Zhao Xia (July 28, 1988) is a Chinese professional wrestler currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Xia Li. She competed in two consecutive WWE tournaments including the first annual Mae Young Classic in 2017 and the 2018 Mae Young Classic. Li also competed in the Women's Royal Rumble match at the 2019 Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Xia has trained in martial arts and is the co-founder of her own fitness studio. Zhao has multiple first-place finishes in various martial arts and fitness competitions, including the Second World Traditional Chinese Wushu Championship, Nike Challenge Competition and First China Throw Down: Battle on the Bund.
Professional wrestling career
World Wrestling Entertainment
On July 13, 2017 Xia made her in-ring debut on NXT, under her new ring name Xia Li, participating in the first annual Mae Young Classic, where she was eliminated in the first rounds by Mercedes Martinez.
Xia returned in 2018 during the March 17th house show, where she won her first victory in a match defeating Reina Gonzalez. Six days later during the March 23rd house show, Xia wrestled her third match won by Vanessa Borne. During the April 19th house show, Xia teamed with fellow Chinese recruits Big Boa and Rocky, in a mixed tag match won by Adrian Jaoude, Cezar Bononi & Taynara Conti. Two months later, Xia returned for the June 23rd house show in a match lost to Aliyah. During the June 30th house show, Xia teamed with Kairi Sane to win a tag match defeating Lacey Evans & Vanessa Borne. During the July 14th house show, Li challenged reigning champion Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women's Championship, but was defeated in precisely two minutes. Li met Baszler once more in a non-title rematch held during the July 19th house show, but once more was defeated. The following night, Li competed in a Number Contender Battle Royal for the NXT Women's Championship. She finished the month with a match during the July 26th house show, losing to Reina Gonzalez.
On August 8, Li competed in the second annual Mae Young Classic, advancing in the first round after eliminating Karen Q. During the second rounds held on the following night, Li was eliminated by Deonna Purrazzo. She returned to NXT during its August 10th house show, Li teamed with Nikki Cross in defeating Reina Gonzalez & Rhea Ripley. During the September 15 and September 22nd house shows, Li was defeated in two consecutive singles encounters against Reina Gonzalez. A week later during the September 27th house show, Li teamed with Io Shirai & Kairi Sane in a tag match lost to Shayna Baszler and newcomers Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir. At the following night's house show, Li competed in a Number One Contender Battle Royal match for the NXT Women's Championship. Returning the following month during the October 6th house show, Li lost to Aliyah. She returned the following month for the November 9th house show defeating recent recruit Chelsea Green. At the following night's house show, Li teamed with Boa and Rocky in a mixed tag match lost to Jessie Elaban and team Heavy Machinery (Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight). Li finished the year with three house show matches during December, including during the December 6th house show in a Number One Contender Qualifying match, lost to recent recruit Lacey Evans.
The following year, on January 27, Li joined the Women's Royal Rumble match at the 2019 Royal Rumble, where she was eliminated by Charlotte Flair. The following month, Li returned to television during the February 20 episode of NXT in a match lost against Mia Yim. The following week on the February 27 episode of NXT, Li teamed with Taynara Conti in a tag match lost against Aliyah & Vanessa Borne. During the month of March, Li resumed her work in house shows, sharing the ring with wrestlers including Reina Gonzalez, Karen Q, Aliyah, Vanessa Borne and Deonna Purrazzo. On April 8 during the 4th Show of the WrestleMania Axxess event, Li teamed with Kavita Devi in a tag match lost to Aliyah & Vanessa Borne.
Li made her debut in NXT UK, where she lost a singles match against Kay Lee Ray. Three months later, Li returned to television on the June 19 episode of NXT, where she defeated Taynara Conti. The following month, Li returned on the July 24th episode of NXT, losing a match to Bianca Belair.
By late 2020, Li went through a change of character. The November 25, 2020 episode of NXT showed a vignette where Li and Boa got driven to an unknown location. Weekly vignettes aired after this, where Li and Boa went through harsh training. Xia Li returned to the ring on the January 6, 2021 episode of NXT, with a new look and easily beat Katrina Cortez. Li came out with Boa and their master on a throne, Mei Ying. On the next week's NXT, Li's heel turn was solidified when she beat Valentina Feroz and attacked her after the match.
As part of the 2021 Draft, Li was drafted to the SmackDown brand. She made her main roster debut on December 10 edition of SmackDown, as a face, protecting Naomi fought off Deville, Baszler and Natalya.
- Finishing and signature moves
- Cyclone Kick
- Spinning Heel kick
- Palm strikes
- Knife-edge chop
- Splits Legdrop
- Crucifix Hold
- Swinging Neckbreaker
|WWE Mae Young Classic 2017 contestants|
Abbey Laith • Ayesha Ray • Bianca Belair • Candice LeRae • Dakota Kai • Jazzy Gabert • Kairi Sane • Kavita Devi • Kay Lee Ray • Lacey Evans • Marti Belle • Mercedes Martinez • Mia Yim • Miranda Salinas • Nicole Savoy • Piper Niven • Princesa Sugehit • Rachel Evers • Reina Gonzalez • Renee Michelle • Rhea Ripley • Sage Beckett • Santana Garrett • Sarah Logan • Serena Deeb • Shayna Baszler • Taynara Conti • Tessa Blanchard • Toni Storm • Vanessa Borne • Xia Li • Zeda
|Mae Young Classic 2018 contestants|
|Aerial Monroe • Allysin Kay • Ashley Rayne • Deonna Purrazzo • Hiroyo Matsumoto • Io Shirai • Isla Dawn • Jinny • Kacy Catanzaro • Jessica Elaban • Kaitlyn • Karen Q • Kavita Devi • Killer Kelly • Lacey Lane • Meiko Satomura • Mercedes Martinez • Mia Yim • MJ Jenkins • Nicole Matthews • Priscilla Kelly • Rachel Evers • Reina Gonzalez • Rhea Ripley • Taynara Conti • Tegan Nox • Toni Storm • Vanessa Kraven • Xia Brookside • Xia Li • Zatara • Zeuxis|