Two roads diverge

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February 22, 2008

SAN DIEGO -- Coming off an explosive No Way Out, SmackDown kicked off the final Road to WrestleMania with World Heavyweight Champion Edge beaming from his win over Rey Mysterio. The World Champion came to San Diego intent to fire the first salvo toward his WrestleMania XXIV opponent, a man who is undefeated on The Grandest Stage of Them All: Undertaker.

"You think I'm afraid," Edge asked our fans, only to vehemently state: "I'm not afraid. Undertaker is an opportunity to cement my legacy." The Rated-R Superstar then made the boldest statement of his career, telling our fans and The Deadman that "The Streak" would be broken this year. "I will not fall like those before me."

The Phenom had heard enough, and the lights went out in the arena. When they came back on, Undertaker unleashed his fury, disposing of Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder to make a statement of his own. Edge took his Ultimate Opportunity to escape the ring and the clutches of The Phenom, the man who will look to add to his 15-0 WrestleMania record by winning back the World Heavyweight Championship. (WATCH)

Pained participants

Coming off the heels of the Elimination Chamber Match this past Sunday, Batista and MVP entered their match still showing the effects of the sadistic structure. Last week, Batista scored a victory over the Ballin' Superstar, but MVP declared that as far as The Animal was concerned, "Lightning will not strike twice." But after three thunderous spinebusters to his sore back, and an earth-shattering Batista Bomb, the United States Champion could not weather the storm, losing his second straight non-title match to The Animal.

Reversal of fortune

In a rematch of their WrestleMania 23 collision almost one year ago, Kane and The Great Khali clashed once more when the two behemoths stepped into the squared circle on SmackDown. Khali was without Ranjin Singh, who was injured during the Elimination Chamber Match at No Way Out. When it appeared that the Punjabi giant had the match won with his devastating Khali Vise Grip, the Big Red Monster shocked his opponent with an unexpected reversal that brought both men down and pinned Khali's shoulders to the mat for a three-count -- with Kane's head still clutched in the paws of his foe.

Gold in the bank

Shelton Benjamin and Jimmy Wang Yang fought on SmackDown with a spot in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania on the line. SmackDown's resident redneck has been on an impressive streak in 2008, but ECW's "Gold Standard" would not be denied the chance to compete with a guaranteed title opportunity up for grabs. As Yang went for his Moonsault, Shelton ducked and then dropped Yang for the pin -- earning Benjamin a spot in his third Money in the Bank Match. Shelton's victory puts him alongside Jeff Hardy and Mr. Kennedy in Money in the Bank Ladder Match at The Granddaddy of Them All. (WATCH)

V for Vendetta

After failing to win the Elimination Chamber Match this past Sunday, Big Daddy V arrived in San Diego with one thing on his mind -- retribution. That vindictive attitude spelled bad news for his opponent, Shannon Moore, who was overmatched from the moment the bell rang. Big Daddy V controlled the match, and with each offensive move he seemed to grow angrier. Moore gave it his all against the mountainous monster, but after a huge Samoan drop and a 500-pound elbow, "The Reject" had no chance, as Big Daddy V was victorious.

Bringin' the crazy

Chuck Palumbo rode to the ring Friday night with a mission: To send his ex-friend Michelle McCool and her friend, Jamie Noble, a message. Palumbo's message would go through Matt Jackson, but the revved-up Superstar made it clear that physical punishment is not good enough in his eyes. Chuck Palumbo toyed with Jackson before getting the win, as McCool watched in disgust from a monitor in the locker room area.

This is the face of a winning streak

Since returning a few weeks ago to SmackDown, Jesse & Festus have not tasted defeat. The duo stepped into the ring against Deuce & Domino, intent to keep that streak alive. The boys from the Other Side of the Tracks tried anything to turn the tide in their favor -- including using Cherry as a shield -- leading to a bloodied nose for Jesse, but the biscuits ‘n' gravy tandem found a way to win.

Welcome back to Friday Night SmackDown

Also on Friday, the beautiful Maryse returned to SmackDown, and requested to speak with Assistant General Manager Theodore Long, who gladly obliged the blond bombshell in a closed-door meeting.

Hometown hero's hell

An injured Rey Mysterio told his hometown fans that his injured biceps would require immediate surgery and a solemn Mysterio added, "I won't be able to be a part of WrestleMania."

One person in San Diego unsympathetic to Rey's pain was SmackDown's General Manager Vickie Guerrero, who ordered Rey into one-on-one action with ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero … but Vickie wasn't finished. After Rey somehow defeated Chavo, Vickie brought out Big Show, who demolished Rey in an attempt to send a message to Mysterio's friend, Floyd Mayweather. Read the full story…

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