Hell bound

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September 28, 2009

ALBANY, N.Y. - The Rev. Al Sharpton is as familiar with controversy as a pancake is with butter. As Raw's special guest host, Sharpton seemed to take glee in whipping up a stack of contentious matches, even overseeing a title match that kicked off the festivities early in the night.

WWE Champion John Cena def. Chris Jericho, Big Show & Randy Orton in a 3-on-1 Gauntlet Match (PHOTOS | WATCH)
It became clear early on in WWE Champion John Cena's 3-on-1 Gauntlet Match that his opponents cared nothing about sportsmanship and fair play and everything about hurting and punishing the man who carries the title. With just six days until he defends that title at WWE Hell in a Cell, Cena faced Chris Jericho, Big Show and Randy Orton.

During his first of three matches, Cena found himself trapped in The Walls of Jericho but managed to grasp the ropes. Jericho, however, would not relent even as the referee admonished him, resulting in a disqualification for one half of the Unified Tag Team Champions.

Still nursing his pain, Cena unearthed the courage to face Show. While The World's Largest Athlete began by quickly pummeling The Champ, Cena's determination could not be dampened and he slowly turned the tables on Show until Jericho climbed back into the ring to punish Cena. That's when the other half of the Unified Tag Team Champions got disqualified and attempted to snap Cena's back with a Camel Clutch Backbreaker.

Orton would prove to be the final hurdle. The Viper entered the ring to find a seemingly incapacitated Cena. The easy prey, however, would prove more wily than wounded. Cena asked for the Hell in a Cell structure to be lowered, hoping to prevent Orton's escape. While The Viper eventually managed to slither outside, a resolute Cena followed closely. Eventually, The Champ chased Orton atop Satan's Structure, where he completed his gauntlet run with a wicked Attitude Adjustment and set foot along the long, blistering path to Hell.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to host Monday Night Raw (FULL STORY)
Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback of Pittsburgh Steelers, knows a little something about handling a group of burly men bent on destroying each other. Good thing, too, since the Superbowl champion will drop by, along with his entire offensive line, next Monday night as special guest host of Raw! Don't miss out on all the action.

Chris Masters & Chavo Guerrero def. Santino Marella & Hornswoggle (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Chavo Guerrero must be breathing a sigh of relief. After months of humiliating defeats at the tiny hands of Hornswoggle, the self-proclaimed "Mexican Warrior" finally emerged victorious after a tag team bout with the little leprechaun. Chavo teamed with Chris Masters, who secured the win against Hornswoggle's partner, Santino Marella. A funny thing happened on the way to the locker room, though. Upon seeing his partner lock in The Master Lock on Hornswoggle after the match, Chavo reentered the ring to save his nemesis before leaving without a word, perhaps as a result of the mediating power of guest host Sharpton.

Jack Swagger def. Evan Bourne (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Jack Swagger grounded the aerial assault of Evan Bourne to send a message just six days before he battles United States Champion Kofi Kingston and The Miz in a Triple Threat Match at WWE Hell in a Cell. That message? "Do not underestimate me." As he informed the WWE Universe of his determination to capture the title, The Miz came down with microphone envy and traded blows with "The All-American American."

While these two battled it out, the real U.S. Champion strolled toward the ring and quietly retrieved his title, which Swagger had underhandedly nicked the week prior. By the time Swagger and Miz figured out what had happened, Kofi and his gold were long gone.

The Legacy and DX traded barbs (PHOTOS | WATCH | MORE DX)
As if there wasn't enough animosity crackling between The Legacy and D-Generation X, Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase tweaked their WWE Hell in a Cell opponents by unspooling footage of Legacy defeating and humiliating DX over the past month. Never to be outdone, DX retaliated by poking fun at their young antagonists and confronted the two, but Rhodes & DiBiase fled. In the run up to WWE Hell in a Cell, the two teams will have a chance to prove themselves in the biggest Eight-Man Tag Team Match in the history of Friday Night SmackDown, just 48 hours before meeting inside Satan's Structure.

Divas Champion Mickie James def. Rosa Mendes (PHOTOS | WATCH)
With the No. 1 contender for the Divas Title, Alicia Fox, accompanying her to the ring, Rosa Mendes challenged champion Mickie James in a non-title match. Just six days before Mickie and Alicia square off at WWE Hell in a Cell, the challenger attempted to distract the champion to allow Rosa a smooth path to victory. It's a technique Alicia has utilized on more than one occasion in the past. For her part, though, Mickie wasn't having it. Instead, the Divas Champ flipped the script and pinned Rosa for the win.

Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & Big Show def. MVP & Mark Henry (PHOTOS | WATCH)
As tag teams go, the parallels between the teams of Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & Big Show and MVP & Mark Henry are striking. In Jericho and MVP, both teams possess the quickness, cunning and confidence necessary to win, while their respective partners provide a welcome dose of size and power. Despite the title match granted them by Raw special guest host Rev. Al Sharpton, however, The Franchise Playa & The World's Strongest Man couldn't match up to Jericho & Show, failing to capitalize on the title opportunity.

Raw special guest host Rev. Al Sharpton appeared on MVP's VIP Lounge, arranged Unified Tag Team Championship Match (PHOTOS | WATCH)
Count MVP a fan of the Rev. Al Sharpton. The Franchise Playa could hardly contain his glee at hosting the national civil rights figure and former presidential candidate on his VIP Lounge. After Sharpton told MVP about the Education Reform Tour he's involved with to bring awareness and improve education in the United States, he asked why MVP and Mark Henry were at odds with Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & Big Show, who joined the proceedings.

After attempting to mediate a resolution between the four, Sharpton decided enough was enough. He then arranged a title match to take place immediately: Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. MVP & Mark Henry.

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