WWE Friday Night Smackdown results (5/10): Barnett’s review of Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles, Angelo Dawkins vs. Tama Tonga, Bianca Belair vs. Candice LeRae, Jade Cargill vs. Piper Niven in King and Queen of the Ring matches

By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,290)
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania at Mohegan Sun Arena
Aired live May 10, 2024 on Fox

A video recap aired of Backlash, followed by Smackdown General Manager Nick Aldis standing in the ring. He said King of the Ring matches would begin tonight, but first he wanted to introduce Undisputed World Champion Cody Rhodes. Cody made his entrance, and Aldis said he knows Cody had promised to take on the best competition WWE had to offer, and wanted to tell him his next challenger had been determined. Logan Paul then made his way out to the ring. 

Cody said he knew what he wanted to talk about. Paul said he wanted to kick of the “Logan Paul Levesque Era” by main eventing King and Queen of the Ring in Saudi Arabia. A “Logan Sucks” chant broke out. Rhodes said he was fond of the idea of holding two Championships, but Paul cut him off. He said he was the longest reigning Champion in WWE, and the greatest attraction in the company. Paul said he had the greatest rookie year of all time, and called himself a superstar. He then said Cody was a superstar too, but despite all of his accomplishments all anybody is talking about is his moments.

He referenced his midair collision with Ricochet at Royal Rumble ‘23 overshadowing Cody Rhodes victory, and IShowSpeed and Prime Energy overshadowing his win at WrestleMania. The crowd chanted that Prime sucked, and Logan addressed it’s calorie and electrolyte content. Cody replied that a lot of people would call him a dumbass, but he feels like he understands who Logan Paul is. He said he’s faced Floyd Mayweather, made the Forbes under 40 list, and won the US Championship after 5 matches. 

Rhodes then said if he wins the US Championship in Saudi Arabia he’d be a Grand Slam Champion. He then said Logan Paul is arrogant and takes credit for things himself that are a team effort. Cody then said at King and Queen of the Ring, Paul would find out where he stands on that team. They both held up their title belts to close the segment. 

Backstage, AJ Styles was interviewed and said he had Cody on the ropes and he should be defending his title against Logan Paul at King and Queen of the ring. He said he would earn another title shot against Cody, and that would start tonight when he goes on to win the King of the Ring tournament. 

Naomi made her entrance in the arena…[c]

My Take: Rhodes vs. Paul is an interesting choice for Saudi Arabia. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle the finish.

1. Naomi vs. Nia Jax in a Queen of the Ring Quarterfinal: They went back and forth for a bit, with Naomi sending Nia to the floor and splashing her with a suicide dive…[c]

Jax gained control during the break and sent Naomi to the floor. Jax then gloated while Naomi attempted to answer a ten count. Naomi returned to the ring with an attempted sunset flip, but couldn’t get Jax over. Naomi had to scramble out of the way as Jax tried to drop down on her. The match was built around Jax resisting being knocked down, and a kick sent Jax to one knee. She was able to bring her down with a Heatseeker type maneuver on the apron. She followed up with a split legged moonsault, but Nia was able to kick out after a close near fall. 

Naomi attempted to muscle up Jax onto the top rope in position for a superplex. Naomi then went for a top rope head scissors, and covered for another close near fall. She followed up with a couple of Superkicks, but Nia fired back with a powerbomb and a leg drop. She then landed an annihilator and got the win. 

Nia Jax defeated Naomi at 8:21 to advance in the Queen of the Ring Tournament

After the match, Nia celebrated her win. Baron Corbin was shown backstage and interviewed by Byron Saxton. He was asked about how he’s different from his last run on Smackdown, and he said he had to go back to NXT to find himself. Carmelo Hayes walked up and said Lashley had pulled out of the tournament when he realized he would run circles around him, and said Corbin should have done the same. Corbin said a head that big is a huge target. Hayes said he would see him out in the ring….[c]

My Take: A fun match between Naomi and Nia. The crowd was very into Naomi and popped huge for all of her offense.

Baron Corbin made his entrance, followed by Carmelo Hayes. 

2. Carmelo Hayes vs. Baron Corbin in a King of the Ring Quarterfinal: Hayes slapped Corbin after landing a few leg kicks. He turned his back on Corbin and mocked the crowd, and turned back around to a heavy punch in the face. Corbin rattled Hayes with strikes and sent him retreating to the floor…[c]

Hayes fired back into the match with a lariat and a spinning facebuster. Corbin went for Deep Six, but Hayes managed to avoid it. He then managed to catch Hayes with a Death Valley Driver and a vertical suplex for a near fall. Hayes was able to recover with a First 48 and a big running knee strike. He went up top, but Corbin rolled out of the way before he could jump. Corbin landed a big lariat, and then went for End of Days, but Hayes avoided it and rolled him into an inside Cradle and stole the win. 

Carmelo Hayes defeated Baron Corbin at 6:17

After the match, Bayley was asked about her opinion on the Queen of the Ring Tournament. She said she was curious how far Jade Cargill would go, but she was interrupted by Chelsea Green and Piper Niven. Chelsea said she seems to have forgotten about Piper, who would knock Jade out in the first round. Piper stood there with a sour look on her face. Jade Cargill was shown backstage. Their match is up next…[c]

My Take: A brief but entertaining match between Hayes and Corbin. The time in NXT did Corbin some good and Hayes got an important first win.

A WrestleMania 41 preview video for Las Vegas was shown. Randy Orton was then interviewed backstage. He spoke about how he has accomplished many things, but has never become King of the Ring. Orton gave AJ Styles credit for his talent, but said it always feels phenomenal when he hits AJ Styles with an RKO out of nowhere. He then addressed Tama Tonga, and said for what he did to Kevin Owens, he would give him another RKO and make sure he saw it coming.

In the arena, Jade Cargill made her ring entrance. She was followed by Piper Niven. 

3. Jade Cargill vs. Piper Niven in a Queen of the Ring Quarterfinal: They tied up to start and ended up in a stalemate. They then collided with a shoulder block and it ended up the same way. They jawed at each other and eventually Cargill sent Cargill down with a running shoulder block. She followed up with a superkick, but Piper didn’t go down. Jade ran at Piper, but she got caught and slammed down. Piper followed up with a running senton and covered for a two count. Chelsea managed to slap Jade in the face while Niven distracted the ref. Piper followed up with a body slam. 

Jade avoided a clothesline and picked up Piper for a variation on a Blue Thunder Bomb for a close near fall. She then followed up with a splash in the corner. Chelsea jumped up on the apron, but got slapped back down again. Jade set up for Jaded, but Piper stuffed it and sent Jade into the corner. Piper followed up with a cannonball in the corner and got a nearfall. She then dragged Jade towards the corner and climbed up. Jade got to her feet and Piper scrambled. Jade landed a pump kick and followed up with an impressive Jaded and got the win. 

Jade Cargill defeated Piper Niven at 5:23

After the match, Jade Cargill celebrated as she walked to the back. Bianca Belair made her entrance and celebrated with Jade as they met on the stage. She will face Candice LeRae up next…[c]

My Take: Piper and Jade worked well together. It looked like Piper ate a pretty stick pump kick at the end of the match. I’m curious if she costs Jade the match with Nia next week, as it seems like a possibility that she could be a challenger for Bayley in Scotland.

A vignette aired for Shinsuke Nakamura. He said he was there to claim his throne, and no one on Smackdown is safe. 

Candice LeRae made her entrance during the break. 

4. Bianca Belair vs. Candice LeRae in a Queen of the Ring Quarterfinal: The match spilled outside early and Bianca swung Candice into the ring barricade. Indi Hartwell chopped at Belair’s knee as she got back into the ring. It didn’t seem to slow her down much, as Bianca landed a vertical suplex and landed punches in the corner. Bianca flipped off the second rope and grabbed her knee at that point. Candice focused on the knee as the crowd chanted “EST”. Belair fought to her feet and went for another suplex, but Candice slipped out the back and landed another chop block. Biance powered up Candice and landed a KOD anyway and got the win. 

Bianca Belair defeated Candice LeRae at 2:48

After the match, the announce team introduced a video package that recapped The Bloodline involvement in the Backlash show. Backstage, The Bloodline was in the locker room. Heyman asked for a moment with Solo alone. He said he knows his place in this world, and it’s as Roman’s wise man. Paul said Solo is making decisions….and was cut off. Solo referenced the decision to pull Roman from the draft and how that moved them into the third round. 

He asked if Heyman was trying to pull food off his table and money out of his pocket. He said no. Solo referenced Paul not speaking to Roman since WrestleMania. Paul said that’s true. Solo said he had, and until he gets back he’s in charge of The Bloodline and Paul is his Wiseman. He told Paul he loved him and pulled him in for a hug. 

In the arena, Angelo Dawkins made his entrance for a King of the Ring Quarterfinal…[c]

My Take: Solo becoming a scheming, lying bastard has been a great thing for his character.

A vignette for Andrade was shown. He was labeled as coming soon. Tama Tonga made his entrance for the next match. 

5. Tama Tonga (w/The Bloodline) vs. Angelo Dawkins (w/Montez Ford) in a King of the Ring Quarterfinal: Tonga landed a nasty lariat in the corner. He then followed up with some gut punches. Dawkins avoided a running splash in the corner and fired back with some lariats of his own. He then landed a running back elbow and a splash. Dawkins hit the ripes and landed a big pounce that sent Tama out of the ring. Solo jumped on the apron, and Dawkins slapped him down. Montez Ford then took out Solo on the floor. Tonga Loa got involved on the outside and Solo delivered a Samoan Spike to Ford. 

Dawkins got distracted and Tonga was able to land a running double arm DDT. He then covered and got the win. 

Tama Tonga defeated Angelo Dawkins at 2:28

After the match, Solo got in the ring and hit Dawkins with a Samoan Spike to put him down again. We then got a video package for Blair Davenport. Back in the arena, AJ Styles made his entrance for the Main Event…[c]

My Take: Tama moving on makes sense given where they seem to be going with him and Orton.

Randy Orton made his ring entrance after the break. Smackdown will be in Jacksonville next week. A Cody and Logan Paul contract signing was announced for that show. 

6. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles in a King of the Ring Quarterfinal: Orton sent Styles to the floor early with a clothesline…[c]

Orton landed mounted punches from the top rope. The action spilled outside again and Styles ended up over the barricade. Orton then slammed him onto the ring apron and the announce table. The crowd chanted for one more, and he slammed Styles a second time. The crowd chanted for Orton, but Styles landed a dropkick and a chop block to the back of his knee. Orton went to the outside to recover, and Styles took a lap around the ring and took out his knee with a third attack…[c]

Styles focused on the knee with knee and elbow strikes. He then placed Orton’s foot on the bottom rope to jump on Orton’s knee, but Orton used his other leg to push Styles over the top rope. Orton kicked Styles as he got back in the ring, but didn’t have the balance to execute a draping DDT. Orton managed to land a couple of lariats, but didn’t have the power he normally does. Both men got to their feet, but Styles used the second rope to tweak Orton’s bad knee. 

He then attempted a Phenomenal Forearm, but Orton was able to trip him up. Styles recovered and pulled Orton into a Calf Crusher, but Styles used his length advantage to force a break with a chinlock. Orton followed up with a Powerslam, but couldn’t make a cover. Both men battled near the ropes, and Orton was able to pull Styles in for a draping DDT. Orton fired up for an RKO, but Styles shoved him away. Styles landed a Phenomenal Forearm, but Orton was able to make a desperation grab at the bottom rope to avoid taking a loss. 

Styles signaled for a Styles Clash, but Orton popped up with an RKO and got the win. 

Randy Orton defeated AJ Styles at 17:14 to advance in the King of the Ring Tournament

After the match, Orton celebrated as the show came to a close. 

My Take: A solid match that spent a lot of time establishing Orton’s knee as a liability for later rounds of the tournament, similar to the approach taken with Bianca Belair earlier in the show. We’ll see which direction they go with both of them and how early in the tournament they make an exit. Overall, this was a good episode of Smackdown that had a brisk pace and didn’t waste very many minutes. Hopefully the later rounds of the King of the Ring Tournament don’t suffer from too much interference. My weekly Smackdown audio review will be available exclusively for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons) on Saturday morning.


Readers Comments (3)

  1. What’s up with out of focus camera shots? Am I the only one who’s noticing?

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