Xia Li’s build is far from over, but what WWE has shown through her new presentation has been enjoyable and creates interest in what’s to come.
Builds are an important aspect of character development in professional wrestling. It is the build that gets fans invested in an individual beyond what occurs within the match. WWE frequently struggles in developing interesting builds in any aspect of their promotion. However, the development of Xia Li has been fun to watch and is an example that slow builds still work, even in the WWE.
Li spent most of 2020 losing match after match. Her last victory came in April when she defeated Aliyah, but from there, things fell apart for the Chinese competitor. That was used as the basis of her turn, but not in the standard fashion of how heel turns occur. Instead, it was presented that she was forced down this “dark” path by a yet to be named character. While that part of the story is yet to play out, what Li has done in the ring in recent weeks has piqued the interest of fans watching.
Li’s last two matches clock in under a combined two minutes as she squashed both Valentina Feroz and Katrina Cortez. Everything about her presentation and performance in the ring has changed and is working in establishing Li as a new force in the women’s division. This is the perfect use of squash matches and they should continue for the next few weeks.
The real question, and frequently the challenge for WWE creative is answering the question “what’s next?” Remember when Aleister Black went on a strong run for much of 2020, only to be removed off television after a brief feud with Kevin Owens? Nothing was ever made of that build and he is yet another talented performer sitting backstage. The same could happen to Li if the future is not properly booked to establish her as a threat in some sort to the rest of the women that make up this NXT division.
It is early in the game but the rebuild of Xia Li has been enjoyable to watch. The NXT women’s division is very deep but with expected callups coming as WrestleMania season continues, it will be interesting to watch who takes higher positions on the roster. Li can be one of those names if she is protected and booked correctly in the weeks to come.