WWE SmackDown Best and Worst Moments: Clash of AJ Styles and Cody Rhodes, Randy Orton's Return, and More

We break down the biggest moments of WWE SmackDown, including Uncle Howdy's Faction tease, LA Knight and Logan Paul, and more

Tonight's WWE SmackDown is officially in the books, and most of the attention was on this weekend's Clash at the Castle. Cody Rhodes and AJ Styles would deliver one of the best promo battles of the night, but there were several standout moments throughout tonight's SmackDown that deserve some praise. There were also some more uneven moments, some of which led into the night's main event, though the night was capped off with a welcome return from Randy Orton to send the show off on a high note. We're breaking down the best, the worst, and all the moments in between of tonight's big SmackDown in Glasgow Scotland, and let's start with the positives, shall we?

Best Moments

(Photo: WWE)

The Hometown Crowd: The crowd in Scotland continued a tradition of big-time international crowds at WWE events, and was energized from the start. The crowd cheered on their favorites in force, especially Cody Rhodes, and they kept up that high energy all the way to the end. All in all, this bodes extremely well for Clash at the Castle.

AJ Styles Lit Up Cody Rhodes: Speaking of Cody Rhodes, the final face-to-face meeting between Cody and AJ absolutely delivered, putting that last bit of fuel atop their already fiery rivalry. Styles hit hard with his promo and referenced Cody's past stops along the way, drawing a big reaction from the crowd by referencing ROH, New Japan, and AEW without actually naming them. Cody came right back with a great promo of his own, bringing up the Mark Henry angle of AJ's fake retirement. This was a welcome final exclamation point on their rivalry before the action moved to the ring at Clash.

Randy's Back: While the crowd lit up for Rhodes, they also delivered a hero's welcome to Randy Orton, who made his return to SmackDown after some weeks away. The music hit the crowd leaped to their feet, and Orton then delivered some RKOs to the Bloodline, which will always get a big reaction. Randy is back, and fans are eager to see what's next for him now that he's back in the mix.

Worst Moments

Rough go for Apollo: Crews was drafted to SmackDown but hasn't had a great run of it so far. Crews has already had a loss and then last week got attacked backstage before a match could even take place. Tonight Crews returned to the ring to face Santos Escobar, and unfortunately did not get the win. It does seem that we're building a story with this based on Apollo's reaction after the match, but as of now, it's just unfortunate to see Crews not getting much in the winning column.

Bloodline's Not Clicking: The Bloodline's importance to SmackDown has not waned, but the effectiveness of the group certainly has. Not in the way of talent mind you, as the group still features talented superstars, and Paul Heyman is still as effective as ever at selling a story, but even he can't make up for what seems like a group trying to find itself. That's part of the overall narrative as well, represented by Heyman's pleas to Solo, but there's just something missing. Roman is going to get a huge babyface pop when he returns, but if that expected Bloodline vs Bloodline story is to reach its potential, this current group is going to need to figure out what that missing element (or person) is.


(Photo: WWE)

Chelsea's Intro Gets Even Better: WWE added Samantha Irvin's intro for Chelsea Green to Chelsea's entrance theme, and it absolutely rules. It was already great to see Samantha bring back that intro, but having it be a part of Green's actual entrance is perfection.

LA Knight Invades Logan Paul's Pool: This feud has already yielded some entertaining moments, and the latest on-location segment at Logan's house continues that trend. Knight claiming he's Logan's friend from LA to get into the house and him just lounging there was fun, and it was also smart to have Carmelo Hayes take a shot at Knight for his joke to build that future program out further.

The Way Reunion One Step Closer: As a huge fan of The Way's run in NXT, seeing the group lay the groundwork for a reunion is a big deal, and tonight a huge step was made when Johnny Gargano spoke to Austin Theory not needing Grayson Waller. It was starting to get through to Theory, and though he helped his friend in the end, Theory got hit again by his Tag Team partner, ensuring a turn is coming sooner than later. Could we end up seeing a Theory babyface run after all this? Certainly seems like it.

Tonight's Results

  • Naomi def. Chelsea Green
  • Santos Escobar def. Apollo Crews
  • Nia Jax def. Michin
  • Solo Sikoa def. Kevin Owens
(Photo: WWE)

Clash at the Castle Card

  • World Heavyweight Champion Damian Priest vs. Drew McIntyre
  • Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes vs. AJ Styles ("I Quit" Match)
  • WWE Women's Champion Bayley vs. Piper Niven
  • Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn vs. Chad Gable
  • WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Bianca Belair & Jade Cargill vs. Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn vs. Shayna Baszler & Zoey Stark

What did you think of SmackDown? You can talk all things wrestling with me on Threads and Twitter @mattaguilarcb!