins a New Feud
In June 2021, Li began feuding with Mercedes Martinez over losing to her in the inaugural Mae Young Classic. She defeated her in a match at NXT TakeOver: In Your House. On the June 29th episode of NXT, she teamed up with Boa and defeated Martinez and Jake Atlas in a mixed tag team match. On the July 20th episode of NXT, Li challenged Raquel González for the NXT Women’s Championship but lost the match. During the match, she suffered an injury following a springboard senton splash, but appeared to be fine after the match.
As part of the WWE Draft in October 2021, Li was drafted to the main roster on the WWE SmackDown brand.
Li’s Main Roster Debut
Xia Li made her main roster debut on the December 10 episode of SmackDown as a face, protecting Naomi as she fought off Sonya Deville, Natalya, and Shayna Baszler. On the February 25, 2022 episode of SmackDown, Li made her in-ring debut by defeating Natalya.SHOW LESS