Triple H and Chris Jericho's Last Man Standing match at WWE's Fully Loaded 2000 was a display of macabre theater.
Blood spurted from Triple H's brow as two foes told a story of hatred and survival using torn bandages, a demolished table and a sledgehammer as props. They met in the Reunion Arena in Dallas on July 23, 2000.
A star on the rise met an established headliner with the animosity between them overflowing.
With Bray Wyatt and John Cena seemingly headed for a Last Man Standing match at Payback, it's natural to start thinking back to the greatest versions of that gimmick match. The phrase "last man standing" has popped up in their war of words, leading to speculation that they will have their third match require one man to simply knock the other out.
Jericho vs. Triple H is one of the more intense, well-executed and bloody bouts of its kind. "Y2J" called it one of his favorite matches, saying that he and Triple H "tore the house down."
He's right. Early in his WWE run, Jericho established himself as a headliner with this performance.
This was one of the more memorable meetings between these two enemies. Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via ProFightDB.com) gave it a 4.5-star rating, just half a star from perfection.
Jericho kissing Stephanie McMahon began this fire. He and Triple H would then spend the next few weeks attacking each other at King of the Ring and Raw, their level of rage rising each time. When they finally faced off at the final Fully Loaded event, Hall of Famer Jim Ross set the scene.
He said, "It's about punishment, it's about pain," as Jericho began the match hammering "The Game" with right hands.
The early part of the match belonged to Jericho, even though bandages wrapped his injured ribs. He interspersed brawling with springboard moves. However, his aggression and speed couldn't keep Triple H down for long.
Once the fight moved to the outside, Triple H took over.
He suplexed Jericho on the floor as McMahon cackled. She slipped in a number of blows as well, stinging Jericho with slaps.
"The Cerebral Assassin" barked at his fallen foe and propped himself up in the corner as he waited for the referee to count to 10.
A chair shot soon wiped away Triple H's cockiness. It also made him bleed, his forehead smeared red in a matter of seconds.
The pace of the match picked up and so did the level of violence. Triple H tore Jericho's bandages from his torso. Both men cracked each other in the head with television monitors.
McMahon kept reaching her claws into the fray and eventually Jericho fought back. After torturing Triple H with the Walls of Jericho, he clamped the move on McMahon. She desperately tapped her hand on the mat just as her husband had done before her.
Blood soaked the canvas at this point, but there was still more violence to be had.
Triple H grabbed his trademark sledgehammer and looked to put Jericho away. "The Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla" dodged the coming weapon. After it clanged on the ring post, Jericho took hold of it and struck Triple H with it.
Not even that could end the match, though.
It took one final collision to close the story. Triple H suplexed Chris Jericho into the announce table, both men absorbing great impact.
From that rubble of men and broken furniture, only Triple H rose. He wobbled and fell onto his bloody face, but only after answering the referee's count and winning the match.
Both men would go on to add numerous classics to their resume and assure themselves spots in the Hall of Fame. That bout was one of Jericho's first masterpieces after signing with WWE, a precursor to his world title runs and WrestleMania appearances.
The Last Man Standing match helped launch him into a higher tier.
That's what WWE will be hoping will happen to Wyatt, should he face Cena in this type of clash. That contest certainly won't leave a layer of the blood on the mat as Jericho and Triple H did in 2000, but it can borrow the bout's intensity and unyielding hold on the audience from the first punch to the last crash.