The Protector: Xia Li
Xia Li trained in martial arts and is the co-founder of her own fitness studio. Li has won several martial arts and fitness events, including the Second World Traditional Chinese Wushu Championship, Nike Challenge Competition, and First China Throw Down: Battle on the Bund. Xia was one of seven Chinese athletes contracted by WWE to train at the WWE Performance Center in September 2016.
On July 13, 2017, Xia made her NXT debut as Xia Li, competing in the inaugural Mae Young Classic, where she was defeated by Mercedes Martinez in the first round. On August 8, Li participated in the second annual Mae Young Classic, defeating Karen Q in the first round. During the second round held on the following night, Li was eliminated by Deonna Purrazzo.
On January 27, 2019, Li became the first Chinese woman to enter the Women’s Royal Rumble but was eliminated by Charlotte Flair. Li and Boa were seen in a car together on NXT’s November 25 program, both looking tired. The same elderly man that left Boa a letter on NXT on November 11 waited outside the premises. In weekly vignettes, the old guy and a mystery lady in black-and-white face paint supervised Li and Boa as they were mercilessly “punished for their shortcomings” A transformed Li returned on January 6, 2021, during NXT’s New Year’s Evil special, squashing Katrina Cortez in dominant fashion.
Weekly vignettes aired after this, where Li and Boa went through harsh training. On the January 6, 2021 edition of NXT, Xia Li defeated Katrina Cortez with ease. Li came out with Boa and their master on a throne, Mei Ying. That week’s NXT saw Li defeat Valentina Feroz and assault her afterward, solidifying her heel turn.
As part of the 2021 Draft, Li was drafted to the SmackDown brand. On SmackDown on December 10, she debuted as a face, defending Naomi against Deville, Baszler, and Natalya. Now Xia looks to protect one person and one person only herself on the road to becoming Smackdown Women’s Champion