The John Report: WWE SmackDown 05/24/24 Review

WWE Smackdown May 24

This week’s WWE SmackDown featured Randy Orton against Tama Tonga and Nia Jax facing Bianca Belair in huge tournament matches.

The King and Queen of the Ring semifinals are the big matches on this week’s show. It’s one day before the King And Queen of the Ring PLE on Saturday. Since it was the first Smackdown from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, it aired on television in Europe and other places about seven hours before it aired here in North America. Because of that, I got to read the results before I wrote this. I also got to write this review earlier after downloading the show.

From the Jeddah Superdome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this is Smackdown for episode #1292. Follow me on Twitter/X @johnreport. Let’s get to it.

They showed some arrivals earlier in the day featuring King of the Ring competitors Randy Orton and Tama Tonga, who was with Solo Sikoa & Paul Heyman. They also showed Queen of the Ring wrestlers Nia Jax and Bianca Belair arriving.

A clip was shown of WWE CCO Triple H announcing that the winners of the King and Queen of the Ring will get WWE or World Title shots at SummerSlam. That was on Thursday. I like that announcement a lot.

It was Corey Graves and Wade Barrett on commentary as usual for Smackdown. The Arabic announce team was at ringside as well.

Queen of the Ring Tournament Semifinals: Bianca Belair vs. Nia Jax

They showed Raw’s Lyra Valkyria sitting at ringside since she will face the winner of this match in the Queen of the Ring Finals.

Jax tossed Belair into the turnbuckle followed by a splash. Belair did a cartwheel to counter a toss attempt followed by a backflip over Jax. Belair ran into Jax with a shoulder tackle to rock Jax back a bit. Belair rammed Jax’s head into the turnbuckle a few times. Belair punched Jax repeatedly. Jax came back with a hair toss takedown. Jax charged, Belair avoided her and Jax bumped into the turnbuckle followed by Jax going to the floor. Belair did a slingshot cross body block onto Jax on the floor.


The match continued with Jax hitting Belair with a headbutt. Jax tried a sitdown splash, but Belair slipped out of it and Belair got a two count. Jax came back with a Samoan Drop. Belair fought back and hit a cross body block off the top for a two count. Belair was selling a left knee injury like she has been selling for a few weeks. Jax knocked down Belair leading to a leg drop on the left knee. Jax went to the turnbuckle, Belair grabbed her and Belair hit a Powerbomb for two. Barrett: “What a freak!” He meant that as a compliment because Belair is a power freak. Belair went for a lift, Jax got out of it and Jax hit Belair in the knee. Jax rammed Belair’s left knee into the mat. Jax went to the turnbuckle, Belair stopped her there and Belair tried KOD, but then Belair collapsed with Jax landing on her. Jax hit a senton splash. Jax hit the Annihilator splash hon Belair for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Nia Jax

Analysis: ***1/4 A pretty good match with Jax doing a nice job as the heel that went after the injured knee. Jax has had better matches over the last few months compared to earlier in the career and it continued here. You don’t see Belair lose clean that often, but since it’s a tournament and since Belair is a Women’s Tag Team Champion, this is a spot where you can have Belair lose. It’s a huge win for Jax obviously.

The win means Nia Jax will face Lyra Valkyria in the Queen of the Ring Finals at the King and Queen of the Ring PLE on Saturday.

Nia Jax was interviewed by Kayla Braxton in the ring. Jax asked Lyra if she saw that. Jax said that she just buzzed through Bianca Belair. Jax said it was the same way she buzzed through Becky Lynch, Rhea Ripley and she’ll do it right through Lyra as well. Jax said that she’s going to be Queen and Champion at SummerSlam. Jax said it all starts when she buzzes through Lyra.

Analysis: I’m going with Nia Jax as the Queen of the Ring winner. That will also set up Jax against Bayley for the WWE Women’s Title at SummerSlam, which makes sense since it’s a heel challenging a face.

The WWE Tag Team Champions Austin Theory & Grayson Waller were backstage talking about their segment up next.


Bianca Belair was shown backstage icing her knee. Tiffany Stratton said, “better luck next time” and left. Byron Saxton interviewed Belair backstage. Belair said she was disappointed and she felt like she took her knee to the limit. Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell mocked Belair for the loss. Jade Cargill walked up to support Belair, so Indi and Candice left. Jade said it seemed like they want their wigs split, so she’s going to speak to GM Nick Aldis. Belair liked that. Jade left.

Analysis: A simple way to set up a match. That’s fine.

Grayson Waller Effect with LA Knight

Grayson Waller and Austin Theory were in the ring as the WWE Tag Team Champions hosting the Grayson Waller Effect show in the ring. They had some plants in the ring along with chairs. Waller and Theory were in their ring gear so you know a match is coming. Theory said that some of you might call this a megastar and he introduced one of the most entertaining superstars on Smackdown…here’s Carmelo Hayes.

Carmelo Hayes interrupted and he was in his ring gear too. Melo said it sounded like they were describing him. Melo bragged about himself as usual. Theory wanted to remind Melo about what happened when they were on Smackdown last week time and Melo said that guys like them had to stick together. Waller said that Melo would be a better guest. Melo said that he gets the Waller rub and gives the ratings. Theory mocked Bobby Lashley for helping the Street Profits lose to A-Town Down Under. Melo complained about veterans like Baron Corbin too. Melo also mentioned LA Knight, which led to cheers from the fans. Melo mocked Knight for being drafted way after him.

LA Knight made his entrance to a huge pop and he was also in his ring gear, so we could obviously tell what was coming. Knight threw some of the plants out of the ring. Knight said that he’s going to keep this short and sweet. There were a lot of “Yeah” chants. Knight said if you keep knocking at his door, this mean dog will bite. Knight told Melo it wouldn’t take long to figure out whose game this is leading to more “Yeah” usage. Melo attacked Knight from behind when Knight tried to leave.

The Street Profits ran out there with B-Fab. Ford and Dawkins went down to the ring to clear the ring of the heels. It set up an obvious six-man tag team match after the break.

Analysis: It was a solid promo segment to set up a match. The fans absolutely loved Knight and were into everything he said. I like the trio of Waller, Theory and Hayes being on the same page as a talented young trio who are cocky heels.


A video aired about Smackdown newcomer Blair Davenport. Blair told us that bad things happen to us because we allow it. Blair said that while people cry about being overlooked, Blair has already taken their spot. Blair said if it hurts your feelings, do something about it. Blair is coming to Smackdown soon.

Carmelo Hayes, Grayson Waller & Austin Theory vs. LA Knight and The Street Profits – Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins (w/B-Fab)

Ford hit an impressive dropkick on Melo. Dawkins tagged in with a double axehandle on Melo’s arm. Dawkins picked up Melo leading to a slam into the mat. Knight tagged in against Theory with an armbar, but Waller made the blind tag, and that led to a double team attack on Knight. Knight came back with a kick along with a clothesline. Dawkins tagged in with a leap over Waller along with a corner splash and jumping kick. Theory did a dropkick on Dawkins while he was the illegal man. Waller clotheslined Dawkins on the floor as the show went to break.


The heels were in control as Melo kicked Dawkins in the leg. Melo went for a springboard attack, but Dawkins caught him with a suplex. Theory and Waller knocked their opponents off the apron. Dawkins punched Waller. Knight clotheslined Theory on the floor. Knight got the tag leading to stomps and another clothesline. Knight hit a running knee along with a kick on Theory on the floor. Knight hit a shoulder tackle on Waller followed by a powerslam and an elbow drop for two. Melo blocked Knight leading to his First 48 double knee move. Ford kicked Melo out of the ring. Theory nailed Ford with a forearm. Dawkins hit a Pounce on Theory and Waller hit a knee on Dawkins. Waller charged at Knight, who hit a BFT on Waller. Knight sent Melo out of the ring. Knight tackled Melo over the commentary table. Ford hit a Frog Splash off the top onto Waller for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winners by pinfall: LA Knight and The Street Profits – Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins

Analysis: *** A match that was full of fast-paced, exciting action. That’s how you gotta do it when it’s a match involving six guys and a shorter match that doesn’t get that much time. Having Ford beat Waller could set up The Street Profits for a future WWE Tag Team Title match. I know the Profits have been contenders before, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing it again soon. It’s a fun crowd that loves the babyfaces and hates the heels, so the fans clearly enjoyed it.

A clip was shown of the King and Queen of the Ring press conference. Logan Paul gave up his brass knuckles by giving them to Michael Cole to show that he was going to beat Cody Rhodes clean.

Cody Rhodes, the Undisputed WWE Champion, was shown walking backstage. Cody saw his buddy Randy Orton and wished him good luck tonight. Cody shook hands with Orton, who said thanks. Orton stared at the WWE Title. The champ Cody was up next.


A video was shown about Minneapolis hosting SummerSlam 2026 at US Bank Stadium for two nights on Saturday, August 1st, and Sunday, August 2nd.

Analysis: It’s weird to announce a SummerSlam over two years away, but I think it was done to make Minneapolis happy since they didn’t get next year’s WrestleMania as rumored. As for the two-night SummerSlam, I’m not that surprised that WWE is doing more two-night events. We will probably see more of that in the future.

Tama Tonga was shown getting ready backstage while Paul Heyman was standing in the background.

Cody Rhodes And Logan Paul Face To Face

The Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes made his entrance to a huge ovation. The fans were singing Cody’s theme song on his way to the ring. Cody was in a suit as usual. Just as Cody was about to speak, Logan Paul’s music hit.

Logan Paul appeared with the United States Title as he walked down to the ring for this face to face confrontation. Paul said for the third time he’s coming to Saudi Arabia going for a title and he’s going to leave with the Undisputed WWE Title that Cody Rhodes has right.

Logan told Cody that while Cody has more experience, Logan is smarter than him. Logan got into the ring saying he’s a better athlete, entertainer and performer. Logan told the fans that he didn’t need cheat tactics and he gave Cody his word that he will not use them in the match tomorrow.

Cody said that maybe Logan was smarter than him, but surely Cody was not an idiot. Cody told Logan that he was a scared kid. Cody said that Logan is afraid that somebody would see him as a fraud in WWE and a cosplayer. Cody said he didn’t believe that because he had seen how good Logan was. Cody told Logan he had a case of imposter syndrome. Cody told Logan his experience would believe that Logan has another set of knuckles on him right now.

Logan told Cody that he was not a liar while claiming that Cole had the only knuckles that Logan had. The fans chanted “liar” at Logan. Cody told one of their WWE Officials Ryan Tran to go into the ring and check out Logan to see if he had brass knuckles on him. Referee Tran went into the ring, so the referee checked Cody first. Trans said that Cody was clean. The referee checked Paul, who was wearing a jacket. When Tran checked Logan’s leg pocket, Tran found brass knuckles. Logan claimed he didn’t know how they got there and they were his brother’s pants. Logan said that he explained he wouldn’t use them in the match tomorrow while claiming they were for protection. Logan said that Cody has them now and they are illegal. Logan said he won’t need brass knuckles to beat Cody because he’s better than him. Logan told Cody he was going to beat him clean fair and square.

Cody said that the brass knuckles are the difference between them. Cody said that this title was his whole life because it’s all he ever wanted to be. Cody said that every sweat, blood, and cheer from the fans – this is as real as real gets. Cody told Logan that he believed he was a pro wrestler and a WWE superstar. Cody told Logan that until he dedicates himself to this fully, until he respects the ring they are standing in, Logan will never be on Cody’s level and Logan will never be an Undisputed WWE Champion. Cody said that he would beat Logan so badly that Logan would regret ever stepping in the ring with Cody. That led to Cody’s music playing to end it.

Analysis: I thought it was an excellent promo from Cody Rhodes. Last week we heard from both guys, but this week it was better in terms of Cody delivering a meaningful promo about being the top babyface in the company. As for Logan Paul’s promo, it was fine because it was more of the usual from him being a cheap heel who blatantly lied. In Paul’s defense, having the brass knuckles here doesn’t mean he will have them during the match. It should be a victory for Cody Rhodes at King and Queen of the Ring. If it’s not, I will be very surprised.

Randy Orton was interviewed by Byron Saxton. Orton spoke about Tama Tonga being vicious, but Orton said he’s been vicious during his WWE career too. Orton said that tonight would be no different when he reminded Tama about the three most dangerous letters in WWE – the RKO.

Bayley was shown walking backstage with the WWE Women’s Title. Bayley had a staredown with Nia Jax, who stared at the WWE Title. Jax told Bayley to keep that thing clean until SummerSlam.

Analysis: I think that’s going to be the SummerSlam match. It’s a nice tease until then.

Bayley made her entrance as the WWE Women’s Champion for her match up next.


The Street Profits and B-Fab were interviewed by Kayla Braxton backstage. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins were in a happy mood celebrating their win. The #DIY time of Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa walked in. Gargano talked about how their goal was to be Tag Team Champions. Ciampa said that The Street Profits are always optimistic, but Ciampa said that they are there to take the titles. Ciampa poured the liquid from Ford’s cup and #DIY left.

Analysis: It looks like a tag team match is coming between those babyface teams who are looking for a title opportunity.

Bayley vs. Chelsea Green (w/Piper Niven)

This is not for Bayley’s WWE Women’s Title. Green was aggressive with a punch followed by a missile dropkick off the top for two. Bayley hit a jawbreaker. Green set up Bayley on the ring apron and kicked Bayley in the head. That led to a break.


The match continued with Bayley hitting a couple of clotheslines along with a belly-to-back suplex. Green came back with a neckbreaker and a Rough Ryder leg lariat that her husband Matt Cardona uses for a two count. Green charged, but Bayley caught her with a Powerbomb. Bayley hit the Roseplant for the pinfall win. The match went about five minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Bayley

Analysis: *1/2 We only saw a couple of minutes of action here so it’s tough to really rate it. Green got a bit of offense leading to nearfalls, but then it took two moves for Bayley to win the match. I don’t really like the Roseplant as a finisher because it looks weak although it is a safe move.

After the match, Piper Niven went into the ring and hit a running cross body block on a seated Bayley. Niven charged, Bayley kicked her back and Bayley fought back with punches. Niven hit a Bossman Slam followed by a running senton splash. Niven hit another running senton splash. Niven was about to leave, but then Niven hit another running senton. Niven celebrated with Green while Bayley was down on the mat selling the attack.

Analysis: That cheap attack should set up Piper Niven as a title challenger. The next WWE PLE is Clash at the Castle on June 15 in Glasgow, Scotland. I assume that Niven getting involved with Bayley there will lead to a match at the Clash PLE since Niven is from Scotland.

AJ Styles was shown talking to Smackdown GM Nick Aldis in the GM’s office. Styles said that he was one second away from beating Cody Rhodes and one second away from beating Randy Orton. Styles wanted one more chance at the Undisputed WWE Championship whether it’s Cody Rhodes or Logan Paul. Styles said he needed this. Aldis said that he knows AJ wants to be WWE Champion and AJ knows how much respect Nick has for Styles. Aldis said personally he’d say yes, but professionally he can’t give Styles what he wants because he has to earn it and that takes time. Styles told Aldis that Aldis knew Styles didn’t have time. Aldis said that’s not something he can help him with and he’s sorry. Styles left.

Analysis: It could be the start of an angle where AJ Styles teases retirement because we know he’s in his late 40s and probably near the end of his amazing career. Styles saying that he doesn’t have time and Aldis knows that could be a reference to Styles knowing when he wants to retire or knowing when his contract is up. It could mean a lot of things, but my guess is maybe they’re going to do some sort of retirement storyline with Styles.

The Randy Orton-Tama Tonga main event was next.


Andrade was featured in a video talking about how he was a third-generation wrestler and he was born to do this. Andrade said that he controls his destiny, he knows who he is and he knows what he wants. Andrade said now on Smackdown, he’ll show everybody who Andrade “El Idolo” is.

The Legado Del Fantasma group was backstage talking about Andrade. Berto said he couldn’t stand him while saying he should have stayed on Raw. Angel said Andrade has skills and he could be valuable to them. Elektra Lopez told them to be intelligent. Santos Escobar told Angel, Berto, and Elektra to let bygones be bygones and think about business.

Analysis: I think keeping Andrade as a solo act is better than putting him with the Legado group, so I can see there being a rivalry between them.

The Progressive Match Flo recapped the King of the Ring tournament to set up the Randy Orton match against Tama Tonga.

The Bloodline was shown backstage. Paul Heyman mentioned to Solo Sikoa that Tonga Loa wasn’t there because they couldn’t get him to cross the border. Solo said he knew. Paul said that these are very dangerous people that Solo is recruiting into The Bloodline. Solo said he knew that. Paul said there was a reason why they didn’t bring these people into The Bloodline. Paul mentioned Roman and Solo said that until Roman comes back, Solo is the man in charge. Solo said if there are problems then it’s up to Paul to fix them. Paul mentioned a problem with Tama Tonga. That led to Tama going up to Paul saying that Solo recruited Tama because Tama is that dangerous. Tama said that tomorrow the King would come back to The Bloodline…by orders of the Tribal Chief. Tama left while Solo laughed at Heyman about it. Heyman watched Solo walk away.

Analysis: It furthered the storyline that Solo Sikoa is in charge of The Bloodline for now. Tama Tonga talking is rare, but I liked what he said and how he said it. Tama was referring to his dad Haku as King Haku so he’s hoping to bring it back to the family, so to speak.

Randy Orton made his entrance to a huge ovation from the Jeddah crowd. There were some fans singing his song, but it wasn’t as loud as the Lyon, France crowd. Orton did acknowledge the crowd singing by pointing to his ear. Orton stared at the King of the Ring crown at ringside. That main event match was next.


When the show returned, the fans were signing Randy Orton’s song.

There was a rundown of the King and Queen of the Ring PLE lineup.

* King of the Ring Tournament Finals: Randy Orton or Tama Tonga vs. Gunther

* Queen of the Ring Tournament Finals: Nia Jax vs. Lyra Valkyria

* Women’s World Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Liv Morgan

* Intercontinental Championship: Sami Zayn (c) vs. Chad Gable vs. Bronson Reed

* WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Bianca Belair & Jade Cargill (c) vs. Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell (Pre-Show)

* Undisputed WWE Championship: Cody Rhodes vs. Logan Paul

Tama Tonga made his entrance for the main event joined by Solo Sikoa and the WWE Hall of Famer “Wise Man” Paul Heyman.

King of the Ring Tournament Semifinals: Randy Orton vs. Tama Tonga (w/Solo Sikoa & Solo Sikoa)

The great Raw superstar GUNTHER was seated at ringside because he will face the winner in the King of the Ring Finals.

Tama attacked Orton with punches as soon as the bell rang. Tama headbutted Orton a few times. Orton hit a fallaway slam, which is not one of his usual moves, but I like it. Orton sent Tama shoulder first into the ring post three times in a row. Orton worked over Tama with punches while up against the turnbuckle. Orton tossed Tama out of the ring while the announcers mentioned Tama’s father King Haku as one of the toughest men in wrestling history. They left the ring where Orton went for a slam on the table, but Tama slipped out of it and did a chop block to the left knee. Tama shoved Orton left knee first into the steel steps.


The match continued with Tama going for a Frog Splash onto the left knee, but Orton moved his leg out of the way so Tama hit the mat. Orton teased the DDT, Tama got out of it and Tama wrenched on the left knee. Tama worked over Orton with forearms to the chest. Tama went for a sleeper, Orton got back up to his feet and Orton backed Tama into the turnbuckle. Tama did a chop block to the back of the left knee. Tama applied the sleeper again and Orton got out of that. They got back up with Orton hitting two clotheslines and a powerslam. Orton was selling the left knee injury. Orton went for the draping DDT, but Tama did a back body drop over the top to the floor. Tama followed Orton on the floor, so Orton did an eye poke and Orton did a belly-to-back slam onto the commentary table. Orton did a belly-to-back slam on the Arabic commentary table as well. Gunther was smirking at ringside. Back in the ring, Orton hit the vintage draping DDT off the ropes. Orton set up for the RKO, Solo got on the apron, so Orton punched him and Tama got a rollup for two. Orton was back up and he hit Tama with the RKO for the pinfall win after 11 minutes. The fans popped big for it.

Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton

Analysis: *** A good match. It wasn’t at the level of Orton’s match with AJ Styles a few weeks ago, but I think Tama Tonga has done well since making his debut a few months ago. Tama is really aggressive all the time and booked in a way that makes him tough to beat. They didn’t go with a complex finish because it was simple with Orton punching Solo off the apron and then dropping Tama with an RKO. Orton winning was the right call.

That win by Randy Orton means he moves on to the King of the Ring Finals against GUNTHER at the King and Queen of the Ring PLE on Saturday.

After the match, Orton was attacked by The Bloodline and Kevin Owens made the save. Owens punched Solo a few times and Solo bailed to the floor.

Analysis: We saw the Orton & Owens vs. Solo & Tama tag team match in the past with The Bloodline getting the cheap win. I think WWE is building to have a rematch soon.

Randy Orton stared at GUNTHER at ringside. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: I’m going with GUNTHER getting the King of the Ring win. I like both guys a lot, but I think King Gunther sounds right and I think he should win the World Heavyweight Title at SummerSlam too. Randy Orton winning to get a WWE Title shot at Cody Rhodes would be fine too. I think they could also get to that match without Orton winning King of the Ring. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the Gunther-Orton match.


Three Stars of the Show

  1. Randy Orton
  2. Nia Jax
  3. LA Knight and The Street Profits – Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins


The Scoreboard

7.5 out of 10

Last week: 7.25

2024 Average: 7.31


Final Thoughts on WWE Smackdown

I thought it was an entertaining Smackdown episode overall. There were three matches I rated around the three-star level, which is good, but none of the matches were that special or great in any way. With that said, nothing was bad too. After picking up a win in a short match, Bayley was attacked by Piper Niven likely to set up a Clash at the Castle match since it’s in Niven’s home country of Scotland.

Nia Jax beat Bianca Belair as clean as it gets with Belair selling a knee injury and Jax capitalizing to win. I liked the Randy Orton main event win over Tama Tonga. That six-man tag team match with LA Knight & The Steet Profits getting the win was a lot of fun. That’s how you have an exciting tag team match.

The Cody Rhodes-Logan Paul talking segment was better than last week. I liked a lot of what Cody said about how pro wrestling was his life. Logan does a nice job as the cocky heel who is really just a coward whenever he’s confronted, which is what Cody did in that segment. It wasn’t an overwhelmingly great pro wrestling show, but I liked it and it was easy to get through.

The next WWE PLE is King and Queen of the Ring on Saturday, May 25th from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Here’s the lineup.

* Undisputed WWE Championship: Cody Rhodes vs. Logan Paul

* Intercontinental Championship: Sami Zayn (c) vs. Chad Gable vs. Bronson Reed

* Women’s World Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Liv Morgan

* King of the Ring Tournament Finals: Randy Orton vs. Gunther

* Queen of the Ring Tournament Finals: Nia Jax vs. Lyra Valkyria

* WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Bianca Belair & Jade Cargill (c) vs. Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell (Pre-Show)

You can watch WWE King and Queen of the Ring, on Saturday, May 25, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.


Thanks for reading. Go Toronto Blue Jays. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton


Twitter/X: @johnreport