WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Cody Rhodes, Logan Paul set for showdown

A champ vs. champ matchup is set for WWE King and Queen of the Ring. SmackDown set the stage for undisputed WWE champion Cody Rhodes vs. United States champion Logan Paul with both of their titles at stake.

Rhodes and Paul each have something to prove in Saudi Arabia on May 25. Winning a world championship would elevate Paul and add to his claim as the greatest celebrity-turned-professional wrestler. For Rhodes, becoming champ-champ would make him the 31st Grand Slam champion in promotional history. Under the modern criteria, a Grand Slam requires one world championship, one tag team title and both secondary belts. Rhodes is a former intercontinental champ but has never held the U.S. title.

SmackDown also featured an interesting update in the Solo Sikoa era of The Bloodline, plus six combined matchups in Round 1 of the King and Queen of the Ring tournaments.

CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Champ vs. Champ set, Sikoa takes full control of The Bloodline

SmackDown general manager Nick Aldis wasted no time introducing Rhodes’ next undisputed WWE title challenger. Paul’s arrival was greeted by loud jeers and chants of “Logan sucks!” Paul bragged about being the longest-reigning active champion in the WWE. Rhodes credited Paul for being more than the “dumbass” people perceive him to be but said he’d fact-check him at King and Queen of the Ring. Rhodes said winning the U.S. championship would make him a Grand Slam champion in the WWE. Rhodes ran down Paul as delusional, among other things, before exiting the ring.

Backstage, Solo Sikoa confronted Paul Heyman. Sikoa criticized Heyman for going into business by himself and removing Roman Reigns from the WWE Draft. The decision resulted in The Bloodline being drafted later, damaging the group’s reputation. Sikoa asked Heyman if he was trying to diminish Sikoa’s value. Sikoa pressed Heyman further, asking if he tried to send Jey Uso a discreet message for help when crossing paths with him last week. Sikoa revealed that he recently spoke with Reigns, unlike Heyman. Reigns has declared Sikoa as interim Tribal Chief, according to Sikoa, and Heyman now reports to him. Sikoa hugged Heyman.

WWE solved several issues by booking Rhodes vs. Paul for the Saudi Arabia show. There were no clear challengers for Rhodes or Paul, plus the champ vs. champ match freed room for more high-profile entries into the King of the Ring. It’s likely Paul Levesque (Triple H), a former King of the Ring winner, is looking to restore the reputation of a tournament that once elevated superstars to the main event. Reigns allegedly giving Sikoa control of The Bloodline was a good development. Including Tama Tonga in the King of the Ring is a solid way to expand The Bloodline 2.0’s presence on SmackDown. It was a quiet week for stories as SmackDown focused mostly on the six King and Queen of the Ring qualifiers. Still, the few story beats set good foundations. Grade: B+

What else happened on WWE SmackDown?

  • Nia Jax def. Naomi via pinfall after hitting a Banzai Drop. Jax advances to the Queen of the Ring SmackDown quarterfinals.
  • Carmelo Hayes def. Baron Corbin via pinfall with a small package. Hayes advances to the King of the Ring quarterfinals.
  • Jade Cargill def. Piper Niven via pinfall after hitting Jaded. Cargill advances to the Queen of the Ring quarterfinals.
  • Bianca Belair def. Candice LeRae via pinfall with a KOD. Belair advances to the Queen of the Ring quarterfinals.
  • Tama Tonga def. Angelo Dawkins via pinfall after hitting a jumping reverse STO. Tonga advances to the King of the Ring quarterfinals.
  • Randy Orton def. AJ Styles via pinfall courtesy of an RKO. Orton advances to the King of the Ring quarterfinals.

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