Best & worst of SmackDown (May 17, 2024): WWE star brings a lawyer; 2-year curse to finally be broken?; lazy feud & more

Cody Rhodes and LA Knight from the latest episode of SmackDown (Image source: WWE Instagram)
Cody Rhodes and LA Knight from the latest episode of SmackDown. [Image credits: WWE's official Instagram handle]

On the latest episode of WWE SmackDown, the quarterfinals for the 2024 King and Queen of the Ring tournament were held. The namesake premium live event is a week away with major stars advancing to the semifinals.

Let's take a look at the best and worst from the latest edition of SmackDown.

Worst: Cody Rhodes and Logan Paul's 2024 King and Queen of the Ring feud becoming a messy affair on SmackDown

Logan Paul continues to build up on his wrestling accolades with every passing week. The Maverick won the United States Championship after defeating Rey Mysterio at the Crown Jewel Premium Live Event last year.

Earlier this month, Paul was revealed to be Cody Rhodes' next challenger. This was met with mixed reactions by fans as they anticipated almost any other promising name to take on the Undisputed WWE Champion. Originally, they were aiming for a "Champion vs. Champion" match which was declined by Paul on the latest episode of the blue brand.

Logan Paul had his lawyer draw up a new contract for their match at the 2024 King and Queen of the Ring Premium Live Event which removed the high stakes with his title on the line. The disarray of events left the WWE Universe perplexed at the inevitability of their feud. The last-minute arrangement of their feud for the upcoming event could have been avoided altogether and possibly built upon for Clash at the Castle or even SummerSlam later this year.

Best: Randy Orton may compete in a singles match at a premium live event after ages

Randy Orton returned to WWE with a quest for vengeance six months ago. The Viper made his stance clear among the SmackDown roster and openly cited disdain for The Bloodline.

Orton is competing in the 2024 King of the Ring tournament, where his win would be the first of its kind for his wrestling resume. Ever since his blockbuster comeback, the household WWE name has been associated with multi-man matches, thus, elevating concern about the nature of his back injury and the extent of endurance. This does not go to say that singles matches have been out of the question for The Legend Killer. He has faced names such as Dominik Mysterio, AJ Styles, Grayson Waller, Sami Zayn, and more on weekly RAW and SmackDown shows.

If Randy Orton wins the semifinal match of the 2024 King of the Ring tournament, it would mean that he would finally be competing in a singles match at a premium live event in almost two years.

Worst: Jade Cargill getting disqualified in the quarterfinals of the 2024 Queen of the Ring tournament on SmackDown

Initially, the wrestling world was concerned with Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill's participation in the 2024 Queen of the Ring tournament, given their recent WWE Women's Tag Team Championship victory.

The EST of WWE advanced to the semifinals of the tournament while her tag team partner suffered an unfortunate fate. Cargill faced Nia Jax in the quarterfinals on the latest edition of the show. The two have shared an intense history since their first showdown at the Women's Royal Rumble Match earlier this year. The former AEW TBS Champion's daughter was in the front row cheering for her mother, who Jax made clear would not win. Amid all the chaos, Jade Cargill commenced an attack on her opponent resulting in her disqualification.

This comes across as a brash decision, however, as it does prevent a break-up between Cargill and Belair. It also set the tone for the 31-year-old star's long-term rivalry with The Irresistible Force.

Best: LA Knight to finally win his first WWE title in 2024?

LA Knight had a lot going for him in 2023. From winning the SummerSlam Battle Royal, a fan favorite to become Mr. Money in the Bank to challenging then-champion Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. A few months later into the following year, Knight seemingly lost grasp of his connection despite being involved in feuds and events.

This week on SmackDown, The Megastar collided with United States Champion Logan Paul backstage. This set the wrestling world ablaze for a feud between the two soon and was further fueled by Knight's loss to Tama Tonga in the quarterfinals of the 2024 King of the Ring tournament. The 41-year-old star tried to get his hands on the United States Championship last year but failed to hold the gold. The Megastar needs a title win to sustain momentum and have a memorable run on the main roster.