WWE SmackDown Recap: May 15, 2018
S18 episode 20 Aired on May 15, 2018

Following his surprising loss to Rusev last week in a Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match, Daniel Bryan kicked off SmackDown LIVE by addressing the WWE Universe. Ever the optimist, a disappointed Bryan made it clear to the WWE Universe that he was ready to fight back into contention and soon become WWE Champion.

However, Big Cass quickly interrupted to, of course, degrade Bryan. Cass was relentless in his disrespect, even bringing Daniel’s family into the discussion and suggesting he should go home and “let Brie wear the pants.” When the seven-footer entered the ring, Bryan jumped him. Like a rabid animal, Bryan ferociously unloaded on Big Cass, pounding him down and eventually locking in a vicious heel hook. Finally, officials pried Bryan off Cass, and the big man retreated by limping away from Bryan, who was still staring daggers through his nemesis.

The pomp and circumstance was on OVERLOAD as SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella put on a Royal Mellabration complete with a town crier and royal guards. The Princess of Staten Island then entered the ring, which was decked out in a red carpet and leopard print, and requested (then demanded) the WWE Universe cheer and then bow for her. Princess Mella then insisted that she was better than all of them and every current female Superstar and WWE legends like Trish Stratus & Lita… combined.

Having heard enough, SmackDown LIVE General Manager Paige hit the scene in front of her home country faithful to inform Carmella that she may need to cut the celebration short to start preparing for her challenger for the SmackDown Women’s Title at WWE Money in the Bank… Asuka.

Carmella was livid as she left the ring, while all Asuka could do was smile knowing the opportunity that now awaited her.

With the opportunity to pick the ever-important stipulation for their WWE Title bout at WWE Money in the Bank, WWE Champion AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura collided for the first time ever on SmackDown LIVE, carrying on their bitter rivalry.

Knowing each other so well, both Superstars found their offense in spurts, trading stiff strikes and brawling all over the ring. After Nakamura drilled The Phenomenal One with an expertly placed knee, The King of Strong Style grounded Styles and wore him down for several minutes. A fired-up Styles fought back, cracking The King of Strong Style with several stinging blows.

Nakamura evaded the Phenomenal Forearm, and Styles almost hit the official in the process. With the referee’s back turned, WWE’s Rockstar began to act as though Styles had nailed him with a low blow. Due to the history between the two Superstars, the official began to question Styles, causing AJ to lose focus for just a brief moment and allowing Nakamura to land a back suplex and a ring-rattling Kinshasa for the win and the opportunity to choose the stipulation for the WWE Championship Match at WWE Money in the Bank.

What stipulation will Nakamura choose?

In other action … The New Day def. The Bar to earn one member of their team a place in the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match … Andrade “Cien” Almas def. local competitor … and Becky Lynch def. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville in a Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match.