Xia Li's journey to WWE was filled with sacrifice.
Speaking on the post TakeOver: In Your House media call, Triple H recalled Xia's tryout in China in 2016, joining the Performance Center in January 2017, and then competing in the inaugural Mae Young Classic later that summer. Xia didn't know what WWE was at first but it quickly became her dream. She even risked her family disowning her to follow her dream across the world. Four years later and she's continuing to grow and shine bright on the big stage.
“People underestimate what it takes to be in this business," Triple H began. "When we went to China, however many years ago it was and had the tryout, Xia came from a village where she didn’t know what WWE was. She was this incredible athlete involved in Mixed Martial Arts, involved in all kinds of different types of fighting skills, CrossFit, incredibly fit, her personality was huge, even though she barely spoke English. She came from a small place where she had never heard of what WWE was and I remember them saying to her, “it's like Kung Fu Theater.” And her, “Oh, okay." She came in for the tryout and just watching her over the course of two or three days just fall in love with it. By the end of that week, she was in a place where I think her soul would have been crushed if we didn't bring her to the States with us."
"When we told her that she was going to come, there was a moment before we told her that -- The day before when I was doing an interview over there, and she did the interview and they were telling me about her part of the interview and they asked her, “Does your family know you’re here?” She said, “No.” What would happen if you get this opportunity and are going to have to move to the United States? It was like they would disown her. She said, “At this point, now this has become my dream. I would have to tell them that this is my dream and I have to do this.” In a place where that is not how it works for women, in a small village where none of that is a direction that she would have been allowed to go in and told no. We gave her the call and she had to go handle all of that with her family and, against everybody’s wishes, sort of follow her dreams and come here to a place where she knew just the other nationals that came with her, and learn the language and learn every aspect of this and she’s been grinding ever since."
"There’s moments where you give them little bits and pieces. 4 years ago we put her in the Mae Young Classic and wrestled Mercedes (Martinez), and she did spectacular and she cried that night. To see that come full circle to where she is right now and have the moment she had with Tian Sha, the storyline and everything else, which has had little sputter starts here with COVID and injuries and everything else. But just to see that. We say this all the time, but there is moments like that which is why you do this. There’s moments like her tonight -- rehearsals today, I felt like she was having trouble with her entrance, knowing where she was going and it felt like she was having a hard time keeping it together. It can swallow you up, but then she delivers and people have no idea what that feels like, and it makes everything so meaningful and so worthwhile.”
Xia Li defeated Mercedes Martinez at TakeOver: In Your House, exacting revenge for the loss she suffered four years ago.
If you missed any of the action from NXT, you can check out our live coverage as well as our post-show review to catch up on all the happenings.
Thank you to Luis Pulido for his assistance in transcribing the quote.
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