WWE SmackDown 5/10/2024: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc.'s weekly review of "WWE SmackDown," the show dedicated to showing you every single one of the first-round "SmackDown" King & Queen of the Ring matches — except the ones they're running at live events this weekend, that is! Hopefully we'll get clips of those later. We're going to touch on most of those matches here, but we enjoyed (or didn't enjoy) them to different degrees and in different ways, so if all you want is the details of what happened, best leave this column and go find our "SmackDown" results page.


For the rest of you though, now is the time for the WINC staff to share their opinions! Did we enjoy the King of the Ring matches? Did the right Queen of the Ring participants go over? And most importantly, how do we feel about this whole Logan Paul thing? Here are three things we hated and three things we loved about the 5/10/24 episode of "WWE SmackDown."

Hated: Logan Paul gets a shot at the Undisputed WWE Championship

The King and Queen of the Ring PLE is just 15 days away and the Undisputed WWE Champion didn't have an opponent. Instead of Wade Barrett delivering the bad news, it was "SmackDown" General Manager Nick Aldis. An we didn't have to wait long to learn who would be facing Rhodes: Logan Paul.


Somehow, Paul not only thinks he's entitled to a shot at Rhodes's title, he was granted the match. In the main event. In Paul's pompousness, he said he wanted to pin "The American Nightmare" in the middle of the ring on the PRIME logo, because of course he does. It's all about branding for him (at least it's not crypto).

Paul is the current US Champion. Rhodes remarked that if he wins, he would become a Grand Slam Champion. The US Championship is the key to making that happen, so there's your story, I guess? There's just over two weeks to build this match and that reason will have to do. Rhodes also pointed out that Paul relies on his brass knuckles to win matches and doesn't think he can make it through a match without using them.


Making this match champion-versus-champion presents an interesting challenge. Paul clearly isn't ending Rhodes's story in Saudi Arabia. Rhodes becoming a double champion would make things intriguing, but would present its own issues. The brass knuckles and maybe KSI will likely come into play and lead to a DQ. This match would be better served on a "Raw" main event than a PLE. On the bright side, the sooner this match is out of the way, the better.

Written by Samantha Schipman

Loved: Melo did not miss!

Last week, I wrote about the disappointing lack of Carmelo Hayes. Wrestling Providence saw those concerns, and blessed us with not just a witty Hayes segment against Baron Corbin, but a match where Hayes came out victorious.


The match itself was an entertaining contest that, in hindsight, was a good reproduction of their story from "NXT" to the main roster. The two have locked up recently in the 2024 Dusty Rhodes Classic finals, and their time was an entertaining callback to their time in "NXT." Corbin was sort of the underdog — a previously washed veteran of the business that completely reinvented himself, both in "NXT" and now on "SmackDown" — and he put up a solid fight against Hayes, who is the cocky and scrappy newcomer on both shows looking to make not just a name for himself, but a legacy that will be talked about for generations. As they fought, the images of their brief past in "NXT" came back and came alive in that ring.


While Corbin has done a spectacular job in reviving his career (and that praise is not to be taken lightly; he literally saved himself from surefire termination with his recent "NXT" run), the correct decision was made for Hayes to get the victory. While the finish was not ideal, the roll-up pinfall made sense for Hayes' status as a heel, and it allowed for Corbin to take a definite loss to boost Hayes without being completely buried. Hayes' momentum is only growing hotter by the day, and with every The First 48 and Nothing but Net, Hayes is climbing the mountain on the Friday night wrestling landscape.

As Hayes moves on to the quarterfinals of the King of the Ring tournament, only time will tell if WWE is ready for a Hayes takeover. Tonight, though, Melo didn't miss, and you would be stupid to miss his rise to the top, too.

Written by Angeline Phu

Loved: Piper Niven braces against The Storm

My love for Jade Cargill knows no bounds, but seeing someone credible and believable actually give her a run for her money in a good match was something I really enjoyed on tonight's "SmackDown." Of course, Cargill winning and moving on in the Queen of the Ring tournament is what I loved most about this, but the way we got there tonight was excellent and enjoyable. I will admit, I was a little worried about this singles match for Cargill after her and Bianca Belair's win at Backlash felt a little sloppy and lackluster to me. That might have just been an off night for Cargill, or Piper Niven was the dance partner she needed to get back on her feet, or maybe both, but whatever it was, worked and clicked for me tonight.


Cargill took Niven's offense for a good portion of the first part of the match, including a big cannonball into the bottom rope that looked great on Niven's end, but nasty on the receiving end, and Cargill took it like a champ. This was also the best WWE has let anyone look against Cargill, and that includes the Kabuki Warriors at Backlash, in my opinion, and Niven deserved it, especially because I don't think there was anyone who believed she was going to get the win here. Of course, Chelsea Green was ringside and got involved, but not too terribly much, just slapping the taste out of Cargill's mouth at one point. It was effective, but didn't distract too much from what was going on inside the ring, but also made sense for Green's character. Cargill hit an impressive Jaded on Niven in the middle of the ring for a victory, continuing to make her look strong, which was needed after she stumbled a bit at the premium live event. This win has her looking like the champion she is now in WWE. I also loved the little interaction she had with Belair as she came down to the ring before her own tournament match against Candice LaRae. I love them together as a tag team and I think it's what's best for Cargill in WWE right now. It was just a sweet little moment and a quick highlight of how much better WWE production has gotten in recent months.


This also means Cargill will go on to face Nia Jax in the next round of the Queen of the Ring tournament, presumably next week. It's a great callback to their spots at the Royal Rumble in January when Cargill debuted and ultimately ended up eliminating Jax in an impressive manner. I personally think Cargill goes on to win the entire tournament, or at least gets to the finals in Saudi Arabia, but a match against Jax will only make her long even stronger and more believable as a singles competitor. Niven also looked great here, and I wouldn't be upset at all if she and Cargill met again down the line. They worked well together, and I absolutely loved this Queen of the Ring tournament match.

Written by Daisy Ruth

Hated: Predictable results, predictable finishes

Here's the thing: having six King and Queen Of The Ring first round matches all in one night especially after having done the same thing a few days earlier is already a lot as is, but interesting pairings of talent in matches, unexpected finishes, and/or unexpected wins would make it more fun and interesting to watch it play out. Having six of them all with predictable winners and finishes, however, becomes boring really fast and feels extremely repetitive on a two hour show.


It seemed to be pretty obvious that Jade Cargill, Bianca Belair, and Carmelo Hayes would all be going over Piper Niven, Candice LeRae, and Baron Corbin. Tama Tonga defeating Angelo Dawkins was another given especially considering that he was a last minute replacement for Bobby Lashley, but having The Bloodline interfere on Tonga's behalf and leave Dawkins and Montez Ford laid out was more of the same old and wasn't needed with how WWE is positioning Tonga as a powerhouse (and if anything, weakens fans viewing him that way). Naomi defeating Nia Jax was somewhat of a possibility, but WWE has been pushing Jax hard and it would therefore make little sense for her to come up short against Naomi. Randy Orton and AJ Styles was the match hardest to call, but having Orton put Tonga on notice earlier on in the show in the backstage promo and tease a future match between the two in the tournament basically gave away the result of their match as well as Orton and Tonga's quarterfinal matches.


Overstuffing tournament matches on a weekly show has never traditionally worked out very well and can make it feel as though a promotion hasn't allotted enough time to properly spread it out. When you factor in predictable results, that feeling only becomes amplified which is exactly what's happened with the King & Queen Of The Ring.

Written by Olivia Quinlan

Loved: Candice LeRae's ring gear, and also the match I guess

The important thing about the match between Candice LeRae and Bianca Belair — the thing I really want you to take away from this athletic struggle for dominance in a single-elimination tournament — is Candice LeRae's gear? Like, do you see that gear? I mean, you can't see it terribly well in the pic above, but if you didn't see it, you should go find the video on YouTube or something, because it is fire. I love this gear. Write that down as the thing I loved. That's the important thing.


But yeah, the match was also solid! You'd expect that from Belair and LeRae, who worked together during a pretty great time for the "WWE NXT" women's division, but they haven't really worked together on the main roster, and given the speed at which Belair has been pushed (in contrast to LeRae, who continues to be criminally underused) it's easy to forget that they were peers and have tremendous chemistry. But they do, and that was on display Friday night, even within the space of the three minutes or less LeRae is typically allowed to wrestle.

Also, can I just say, is there anyone in wrestling right now who sells a body part like Belair? She's just fantastic at it. She sold the leg on offense, even during a kip-up, and continued to sell it immediately after her victory. It humanizes her and helps audiences form a connection with her, as well as making LeRae look like more of a threat and making Belair herself look like more of a beast for fighting through the pain. Outstanding work. We already knew Belair could do this — see her amazing leg selling at last year's SummerSlam — but it's always fun to watch her delve into that particular bag of tricks given how dominant she's usually booked.


Now just tell her and Candice to keep their notes safe from Randy Orton and AJ Styles next time.

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Hated: MY LEG!

Earlier in the evening, two incredible female competitors in Bianca Belair and Candice LeRae gave an entertaining first-round match for the Queen's Crown tournament. Somewhere in that match-up, Belair tweaked her knee, and that knee became a weakness that LeRae exploited in order to gain some offense on her powerhouse of an opponent. It was a good match, and even though Belair's knee was not 100%, she still delivered a clean KOD for the victory.


All was fine and good. Then, two incredible male competitors in AJ Styles and Randy Orton gave a first-round match for the King of the Ring tournament. Somewhere in that match-up, Orton tweaked his knee, and that knee became a weakness that Styles exploited ... wait, where have we heard this before?

To make it clear, kayfabe knee spots are not the issue. They're a bit surface-level, but they get the job done and can add another layer to a match's storyline when done correctly. It's the fact that the same exact knee spot was used back-to-back, and it was not improved upon the second time. It's not even like a tweaked knee spot could even be expanded upon — it's very simple and has limited uses — so why even try to sell it back-to-back?


Orton's knee selling looked like a cheap copy, and it's really disappointing. Belair and LeRae didn't do anything revolutionary with the bad knee spot, but they did it well and got the privilege of getting the first word in. They did the knee spot first on the show, and set the precedent. So, when Styles and Orton do a very similar spot with a similar story path in the same 30-minute block and didn't do anything more with it, it just looks like they copied from Belair and LeRae's playbook. The whole situation becomes a bit more odd when one considers just how much more experienced Styles and Orton are — if they were absolutely married to the idea of an injury story beat, they couldn't have come up with anything else other than a hurt knee?

Styles and Orton are incredible performers with years of experience, so the fact that they weren't able to live up to Belair and LeRae's iteration is very weird and is probably based on timing and circumstance. They could have done literally any other injury spot, so the fact that they just copy-pasted the same injury from a match that happened not even fifteen minutes ago stunk up the entire match-up.

This isn't a "Spongebob" episode. Come up with something better than hurting your leg.


Written by Angeline Phu