Xia Li debuts new character on WWE Smackdown

Dec 11, 2021 - by Marc Middleton

“The Protector” Xia Li has arrived on WWE SmackDown and most of the feedback is positive so far.

This week’s SmackDown on FOX from the Staples Center in Los Angeles saw Li make her blue brand debut after weeks of comic-style vignettes explaining the origins of her new character, and how she grew up protecting her family, herself, and others from bullies.

SmackDown was to feature Sonya Deville’s in-ring return against Naomi as the continuation of their feud that has gone on for several weeks. Deville came to the ring but then introduced Natalya as her special guest ring announcer, and Shayna Baszler as her special guest timekeeper. Naomi went to ringside and took out Baszler, kicked Natalya from the apron, and then returned to to the ring to face off with Deville. Before she could attack, Deville retreated to check on her muscle at ringside, and then ordered them to surround Naomi on the apron.

Naomi was facing a three-way beatdown from the apron when the music interrupted and out came Li to a pop. Li stopped on the entrance-way, removed her headgear, and performed several moves while carrying two blades that incorporated the lightning and other special effects. The presentation was unique and as Pat McAfee said, “Is that the most intimidating thing I’ve ever seen in my life?”

Li wrapped up her entrance as Naomi, Deville, Baszler and Natalya watched from the ring, unsure of what was to come. Li then entered the ring and faced off with Naomi. Deville, Baszler and Natalya went to attack but Li teamed up with Naomi as a brawl broke out. Li cleared the ring of Natalya and Baszler before Naomi faced off with Deville. Deville turned and faced Li, turned back around to Naomi and ducked a punch, but then turned back to Li and ate a roundhouse kick that put her down. Naomi pulled Deville to the corner for the split-legged moonsault but Baszler and Natalya pulled her to safety.

Naomi and Li then finished the segment off with a bow to each other in the middle of the ring.

After working a WWE tryout in Shanghai, China in 2016, Li was signed in 2017 and made her debut in the 2017 Mae Young Classic, becoming the first Chinese woman to compete in a WWE ring. She spent her last few months in WWE NXT working the Tian Sha storyline with Boa and Mei Ying (aka Karen Q, Wendy Choo), but had not been seen since losing to then-NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez on the July 20 NXT show. Since then she has worked several SmackDown dark matches, and was called up to the blue brand in the WWE Draft this past October. Li has a martial arts background and was the co-founder of her own fitness studio in China. Before signing with WWE she had multiple first place finishes in various martial arts and fitness competition, including the Second World Traditional Chinese Wushu Championship, the Nike Challenge Competition, and the First China Throw Down: Battle on the Bund.

Li has not commented on her debut as of this writing, but we will keep you updated. Since tonight’s debut she has been a trending topic on social media with an increased buzz for the new character.

Stay tuned for more on Lia and her blue brand debut. You can several photos and videos below, along with the related tweets:

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