wrestling / TV Reports

Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 5.17.24

May 17, 2024 | Posted by Robert Winfree
WWE Smackdown 5-17-24 Randy Orton Image Credit: WWE
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Winfree’s WWE Smackdown Review 5.17.24  

Well everyone it’s time for WWE Smackdown. Tonight we’ve got more King and Queen of the Ring matches, Jade Cargill vs. Nia Jax is an interesting one because Nia still gets pushed pretty regularly while Jade is the shiny new toy. We’ve also got Bianca Belair vs. Tiffany Stratton, and if both Jade and Belair win then the two tag team champions will wind up face off against each other, and it’s unclear if that’s the direction WWE will want to go. On the men’s side of things we’ve got Randy Orton vs. Carmelo Hayes, which seems like a Randy win depending on how the Bloodline stuff goes, as well as LA Knight vs. Tama Tonga. If Randy advances then my hunch is Knight succumbs to the Bloodline numbers game, but since Randy has been vocal about getting at Tonga then it’s possible they screw each other over here allowing relative newcomers Hayes and Knight to advance in the tournament while the drama of Bloodline 2.0 continues on a different track. We’re also getting the contract signing between Undisputed WWE champion Cody Rhodes and US champion Logan Paul for their match, Cody will probably angle for title vs. title so he can become a Grand Slam champion and honestly if Logan’s about ready to take a hiatus then there are worse ways of getting that belt off of him than losing to Cody. Andrade, DIY, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Blair Davenport were all teased last week so we’ll see if any of them show up tonight, we’re unsure about Bobby Lashley’s injury return but might get an update here. Bayley is kind of without a challenger at the moment, though Chelsea Green or Piper Niven could make for acceptable short term challengers. That’s the preamble, so let’s get to the action.

Brief hype package for the Royalty tournaments to start.

Bianca Belair heads to the ring first, she’s followed by Tiffany Stratton and we’ll be starting tonight with a match.

Match #1 – Queen of the Ring Tournament Match: Bianca Belair vs. Tiffany Stratton

They tie up, Belair backs Tiffany into a corner then gives a clean break and poses. Another tie up, again Belair is the stronger of the two, then they trade shoves before Tiffany slaps Belair. Tiffany then pulls Belair down by the hair but Belair kips up and slaps Tiffany then hits a couple of mat returns. Belair runs over tiffany with a shoulder block then we get more rope running with Tiffany landing a kick. Tiffany with some corner offense then gets caught in a gut buster but that seems to have tweaked the knee of Belair, the same knee that was targeted last week. Of course that’s not enough to dissuade Belair from hitting a handspring moonsault. Tiffany avoids a 10 punch and gets sent out of the ring, Belair follows her to the apron where Tiffany grabs the braid of Belair and snaps her down between the ropes, that didn’t quite go according to plan so to further get the point across that Belair’s knee is hurt Tiffany runs Belair into the ring steps to send us to break.

Tiffany is working a slightly modified Indian Death Lock on Belair’s bad knee as we come back. Belair is able to crawl to the ropes and force the break. Tiffany gets kicked out of the ring but Belair is still selling the knee. They fight for a post spot, eventually Belair pulls Tiffany into the ring post but that was a tad awkward. Back in the ring and Belair with some scoop slams then a fall away slam because why should you sell when you’ve got a routine to get through. They lose the plot in a corner spot so Belair just hits a spinebuster for a 2 count to get things back on track. Tiffany with a jawbreaker but misses a double stomp and Belair tries a Glam Slam, then they trade roll ups but no pin. Belair wants the Kiss of Death but Tiffany lands on her feet and pulls Belair into the ropes then hits a hip attack followed by a double stomp for a 2 count. Belair catches a handspringing Tiffany and hits a German suplex for another near fall. Tiffany drags the ring skirt into the ring then rakes the eyes of Belair when the ref isn’t looking, then follows with a chop block and sliding clothesline for a near fall. Belair blocks a Prettiest Moonsault Ever then hits the Kiss of Death to win and advance.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Bianca Belair won in 13:10

Rating: 3 stars
Thoughts: They got plenty of time and generally made the most of it. There were a few awkward spots in the middle but you could generally see what they were going for. Give these two some more reps together and they could give us something really good.

Belair gets a post match interview, she admits her knee isn’t great but she’s not going to make excuses and plans on becoming Queen of the Ring.

Next a recap of Cody and Logan’s slightly longwinded promo from last week.

Logan Paul walks in the back, he briefly runs into LA Knight as Knight is leaving the office of Nick Aldis, Aldis is fortunately on hand to keep that from being any more than a stare down and we head to break.

We come back to Byron talking with Jade in the back, Jade has heard all about Nia and Nia is just in her way. Belair shows up and they gab for a bit and tease wrestling each other next week before Jade heads out.

Next a quick recap of Solo Sikoa claiming that he’d gotten the go ahead from Roman Reigns to be in charge, an audible “We want Roman” chant can be heard over the clip. Tama Tonga is doing a mild Tasmanian Devil impression for his warmup routine in the back, then Heyman asks if Solo has talked with Roman today and Solo says “all the time wise man.” Elsewhere La Knight gets interviewed, he wants to talk to us. He’s ready to introduce Tommy Tonga to some Blunt Force Trauma. Carmelo Hayes interrupts to jaw jack and Knight and compares himself to Tom Brady to talk about how draft order doesn’t matter. Hayes says after tonight the most important letters in WWE won’t be RKO, they’ll HIM. Knight mocks his spelling talents and gets his catchphrase in, “now go play somewhere I’m busy,” then leaves.

Back at the ring here comes Tama Tonga. We’ll get Tonga and Knight after this break.

Post break here comes LA Knight to his usual very loud pop.

Match #2 – King of the Ring Match: LA Knight vs. Tama Tonga w/ Tonga Loa, Solo Sikoa, and Paul Heyman

Knight right with the jabs then a back elbow to Tonga. Tonga grabs a sleeper but Knight fights free after a bit. Kick and a clothesline from Tonga. Again a “We want Roman” chant as Knight avoids being sent outside and then levels Tonga with a clothesline. Knight with a back body drop then some corner stomps followed by a running knee attack. Solo gets on the apron, as does Loa and that distraction allows Tonga to attack Knight from behind and regain control. Tonga posts Knight then runs around the ring to jump off the ring steps and hit a clothesline to send us to break.

Tonga is still in control as we come back. Tonga heads up top but Knight avoids the Splash and fires up with fights. Knight is bleeding from the shoulder, not bad but you can see it. Flying crossbody from Knight then he clotheslines Tonga out of the ring and follows him. Knight bounces Tonga off of the apron several times then they head back into the ring. Tonga gets bounced into the corner then a tilt a whirl powerslam and jumping elbow from Knight. Knight sets for Blunt Force Trauma, but Loa pulls Tonga out of the ring so Knight hits him with a diving dropkick. Solo and Knight square off briefly, Knight encourages him to hit him but Solo declines. Back in the ring Tonga hits his Flatliner to win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Tama Tonga won in 8:48

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: Decent enough match, I’d have rather seen Knight advance here but I guess we can look forward to Randy and Tonga next week. Honestly this whole tournament seems like Gunther should be the one coming out on top though, and Knight either moving to Logan or joining Owens and Randy taking on the Bloodline makes sense.

After this break we’ll have our scintillating contract signing.

Post break Knight walks in the back complaining about the fairness of his match. Hayes walks by and they get into a shoving match and continue jaw jacking for a bit before being separated.

To the ring where Nick Aldis introduces our contract signing participants. Cody gets a mic first and wants to know what the people want to talk about. Cody does love Jacksonville, then asks if Logan knows what happened here 32 years ago today. Of course he doesn’t, and Cody brings up that 32 years ago today was War Games 1992, Stinger Squadron against the Dangerous Alliance, widely considered one of the best War Games. Cody knows this that bit of trivia because, like the people here, he’s a fan of professional wrestling. And Logan isn’t, he’s a tourist here. It’s about time for Logan to get off the train, and drop the US title to make Cody a grand slam champion. Logan says he’s been told that several times before, he’s heard all that and didn’t come here to talk. Logan is here to sign a contract, and goes over the contract with some legal representatives before tearing it up. You see Logan has his own contract, one that doesn’t put his US title on the line. Logan tries to get Aldis to make Cody sign, but Aldis has had enough of this nonsense. Aldis will not stand for this unprofessional behavior. Logan’s lawyer chimes in briefly but Cody is willing play a bit of a peacemaker and puts over Aldis has doing a great job. Cody will handle this and bring the paperwork by later. Aldis dos head out. Logan has signed the new contract and says Cody hasn’t done anything to deserve a US title shot while Logan has proven time and again that he’s deserving of every title the industry has to offer. Cody says the honeymoon with Logan is over, he’s seen Logan do a flip and doesn’t care, and after their next match Logan will find out who he is on the inside. Ultimately Cody does sign the contract, the ducks a cheap shot and clotheslines Logan out of the ring. For good measure Cody lays out some of Logan’s goons including powerbombing one through a table. Cody then poses with both belts before tossing Logan’s belt back to him.

In the back the immovable object Nia Jax talks, she dismisses Jade as a threat to her then heads to the ring. That match will be up after this break.

Post break here comes Jade.

Match #3 – Queen of the Ring Tournament Match: Nia Jax vs. Jade Cargill

They go nose to nose then Nia lands an elbow then shoulder block but misses a falling something. Jade with a spinebuster and Nia takes a powder. They start brawling on the floor, Nia tosses Jade in front of her daughter, then Jade lands a superkick. Back into the ring but Jade knocks Nia out of the ring and we’re back to brawling. Nia avoids a splash against the post then clotheslines Jade into the time keepers area. Some meandering from Nia then she gets a chair, Jade blocks it though and hits Nia with it to cause the DQ.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Nia Jax won via disqualification in 2:12

Rating: DUD
Thoughts: I get what they were going for but this was ultimately deflating for everyone. Doesn’t help that they missed the blocked chair shot so by all rights Nia used the weapon first and should have been the one DQ’d, this was just kind of a mess.

They continue brawling after the ruling while the crowd loudly chants “bullshit”. Jade Spears Nia into the ring post, Nia sucks and doesn’t sell so they just keep brawling until officials separate them and we go to break.

We come back to Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano headed to the ring. Waller and Theory have joined commentary to make things worse.

Match #4 – Tag Team Match: DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa) vs. Legado del Fantasma (Angel and Humberto) w/ Santos Escobar and Elektra Lopez

Gargano and Humberto start us off, Humberto and Gargano trade arm wringers and escapes then Humberto hits a suplex. Back elbow from Gargano then a running head scissors. Ciampa tags in and Humberto takes some double team moves. Angel gets in and they both get sent out of the ring then Gagano and Ciampa with planchas which connect. Back in the ring Angel tags in and Ciampa gets low bridged, we get our QR code, and then head to break.

Ciampa kicks Angel in the head as we come back but Humberto pulls Gargano off of the apron and lands a superkick. Ciampa is able to make his own save though before getting caught in a Gory Special, Humberto adds a facebuster for the Garza Special but only a 2 count. Humberto and Ciampa fight over a suplex spot and Ciampa ultimately wins and hits the suplex. Gargano tags in and runs wild for a bit then hits a slingshot Spear to Humberto and dives onto Angel. Escobar distracts the ref to allow Lopez to crotch Gargano on the top rope. The ref ejects Santos and Lopez for that, then Humberto eats Meet Me In the Middle and that’ll do it.


Rating: 2 stars
Thoughts: Generally acceptable but kind of heatless, and might have been better served as a one segment match.

Commentary acknowledges the QR codes, then we get a video from WWE’s twitch channel. I’m really torn about the decision to keep this going without Bray around but we’ll see how it goes.

In the back AJ Styles talks with Byron, AJ doesn’t know where he goes from here. He and Cody had a great match and he nearly won, but couldn’t finish it. Then he had a shot in King of the Ring only to lose in the first round, well next week he’s going to see Nick Aldis and we’ll figure out where he goes.

To the ring, here’s Randy Orton and that includes showing Randy being in the crowd at the UFC event in St. Louis last Saturday. After this break Carmelo Hayes will get an entrance then in theory we’ll have a match.

Post break in the back Bayley talks with Byron but here’s Chelsea Green and Piper Niven to interrupt. Bayley wants to talk with Chelsea in the ring next week.

Next week we’ll get Belair vs. Nia and Tonga vs. either Randy or Hayes.

To the ring and here comes Carmelo Hayes.

Match #5 – King of the Ring Match: Randy Orton vs. Carmelo Hayes

They circle for a bit, then Hayes avoids a tie up and kicks the knee of Randy which is taped up. Hayes smacks Randy on the back of the head, Randy then kicks him and posts him a few times. Uppercuts from Randy then he tosses Hayes out of the ring. Randy follows Hayes and tries the back suplex but Hayes rakes the eyes to block it and poses but Randy just sweeps his legs out. Headbutt from Randy then he hits the back supelx on the table, and a second for good measure. The crowd want a third, and Randy delivers for the people before we head to break.

Hayes is working the leg of Randy as we come back. Some traditional leg work from Hayes then he wraps Randy’s leg in the ropes and misses a pump kick. Randy fires up with clotheslines then Hayes avoids the snap powerslam and goes back to holding his knee. Hayes misses a punt kick then Randy lands the snap powerslam. Randy wants the hanging DDT but Hayes avoids it and kicks the leg then hits a Codebreaker for 2. Hayes then climbs the ropes for Nothing But Net, but Randy avoids it then catches Hayes with the hanging DDT. Randy sets for the RKO, Hayes counters with a School Boy for 2. Hayes off the ropes into the predictable RKO and that’ll do it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Randy Orton won in 10:26

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: Solid match, Hayes seems to be smoothing out his execution after a slightly rocky start to his main roster tenure. The commercial break hurt this one but not too badly.

Post match here’s Bloodline 2.0 to stare down Randy. Randy has a mic and asks if they’re trying to intimidate him. That’s a foolish endeavor, he’s Randy Orton a multiple time world champion and soon be King of the Ring. Next week in Saudi he’s going to put his foot up Tonga’s ass and then introduce him to the RKO. That ends the episode.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Bit of an odd one here, the episode started fairly strong but around the halfway mark things lost momentum until the main event which got things back on track. Some good enough wrestling though and plenty of seeds being planted for stuff after the Saudi Blood Money show next week. Not quite as good as last week but still a pretty solid overall episode.

article topics :

WWE Smackdown, Robert Winfree