WWE NXT Superstar Xia Li was scheduled to make her kickboxing debut for the Combat Night MMA promotion this past Saturday in Orlando, FL, but WWE pulled her from the show shortly before it took place.
The Combat Night Orlando event was scheduled to air on traditional pay-per-view live from the Gilt Nightclub in Orlando, FL. Li’s fight against Anna Housel was on the preliminary card. Li was billed by her real name, Zhao Xia, and since both fighters were competing as amateurs, the promotion ruled that they had to wear headgear and would not be paid.
In an update, Fightful Select reports that WWE only learned of the fight a few days before it was set to take place. WWE reportedly found out about the fight when news dropped online.
WWE then pulled Li from the event, and that reportedly upset her. Sources in the company said they understood why WWE would pull Li from the show, but that she did not understand why, and she reportedly thought WWE “wasn’t giving her respect.”
Sources within NXT noted that Li grew frustrated from not being used much on NXT TV after a few years with the company. Li reportedly recently went directly to Triple H and expressed that she felt ready for an opportunity with the brand. There’s no word yet on how that talk went, but Triple H reportedly appreciated the initiative, and Li was adamant that she could hold her own if trusted with an opportunity.
Li recently began a new storyline with Boa on NXT TV, who was recruited from China with her in the same 2017 Performance Center class. Boa recently delivered a mystery letter to Li after her loss to Shotzi Blackheart on October 7. She then begged NXT General Manager William Regal for a match, telling him that it was very important she get booked. Regal booked Li against Kacy Catanzaro on October 21, and she lost that match as well. The storyline with Boa continued as he delivered another mystery letter to Li after the Catanzaro loss during a post-match video that was released online.
The 32 year old Li, who was a long-time combat sports athlete in China, signed with WWE in January 2017 after impressing officials during a Summer 2016 tryout in Shanghai, China, which was WWE’s first tryout camp in the country. She made her WWE in-ring debut on July 13, 2017, in the 2018 Mae Young Classic tournament, and with that she became the first Chinese woman to ever compete in a WWE ring.
There’s no word yet on where the Li storyline with Boa is going. Stay tuned for updates on Li and her WWE status.