What's the best match in the 20+ year history of WWE Monday Night Raw? That's a question that is tough to answer because there have been so many terrific matchups over the years. However, the night that the Canadian Chrises beat the Two Man Power Trip for the tag titles might be my favorite match in the history of Raw.
Austin was the heel WWE Champion while Triple H was his ally in the duo known as the "Two Man Power Trip." Austin and Hunter had won the tag titles about three weeks earlier. It's not like they were long term tag team champions, but as main-event players holding the tag titles, it was a big deal.
As for the babyface team of Jericho and Benoit, they were two of the most liked performers in the company, especially by the online wrestling community. The crowd in San Jose, Calif., also loved them because they were loud during the entire matchup. The booking was great, but so was the atmosphere.
The match was set up in the opening segment of the show with Jericho coming out to tell Austin that he was a slut for selling out to Vince McMahon. Of course he called Stephanie McMahon because that's something he usually did, too. That set up a brawl and the match became official for the main event.
There were a number of awesome false finishes in the match where Benoit had Austin in the Crossface and Triple H broke it up with a chair shot to the back. Benoit found a way to kick out at two. The majority of the match saw the heel duo working over Benoit using every trick in the book.
When Benoit broke free of Triple H with a German Suplex the crowd exploded. That wasn't it, though. He couldn't make the tag. Austin and Triple H were so good at cheating that the ref was unable to see the tag.
When Jericho finally got the hot tag, he was on fire. Everything he did was met with a huge ovation from the fans. When Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho on Austin in the middle of the ring, it sounded like the roof was going to blow off the arena. Then Triple H knocked Jericho off of Austin.
That was the most famous moment of the match because as Triple H made that move, he tore the quad muscle in his left leg. Hunter slid his way out to the floor to set up the next spot on the announce table. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho on the table while Triple H fought through the pain.
In the ring, Benoit hit a flying headbutt. He yelled at the ref to get in the ring. Austin came back with a Stone Cold Stunner. I remember thinking that was the finish, but Jericho pulled the ref out.
Jericho's Lionsault didn't work the first time, but the second one did. Hunter came back in to attack with the sledgehammer, only for Jericho to move and Austin took the hammer shot from his partner. Benoit took Triple H out, Jericho covered Austin and they won the tag titles. What an ovation.
It was the perfect example of putting over two guys who deserved it. It put Benoit and Jericho on another level in the eyes of the fans. Why? Because they worked together to beat these two top guys with tag team gold on the line. There wasn't one star in the match. It was a team effort.
"Benoit and Jericho, in the biggest match of their lives, have beat Austin and Triple H for the tag team titles." - Jim Ross. That sums it up.
It's one of the best tag team matches in the history of Raw and in WWE history as well.
Of course, WWE won't let you remember this match because it has Chris Benoit in it. That's fine. I don't blame them for thinking that. That doesn't mean anybody that saw the match will ever forget it.