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Wushu champion Xia Li becomes the first Chinese woman to be part of WWE main roster

Wrestling superstar Xia Li to debut on WWE’s ‘SmackDown'
Wrestling superstar Xia Li to debut on WWE’s ‘SmackDown’

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    Wrestler Xia Li is set to make her debut as the first Chinese female superstar to compete on WWE’s main roster.

    “The Protector” rises: Li, born in Chongqing and an experienced practitioner of the Chinese sport of wushu, will make her first appearance on WWE television this Friday.

    • According to her online bio, Li was recruited to the WWE Performance Center in 2017 after showcasing her skills during a tryout in Shanghai. 
    • She would prove her mettle months later in the first Mae Young Classic tournament, a WWE-produced event. 
    • In 2019, Li competed in the second Women’s Royal Rumble Match as part of the WWE NXT brand. 
    • Li shared her excitement on Instagram after she was drafted to “SmackDown” in the WWE Draft back in October.


    View this post on Instagram


    A post shared by Xia li WWE 噬罪 (@xialiwwe)

    • WWE has been portraying Li as the comic book hero “The Protector” for the promotion leading up to her “SmackDown” debut. 

    Li’s path to greatness: Wrestling star Triple H, who founded WWE’s NXT brand, revealed in a previous interview that Li faced numerous challenges to become a WWE superstar.

    • “Xia came from a village where she didn’t even know what WWE was,” he was quoted as saying. “She was this incredible athlete involved in mixed martial arts, involved in all kinds of different fighting skills, CrossFit. Incredibly fit. Her personality just was huge, even though she barely spoke English. I remember them saying to her it’s like kung fu theater.”

    • Her rise to stardom in the NXT Women’s division has been attributed to her work ethic and her martial arts background.
    • The combat sport athlete has won multiple first place awards in different martial arts and fitness competitions over the years, including the second World Traditional Wushu Championships in 2006 and the first China Throwdown: Battle on the Bund.
    • Li currently ranks among the world’s top 150 female wrestlers on the “Pro Wrestling Illustrated Women’s 150 2021 List.”

    “WWE SmackDown” will be broadcast live on Fox from L.A.’s Staples Center on Dec. 10. 

    Featured Image via WWE (left, right)

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