WWE has announced that Xia Li will debut new new “The Protector” gimmick on next week’s SmackDown. This will be her first main roster appearance since being called up from WWE NXT in the WWE Draft in October.
WWE began airing the comic-style vignettes for Li a few weeks back, explaining her “powerful story” and “dark history” that led to her becoming a “fierce warrior” billed as The Protector. WWE actually aired a standard “coming soon” teaser vignette on November 5, showing off Li’s “hard-hitting fighting style as the first Chinese-born female Superstar” to compete on the brand, but then on November 19 they began airing vignettes for The Protector.
You can see Li’s recent vignettes below, along with her post-show tweet from tonight.
Sonya Deville vs. Naomi has also been announced for next week’s SmackDown, in what could be the pay-off to their weeks-long feud. If the match happens with no swerves, this would be Deville’s first match since losing the No DQ Loser Leaves WWE Match to current NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose at SummerSlam 2020. Deville teamed with Shayna Baszler to defeat Naomi in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match on the October 15 SmackDown, but never really got physical.
Tonight’s SmackDown featured a backstage segment that saw Deville deliver a stiff slap to Naomi’s face. Deville warned that as long as she is in her suit, she is a WWE official and Naomi’s boss, but she will step back into the ring with Naomi when the suit comes off. Deville accepted Naomi’s challenge after the slap. You can see that segment below.
Stay tuned for more on next week’s SmackDown. Below is the updated line-up, along with related shots from this week’s SmackDown:
* Xi Li makes her SmackDown debut
* Sonya Deville returns to the ring against Naomi
* Jeff Hardy and Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Baron Corbin and Madcap Moss
* #1 contender Brock Lesnar appears to continue WWE Day 1 build with Universal Champion Roman Reigns (announced by Staples Center)