Road closing; 'Mania rising

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April 03, 2009

DALLAS -- Just two days before more than 70,000 members of the WWE Universe pack Reliant Stadium to the rafters -- with millions upon millions more watching the global phenomenon at home - SmackDown switched into overdrive on The Road to the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania.  (Special coverage of 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania)

United States Champion Montel Vontavious Porter def. Shelton Benjamin (United States Championship Match) (PHOTOS)                                 
Despite a vicious neckbreaker off the top rope by The Gold Standard, The Franchise Playa' roared back, nailing Benjamin with The Playmaker to retain his gold in convincing fashion. Now that The Ballin' Superstar has overcome the former champion, will he have what it takes to prove triumphant in the WrestleMania Money in the Bank Match Ladder Match this Sunday? (Match preview) Or could Benjamin's experience in the most dangerous of WrestleMania traditions carry him to the top of the ladder?

Jeff Hardy def. Ezekiel Jackson (WATCH | PHOTOS)                                    
After hitting Jackson with the Twist of Fate, the extreme-charged Hardy nailed The Brian Kendrick's associate with the Swanton Bomb for the win. Even as his hand was being raised, an unsatisfied Hardy was left chomping at the bit in anticipation of his Extreme Rules Match with his brother, Matt Hardy, on The Grandest Stage of Them All. (Match preview)

Gail Kim & Maria def. Divas Champion Maryse & Michelle McCool (Divas Tag Team Match) (WATCH | PHOTOS)                                      
Maria teamed with the electrifying Gail Kim, who launched Michelle out of the ring before delivering a beautiful double-arm neckbreaker to Maryse for the win. The victory came just one week after the dynamic Diva returned to SmackDown to torpedo the Divas Championship Match. But has Gail built up enough momentum to outlast 24 of the Sexiest Women on Television and win the Miss WrestleMania title in the Diva Battle Royal? (Match preview)

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