WWE Friday Night Smackdown results (5/24): Barnett’s review of Randy Orton vs. Tama Tonga and Bianca Belair vs. Nia Jax in King and Queen of the Ring semifinal matches

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

WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Episode 1,292)
Taped earlier in the day in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Super Dome
Aired May 24, 2024 on Fox

Randy Orton was shown walking through the building, along with Tama Tonga, Nia Jax, and Bianca Belair. A recap was shown of Triple H announcing the winners of the King and Queen of the Ring tournaments will receive WWE or World Title shots at Summerslam. Inside the building, Corey Graves and Wade Barrett joined in on commentary, and the crown for Queen of the Ring was shown. Bianca Belair made her ring entrance for the opening match, followed by Nia Jax. Lyra Valkryia was shown in the front row. The Arabic Announce Team of Jude Aldajani and Faisal Mughaisib were introduced by Corey Graves.

1. Bianca Belair vs. Nia Jax in a Queen of the Ring Semi-Final Match: Nia tossed Bianca around early on and splashed her in the corner. Bianca jumped on Nia’s back and applied a choke, but Nia backed her into the corner and broke free. Bianca landed a backflip and sold her knee gingerly. She then threw body blocks at Nia but could not knock her down. She then smashed her into the turnbuckle and rained down punches from the top rope. Jax charged across the ring at Bianca, but she leapt over her and Nia collided with the ring post. Bianca then splash Bianca on the floor with a springboard…[c]

Jax regained control during the break and started to attack Bianca’s knee. She eventually attempted a stretch muffler, but Bianca escaped and went for a crucifix pin for a two count. Nia replied with a Samoan Drop for a near fall. Bianca landed a cross body from the top a moment later and sold the injured leg after the landing. Nia landed a leg drop on the bad leg and then dragged Bianca into the corner for the annihilator. Bianca struggled but was able to power up Nia out of the corner with a powerbomb for a close near fall. 

Both women were down and Bianca held her knee in pain. Bianca tried for a KOD, but had no chance to get Nia up on her shoulders. Jax then shifted focus back to the knee and set up for the Annihilator again, but Bianca got to her feet and tried for the KOD again. Bianca collapsed and Nia hit a running senton. She then followed up with an Annihilator for the win. 

Nia Jax defeated Bianca Belair at 11:37 to advance to the Queen of the Ring Finals

After the match, Kayla Braxton interviewed Nia Jax in the ring. She addressed Lyra Valkyria and asked her if she saw her buzz through Bianca Belair. She then said she would do the same to her, the same as she did Becky Lynch and Rhea Ripley. Nia said at Summerslam she would be both Queen and Champion, and that starts tomorrow when she buzzes through Lyra. LA Knight will make an appearance on the Grayson Waller Effect up next…[c]

My Take: Another big win for Nia on her way to challenging Bayley. Lyra Valkyria making it this far is a good showing for her first month or so on the Main Roster, but it feels like Nia’s destiny at this point. 

Tiffany Stratton approached Bianca after her match backstage and told her “better luck next time, loser.” Candice and Indi approached to gloat over Bianca’s knee, but Jade approached and told them to back off. Jade said she would go talk to Aldis since they want their wigs split. 

In the arena, the Grayson Waller Effect was introduced. Waller introduced Theory as his guest hosts and they mocked the crowd for being idiots. Theory then introduced LA Knight, but he was interrupted by Carmelo Hayes before he could finish. Hayes took credit for being a megastar, but said they forgot about Hayes being a first round draft pick and “Him”. He then said guys like them have to stick together, and Waller agreed and said he would be a better guest than LA Knight. 

Theory and Hayes took turns dissing Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley and called them egomaniacs. That brought them to LA Knight. Hayes called him a veteran who hasn’t accomplished anything but still wants to talk a big game. They mocked LA Knight with his own “Yeah!” catchphrase, and said he can’t win the big one. Hayes said they should just leave him in the back, but Knight had other plans and made his way to the ring. Knight said he was going to keep it short since he had better things to do. 

He said they were poking an angry dog with a sharp stick, and it won’t take them long to figure out who’s game this is. Knight went to leave, but Hayes attacked him from behind. This quickly turned into a three on one beat down, but the Street Profits quickly came to his rescue. Six man tag incoming….[c]

My Take: The segment was a bit of an awkward slough until LA Knight arrived. The material wasn’t terrible but the delivery was all over the place. Hopefully it’s was just a weird night at the office.

A vignette for Blair Davenport aired. She addressed nobody in particular and said she was coming to take the spot of whiners who claim they were overlooked. 

2. LA Knight, Montez Ford, and Angelo Dawkins vs. Carmelo Hayes, Austin Theory, and Grayson Waller: Knight started the match with Waller and took control early. The heels flipped the script with Angelo Dawkins in the ring. The action went to ringside where Dawkins was swarmed by the heels. Knight and Ford ran over to confront them as they taunted the crowd…[c]

Hayes attempted a springboard, but got caught and tossed with a T-Bone Suplex by Dawkins. Dawkins went for a tag, but Theory and Waller pulled Knight and Ford from the apron. Knight blasted theory on the floor and tagged into the match. He teed off on Waller and then landed a big lariat on Hayes, followed by a sliding dropkick on Theory. Knight landed a pop up powerslam on Waller followed by an elbow drop. He covered but Hayes broke it up. 

Knight went for a BFT on Hayes, but he escaped and landed the First 48. The action went fast and furious as Knight landed a BFT on Waller. He then tagged in Ford and took out Hayes on the outside. Ford landed a big splash and covered for the win. 

LA Knight and the Street Profits defeated Carmelo Hayes and A-Town Down Under at 8:52

After the match, a video from the press conference was shown where Logan Paul gave his Brass Knuckles to Michael Cole and said he would take Cody’s title fair and square. Cody Rhodes was shown backstage as he walked up to Randy Orton. He wished him luck and they shook hands. Cody is up next…[c]

My Take: A fairly paint by numbers six man tag. Not bad by any means. The crowd was into Knight and the Street Profits.

Cody Rhodes made his entrance in the arena. The crowd reaction was strong. Before Cody could speak, Logan Paul’s music hit and he headed to the ring. Paul told Cody he got played. He said this was the third time he had a title in his sights in Saudi Arabia and this time Cody was the victim. Paul said Cody had the experience advantage but claimed to be smarter than him. He then reiterated his promise that he wouldn’t cheat to win because Michael Cole has his brass knuckles. 

Cody replied that Logan Paul is a scared kid, and he fears being exposed as a fraud, a Youtuber cosplaying as a wrestler. Rhodes then called out Logan’s imposter syndrome, and said his experience makes him believe has has another set of knuckles on him right now. Paul deflected and said he gave his only brass knucks to Cole. Cody called senior referee Ryan Tran into the ring to pat him down and allow Paul to prove himself. 

Paul demanded Cody get patted down first, who was clean. He then patted down Paul, and found something in one of his cargo pants pockets. Paul said they weren’t even his pants, and offered to explain himself. He said they were for his protection tonight in case Cody attacked him, and he promised not to cheat tomorrow. Cody retorted that what fans enjoy about his family is how real they are. He then told Paul that he doesn’t consider him a Youtuber, he considers him a Pro Wrestler and a WWE Superstar. Cody then said until he steps in the ring full time and respects the ring they stand in, he would never be on his level. He told Paul he would beat him so bad tomorrow he would regret ever trying to step in the ring with him. 

Backstage, Randy Orton was interviewed by Byron Saxton. Orton said that Tama Tonga is unhinged and vicious, but unfortunately for him he is Randy Orton and he is all of those things too. He said The Bloodline has the numbers but he’s been beating the odds his entire career, and he would introduce Tonga to the three most dangerous letters in WWE, RKO. 

Elsewhere, Bayley approached the gorilla area and passed Michin on her way. She then ran into Nia Jax, who told her to keep the title warm for her. Bayley will face Chelsea Green next…[c]

My Take: A bit of a corny segment with Paul and Cody over the brass knuckles, but it got much better at the end when Cody started getting fired up.

DIY confronted The Street Profits backstage. Ciampa poured out Montez Ford’s drink and criticized him for being overly optimistic glass half full types. Their agenda was becoming the WWE Tag Team Champions. Chelsea Green made her ring entrance in the arena. 

3. Chelsea Green vs. Bayley: Chelsea dropped Bayley with a right hand and sent Bayley into the corner. She followed up with a missile dropkick from the top, but Bayley quickly created some space with a jawbreaker. Chelsea pulled Bayley out onto the apron and delivered a kick to the chest as she hung over the side of the ring…[c]

Bayley regained control during the break and landed a back suplex. Green replied with a ZigZag of sorts, and then a Rough Rider for a near fall. Green made a second attempt but got stuffed. Bayley followed up with a Rose Plant and got the win. 

Bayley defeated Chelsea Green at 4:55

After the match, Piper Niven ran in and gave a running splash on Bayley. After a short comeback from Bayley, PIper landed a Bossman Slam and a couple of running sentons. She teased leaving the ring, but then came back and landed another one. Backstage, AJ Styles walked into Nick Aldis’ office and asked for one more chance at Cody Rhodes after his close call in France. Styles said he needed it, but Aldis told him he can’t give him what he wants despite how much he respects him. He told him it had to be earned, and that takes time. 

Styles said he doesn’t have time, but Aldis said that’s something he can’t help him with. Randy Orton and Tama Tonga is up next…[c]

My Take: Good to see PIper Niven be given a chance to look like a serious challenger. Hopefully she seizes the opportunity and shows off some personality in the process.

A vignette aired for Andrade’s return to Smackdown that focused on him rejecting expectations and controlling his own destiny. Backstage, Legado Del Fantasma considered Andrade coming to Smackdown. Santos Escobar said they should let bygones be bygones and consider bringing him into the family. We then got a video package that recapped Randy Orton’s ongoing feud with Randy Orton and The Bloodline. 

Backstage, Heyman explained Tonga Loa isn’t there tonight because they couldn’t get him across the border. He said there was a reason they didn’t previously recruit these dangerous individuals. Solo said he knows, and until Roman gets back, he’s in charge and it’s up to him to solve these problems. Heyman mentioned Tama Tonga, who then appeared and responded that he was recruited to The Bloodline because he was that dangerous of an individual. Heyman backed off as Tonga got in his face, and Solo just chuckled as Heyman shook from anxiety.

In the arena, Randy Orton made his ring entrance. He faces Tama Tonga after another break…[c]

My Take: Messy Paul Heyman is going to have a stress induced heart problem.

The announce team ran through the PLE card for tomorrow. Tama Tonga then made his ring entrance for the main event. Gunther was shown in the crowd.

4. Tama Tonga (w/Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa) vs. Randy Orton in a King of the Ring Semi-Final Match: Tonga jumped out to fast start with rapid fire strikes in the corner. Orton fired back with a kick to the gut and a fallaway slam that sent Tonga halfway across the ring. Orton then sent him into the ring post and delivered european uppercuts in the corner. Orton retained control as the match spilled outside, but Tonga got back into the match by sending Orton’s bad knee into the ring steps…[c]

Tonga focused on Orton’s bad knee during the break. He tried to deliver a frog splash to the knee from the top, but Orton avoided it. Orton attempted a draping DDT but didn’t find success. Tonga applied a rear chinlock that forced Orton back to his knees. He held the hold for a time period until Orton found the strength to get back to his feet and deliver a back suplex. Orton fired back with some lariats and a snap powerslam, but Orton sold the bad knee and couldn’t capitalize immediately. 

Orton attempted a draping DDT, but Tonga reversed out of it and dumped Orton to the floor. Orton thumbed Tonga to the eyes but the ref didn’t see it. He then delivered two suplexes onto the English and Arabic announce tables. Back in the ring, Tonga walked right into a draping DDT. Orton called for an RKO as Solo Sikoa looked concerned. Orton lined up for an RKO but Tonga shoved him off. Solo Sikoa had jumped on the apron and got knocked to the floor. Orton delivered and RKO and got the win. 

Randy Orton defeated Tama Tonga to advance to the King of the Ring Finals at 13:58

After the match, Solo Sikoa jumped Orton, but was quickly run off by a returning Kevin Owens. Orton and Owens stood tall as Gunther smirked from ringside to close the show. 

My Take: A solid if somewhat predictable match. Orton limping into the final with Gunther seeing blood in the water should make for a fairly effective story for tomorrow’s final. 


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