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SmackDown Rundown King of the Ring Round 1

Opening Segment 

Mattered ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Logan Paul and Cody

Logan Paul was introduced as Cody Rhodes's new challenger, and they went face to face in the ring, and it was incredible. Logan Paul talked first and carried the majority of the segment. Logan brought out some facts. He pointed out he is the longest reigning champion in WWE and a bigger draw than Cody. He also pointed out they both debuted at the same time, but Logan has been the one elevating WWE with his moments, star power, and brand ideas. I can't lie, except for a lie about Logan being talked about more than Cody at Wrestlemania; he was mostly spitting facts. 

Also, Logan Paul isn't a big deal because of what he does outside of the ring. It is what got him in the door and made him relevant. However, I don't watch his non-wrestling stuff. Even if he didn't have those successes outside of WWE, you would still be able to see his immense talent in the ring and on the mic. He's a natural WWE SUPERstar, like it or not. 

Logan and Cody Titles

Logan was already cooking Cody, but I appreciated that Cody had actually fired back. He made fun of Logan for being a dumbass in everyone's eyes before listing the things that make Logan respectable and formidable. Last week, I would have complained about Cody having a compliment contest, but this week, he remembered to bring the fire. He put Logan in his place by calling out Logan for his arrogance and cheating. Then he reminded him that WWE's success is a team effort, and at Crown Jewel, he will show Logan where he stands on that team. Then, the most impressive but underrated moments of the segment occurred. Cody threw his title in the air and turned to the crowd, but Logan didn't attack; instead, he insecurely imitated him. In that one moment, so much storytelling was done. Logan is measuring himself against Cody. He wants to be like Cody and prove he is more important.

Logan Paul Cody

If Cody wins the United States title, he will become a grand slam champion and a double champ. If Logan wins, he will be world champion for the first time ever and a double champ. Now, from a behind-the-scenes point of view, either result would be impractical, to say the least. However, I'm enjoying this storyline, and I want to see if they can stick the landing. WWE is keeping fans guessing and making must-see matches. 

AJ Interview 

Mattered: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

AJ Phenomenal

AJ complained that it should have been him out there facing Logan Paul. However, he declared that he would be the one winning King Ring, which would catapult him right back to the title picture. I like that AJ established a solid motivation that adds some extra drama to his matches.

Queen of The Ring Round 1 Naomi vs. Nia Jax

Mattered ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Naomi kicks Nia

This match was thrilling. Naomi dominated the early part of the match, hitting an off-the-top-rope backflip, sending Nia into the corner post, and pulling out the spot of the match when she used her legs to throw Nia into a front flip off the top rope. It looked like Nia was on her way to a win, but Nia caught her in the corner, and then it was academic from there. Bonzai drop, and Nia advanced to the next round. 

Carmelo and Corbin 

Mattered ⭐️⭐️⭐️.3

Carmelo smiles backstage

Carmelo came to the back to talk smack to Corbin. Corbin was in an interview discussing how he found himself in NXT. This segment of Carmelo treating Corbin with zero respect and mouthing off to Corbin about how he will embarrass him did a great job setting up some extra stakes of pride in their King of the Ring Tournament. 

King of the Ring Round 1, Melo vs. Corbin

Mattered ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Carmelo shoulder block

Corbin lost his debut, but this match was done very well. Corbin and Carmelo stack up well against each other. Carmelo gets an athletic big man to pull off dynamic reverses against, and Corbin had a little guy to throw down. Corbin was dominating, pulling off dynamic slams that I've never seen him pull off before. His offense looked very hard-hitting. Clearly, NXT revamped his move set and wrestling ability. Carmelo wasn't going down easy. He would get a reverse that allowed him to take control every so often, but Corbin would spike him and take control until Carmelo rolled Corbin up and got the win. I love this outcome because Corbin looks strong, but the right person won and didn't need to cheat to get it done. Both men walk away looking better. I love win-wins, which are happening much more in the Triple H era. 

Chelsea and Bayley 

Mattered ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bayley Chelsea Green Piper

Bayley was talking about who she thought would win, and she mentioned Jade. Chelsea Green came out of nowhere and disrespected Bayley because she felt Piper was being underrated. As they walked away, Piper eyed that World title. This segment did a good job establishing Chelsea and Piper as the new thorns in Bayley's side. 

Orton Interview 

Mattered ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Randy Orton mic

Randy Orton ran through the usual talking points about hitting AJ Styles with an RKO out of nowhere. Then he called out Tonga and said when they see each other in this tournament, he will destroy him and ensure he sees it coming. Randy Orton wants revenge for what The Bloodline did to Kevin Owens at Backlash. 

Piper Niven vs. Jade Cargil

Mattered ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Jade Cargill Pose

This match was an exciting pairing, for sure. Piper and Jade are two of the strongest women in WWE. They fought for dominance, and at first, it was a stalemate. I have to give them a little extra credit because many people have done the spot where they run into each other but don't fall, but I've never seen it done as well as they did it. Jade and Piper weren't just standing there absorbing a hit. They were throwing their shoulder at the person running in to knock them over, and it made the spot look so much better. But all good things must come to an end. Piper took over the match and started beating Jade in a way that nobody really has in WWE. Jade dealt with the adversity well, and she roared back, performing a blue thunder bomb and getting Piper up for Jaded. Jade gets the win. This match wasn't the most incredible match you will ever see, but it was very entertaining and served its purpose. 


Mattered ⭐️⭐️

Nakamura ring ropes

This technically mattered because it foreshadowed Nakamura's coming to SmackDown. However, Nakamura's promise that SmackDown will never be the same after his debut is unexciting. It's generic WWE speak that doesn't actually mean anything and is even harder to believe at this stage in Nakamura's career. 

Queen of the Ring Round 1 Bianca vs. Candice Lerae 

Mattered ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Bianca Belair KOD

This match was very cleverly executed. Bianca dominated in the beginning because, in a fair fight, she is far superior to Learae. However, Indi and Candice have started to cheat in recent weeks. Indi injured Bianca's knee, and Bianca damaged it further on a backflip, and Candice took advantage. However, just when Candice was rolling, Bianca grabbed Candice before she could jump off the second rope and delivered a KOD despite her injured leg. Bianca continues to be incredible. 

Solo Calls His Shot

Mattered ⭐️⭐️⭐️.8

Solo and the Tonga's

Solo has revealed or, more likely, lied and told Paul that he spoke to Roman and that Roman has put Solo in charge. Solo is getting very comfortable, saying Roman lost their title, Saying Heyman is his Wiseman, and Making Paul hug him the way Roman used to make people show fake signs of love to acknowledge him. This all builds anticipation for a very interesting return for Roman. When Roman comes back, will Solo give up control? Did Roman even give Solo control? 


Mattered ⭐️⭐️.5

Andrade Comes to

The music and delivery in Andrade's vignette were engaging, but we weren't given any new information about him. We weren't given any reason to think his debut would be more exciting than when he was on WWE a few weeks ago. If you are going to do a vignette, get the character over. 

Tama Tonga vs. Dawkins 

Mattered ⭐️⭐️⭐️.4

Solo attacks Dawkins

I hated the way this match ended, and that was the point. Dawkins was rolling, and Ford removed the Bloodline from the equation. But Toma kicked out after Dawkin's Sky High, and the Bloodline attacked Ford, which distracted him and led to Toma's win. Bloodline continues to leave a bad taste in the mouths of the fans on their way to the top. 

Blair Daveport's Vignette

Mattered ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Blair Davenport coming soon

 Blair had the best vignette of the night. She looked more like a star in her vignette than she did in NXT. I'm hyped for her debut. She talked about being unfairly called sadistic. She says it's not true; she just wants to send a message. Beating people isn't enough. Blair wants to break the fans' supposed heroes and earn a reputation of fear in the locker room. 

Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles 

Mattered ⭐️⭐️⭐️.2

Randy Orton Rko's AJ

Randy Orton was in firm control of AJ until Aj was able to dodge Randy's T-bone slam and injure Randy Orton's leg. AJ then put the pressure on Randy. He attacked the leg and caught Randy in a submission, but Randy fought through it. AJ hit a phenomenal forearm, but Randy barely reached the rope to force a rope break. Then, in an instant, all of AJ's control vanished, and Randy took AJ to Viperville and won the match. 

Final Grade 8.5/10 B

This was a very solid SmackDown. The only thing I can criticize outside of the vignettes is the main event. It could have been better, but even that is nitpicking because it was a big matchup for King of the Ring Round 1. Everything on SmackDown mattered, which is actually very uncommon on WWE TV. Everything on this show mattered, and most of the segments and matches were engaging at an above-average to great level. I'm loving SmackDown right now. Raw should take some notes. 

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