Texas Hold 'Em

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March 16, 2009

SAN ANTONIO -- After the rocket-fueled roller coaster ride of last week, you would think that the Raw Superstars would be itching for some down time in the run-up to the clashes and chaos of the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania.

Not even close.

Maybe it was the proximity of San Antonio to WrestleMania's host city of Houston less than 200 miles away, but there was a definite whiff of foreboding in the dry Texas air.

World Heavyweight Champion Edge def. John Cena with Vickie Guerrero as special guest referee; Big Show enters to help punish Cena; Edge spears Big Show (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Shoot the messenger. That was the overriding theme as World Heavyweight Champion Edge, his wife Vickie Guerrero and Vickie's lover Big Show were set to confront John Cena. A week earlier, Cena had revealed the affair between Vickie and Big Show, much to the chagrin of all three. As a result, Raw's interim General Manager arranged a match pitting her husband against Cena with herself serving as a special guest referee. With all that misdirected hostility focused on Cena, who could not touch Vickie lest he sacrifice his World Title Match at WrestleMania, a lopsided confrontation seemed inevitable.

As Edge and Cena battled, an angry Big Show lumbered down the ramp toward the ring. When he arrived, The Rater-R Superstar joined him in tying Cena up within the ring ropes. Fittingly, each drove their anger in his direction: Edge speared him, Vickie slapped him and Big Show drove his meaty fist into Cena's ribs several times before clocking him in the jaw.
But that proved only to be the entrée. It was Edge who then speared his wife's lover and thus delivered Big Show his just desserts.

CM Punk, Kofi Kingston & MVP def. Kane, Mark Henry (w/ Tony Atlas) & United States Champion Shelton Benjamin (PHOTOS | WATCH)
With the coveted black briefcase looming large above the ring, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston & MVP faced off against Kane, Mark Henry & United States Champion Shelton Benjamin in a preview of one of WrestleMania's most daring matches, the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. The action got underway with the other two MITB Match participants, Christian and Finlay, commentating at ringside. As the chaos of six hungry competitors unfolded, last year's Mr. Money in the Bank, CM Punk, raised his game and put Benjamin to rest with a Go To Sleep for the win.

Ric Flair, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper confront Chris Jericho (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Chris Jericho's shameful behavior continues. This time, however, the WWE Legends, who he's been so quick to denigrate, had heard enough. Ric Flair, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper surrounded the ring where Jericho was busy spewing his bile. While his fellow Legends corralled Jericho and chased him from the ring, Flair confronted him outside the ring with a fist and sent the disrespectful plague scampering up the entrance ramp.

Afterward, Jericho issued a challenge to Snuka, Steamboat & Piper to a match at WrestleMania with Flair in their corner. He also included The Wrestler actor Mickey Rourke, who Jericho said he would buy a front row seat so he could watch.

Rey Mysterio def. Dolph Ziggler, issues challenge to JBL for an Intercontinental Championship Match at WrestleMania (PHOTOS)
Dolph Ziggler is big on introductions. It's safe to assume, therefore, that he'd like a second chance at a first impression with Rey Mysterio. Ziggler proved little match for the high-flyer, who bested the eager, young Superstar. Rey, who has missed WrestleMania for the past two years due to injury, has already challenged his longtime rival JBL to an Intercontinental Championship Match at WrestleMania.

WWE Champion Triple H def. Cody Rhodes in an impromptu Steel Cage Match; taunts Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase (PHOTOS | WATCH)
In hindsight, Cody Rhodes probably should have known better. The second-generation Superstar faced off against arguably the most determined Superstar in all of WWE right now, Triple H. As Rhodes' Legacy cohorts, Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase, looked on, The Game demolished his opponent and taunted Orton and DiBiase to join him in the ring. When Orton and DiBiase decided to take up the invitation, The Game grabbed his sledgehammer and backed the two down.

That's when things got even more interesting. Triple H gave a signal as a steel cage was lowered around the ring. The WWE Champion then climbed inside and resumed his retribution of a hapless Rhodes. The remaining Legacy members attempted to scale the unforgiving structure, but Triple H fended them off and continued to send a punishing message to his WrestleMania opponent, Orton.

The mystery of who authorized the lowering of the cage was solved somewhat when, after the match when Triple H left the arena, he climbed into a Hummer with his wife Stephanie McMahon.

Women's Champion Melina, Mickie James & Kelly Kelly def. Beth Phoenix, Layla & Jillian (PHOTOS)
With the first-ever Miss WrestleMania title at stake in Houston during the 25-Diva Battle Royal, it's no wonder the Divas have been busy sharpening their skills lately, to say nothing of their claws. That preparation was evident during the Six-Diva Tag Team Match placing Women's Champion Melina, Mickie James & Kelly Kelly against Beth Phoenix, Layla & Jillian. As The Glamazon displayed her impressive strength in the ring, her boyfriend, Santino Marella, attempted to intervene on her behalf. Unfortunately for him, Mickie put the kibosh on his underhanded scheme, which led to Phoenix being pinned. Somebody's getting grounded!

Randy Orton not pressing charges against WWE Champion Triple H for last week's home invasion; Triple H vs. Cody Rhodes tonight
Randy Orton insists that he is in complete control. That was his message to WWE Champion Triple H after revealing that he will not be pressing charges after last week's home invasion, in which The Game wreaked havoc on Orton's house and family, hurling his WrestleMania rival through a glass window. If Triple H were to go to jail for his actions, said Orton, he would not have to put the title on the line in Houston. Perhaps to send The Cerebral Assassin a message, Orton pitted his "Legacy" disciple Cody Rhodes against Triple H tonight.

World Heavyweight Champion Edge forgives Vickie; Edge vs. Cena tonight with Vickie as special guest referee
After the utter humiliation World Heavyweight Champion Edge suffered last week, he seemed in an unusually forgiving mood this week. When John Cena revealed that his wife Vickie was having an affair with Big Show, Edge appeared devastated and angry. Fast forward a week, however, and The Ultimate Opportunist is now telling Vickie that he excuses her indiscretions and that neither of his WrestleMania opponents, Cena or Show, will come between them. The couple also appeared amped about the rematch between Edge and Cena that Vickie set up for later in the night, in which she will act as special guest referee.

Shawn Michaels & Undertaker def. Intercontinental Champion JBL & Vladimir Kozlov (PHOTOS | WATCH)
There is nothing so tenuous as trust when pride intervenes. As the man who has posted a 16-0 record at WrestleMania paired up with the man dubbed "Mr. WrestleMania," there were bound to be misgivings. Undertaker teamed with his WrestleMania opponent in a tag team match against new Intercontinental Champion JBL & Vladimir Kozlov. Tensions were laid bare once it appeared that Undertaker was about to secure the victory. Instead, his partner HBK tagged himself in and secured the win himself over JBL.

HBK's one-upsmanship provoked The Deadman to raise a boot to Michaels' head, but HBK ducked the black, leather brick. The two then locked eyes for a few anxious moments before Michaels exited up the entrance ramp. The Deadman followed, pausing at the top of the ramp to turn back to the crowd. That was HBK's cue. He stepped onto the ramp and laid out Undertaker with Sweet Chin Music.

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