Sleight of hands

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March 08, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Master illusionist Criss Angel may have acted as special guest host of Monday Night Raw, but it was Mr. McMahon who employed trickery and a host of hired hands to punish John Cena on The Road to WrestleMania.

Mr. McMahon def. John Cena in a No Disqualification Handicap Gauntlet Match (PHOTOS | WATCH)
It took deception, dishonesty and, oh, about five or so Superstars, but Mr. McMahon finally managed to beat John Cena. The Chairman, hoping to prove a point to his WrestleMania rival Bret Hart, had arranged a match between himself and Cena. Perhaps realizing the odds stacked against him, Mr. McMahon changed the rules of engagement, setting up a Gauntlet-Style bout.

Cena's first hurdle was Vladimir Kozlov followed by Intercontinental Champion Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger and a conflicted Mark Henry. When none of these Superstars managed to wear down Cena enough, The Chairman stipulated that the bout was now a No Disqualification Match. After failing to enlist The World's Strongest Man to nail Cena with the ring bell, WWE Champion Batista entered the fray and laid out Henry. Before The Chairman could clock Cena with the bell, though, Kofi Kingston ran out for the save. Batista seemed prepared as he attacked Kingston and even battled Cena at that point.

With Cena incapacitated, his WrestleMania foe took advantage and Batista Bombed the exhausted Superstar in the ring. Mr. McMahon then quickly pinned him for the win.

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin to act as Raw's special guest host next week (WATCH)
Quick, somebody hide the beer! "Stone Cold" Steve Austin returns to Raw next week as special guest host. Not only will The Texas Rattlesnake preside over the contract signing between Mr. McMahon and Bret Hart, he's even announced that next Monday will be WrestleMania Rewind night, featuring rematches from years past including John Cena vs. Big Show (WrestleMania XX), Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (WrestleMania XIX) and Triple H vs. Randy Orton (25th Anniversary of WrestleMania).

Evan Bourne def. William Regal in a Money in the Bank Qualifying Match (PHOTOS | WATCH)
The line-up for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match is all set. With the inclusion of Evan Bourne, the eight-man field in the WrestleMania showdown has been established. "Air" Bourne managed to secure the final eighth position by bombarding William Regal -- as the Englishman's NXT Rookie Skip Sheffield looked on -- with his patented aerial assault and now joins Kane, MVP, Christian, Dolph Ziggler, Shelton Benjamin, Jack Swagger and Matt Hardy to vie for the coveted Money in the Bank briefcase.

Sheamus challenged Triple H to a WrestleMania Match (PHOTOS | WATCH)
The tension between Triple H and Sheamus all started when The Game effectively ended The Celtic Warrior's reign as WWE Champion inside of Satan's Structure. Fitting since a clash between the two should be hell on earth for each man. After suffering a devastating attack by Sheamus last week, Triple H declared that his nemesis would lose his first match ever at WrestleMania -- to him! Before the tension became overwhelming, the two collided both inside and outside of the ring.

Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase def. Randy Orton (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Randy Orton couldn't wait. As his opponents in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match, Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase, made their way to the ring, their ringleader-turned-rival attacked, leaving the duo dazed before the bout even started. The ambush proved reminiscent of the punishment The Viper dished out to his protégés the week prior.

The Viper, however, would need more than a surprise strike to defeat the two. DiBiase managed to pin the former mentor for an especially satisfying victory. Afterward, Rhodes joined in the fun, also pummeling the impaired Orton with glee.

Unified Tag Team Champions Big Show & The Miz vs. John Morrison & R-Truth ended in a No Contest (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Having earned their status as No. 1 contenders to the Unified Tag Team Championships, John Morrison & R-Truth dropped by Raw to battle current champions Big Show & The Miz. The match got underway after one of The Miz's typically bombastic rants. In response, his former tag team partner Morrison and R-Truth double-teamed The "Cleveland Screamer" and sent him over the top rope. The SmackDown duo then punished The World's Largest Athlete before heading up the entrance ramp after having put "Show-Miz" squarely in their place.

Eve, Kelly Kelly & Gail Kim def. Divas Champion Maryse, Alicia Fox & Katie Lea (PHOTOS | WATCH)
A week after the Diva Pajama Pillow Fight Match, the winner of that feather-filled fracas, Eve, managed to make it two in a row when she forced Divas Champion Maryse to tap out. This week, the gorgeous grappler teamed with Kelly Kelly & Gail Kim to tackle the challenge of the conceited Canadian, who hooked up with Alicia Fox and Raw's newest Diva, Katie Lea.

Shawn Michaels confronted The Undertaker (PHOTOS | WATCH)
In a rare Raw appearance, The Undertaker took the mic to address the WWE Universe about his upcoming WrestleMania rematch with Shawn Michaels. The Deadman vowed that, despite HBK's protestations, he will prevail and bury his opponent's storied career once and for all.

For his part, HBK begged to differ. "Mr. WrestleMania" confronted his tormentor, insisting that The Undertaker's 17-0 streak will end and that his rival knows deep inside his being that he will be defeated. HBK even proposed a new match stipulation, to which The Deadman readily agreed: The only way either Superstar can win will be by pinfall or submission.

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