Greatest Matches in Raw History is our short series which looks at some of the arguable contenders for the distinction of “Greatest Match in Raw History”. With Raw a decades old show boasting well over 1,000 episodes, this is, of course, purely opinion based. Today, we take a look at one of the greats from the early periods of Raw’s Ruthless Aggression Era: the high stakes, Tables, Ladders & Chairs fatal four-way tag team match (dubbed “TLC 4”) between Kane (c), Bubba Ray & Spike Dudley, Rob Van Dam & Jeff Hardy and Christian & Chris Jericho for the World Tag Team Championships. October 7th, 2002.
TLC 4: Bubba Ray and Spike Dudley vs. Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy vs. Christian and Chris Jericho vs. Kane: October 7th 2002: Las Vegas, Nevada
In the early days of the brand split, both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown made numerous choices to separate from each other tonally. Because of this, several ideas were pitched, greenlit and tested, one of which was “RAW Roulette”, a special edition of Monday Night Raw from Las Vegas with a roulette wheel determining the stipulations for certain matches. One such match being a four-way tag team TLC match, at a time when seeing such a match was a rare occurrence, and on free television no less. The tag team division on RAW, while certainly slapdash at the time due to being in one its many rebuilding phases, was certainly not wanting for talent, and this match is obviously no exception.
After the match was set, Chris Jericho and Christian attacked Kane’s then partner and co-champion, The Hurricane, backstage; incapacitating him and forcing Kane, who was arguably at his physical/professional peak at this time in his career – and was sitting as Intercontinental Champion and Tag Team Champion as well as preparing for a World Heavyweight Championship match against then champion Triple H – to defend the Tag Team Championships alone. Another interesting note on this match is Jim Ross, who was calling the whole thing alone, as his then-broadcast partner, Jerry Lawler, had left earlier in the night for storyline reasons. Jim Ross, who was in the later stage of his career at this point, did some of his absolute finest work in this match, and did so completely solo.
The match starts fast paced and wildly chaotic, with everyone pairing off with everyone else to brawl with them. Before long, Kane is dominating the match and clearing the ring of other participants single-handedly. From here on out, the 9 men go to more and more extensive lengths to try and incapacitate each other, most of which happens so fast that its virtually impossible to connect them in a way that makes sense narratively, so for the sake of simplicity and time, we will simply highlight some of the biggest spots of the match, in order as they happen, with as much information provided as possible.
Match Summary for TLC 4
- Bubba Ray Dudley using the helicopter spot with the ladder to take everyone out, only to get it booted into his face by Kane.
- Spike Dudley taking a Bret Hart-style chest bump into a ladder that’s jutting out from the corner.
- Jeff Hardy leg dropping Kane from the top of a ladder, through a table to incapacitate him.
- Chris Jericho hitting a bulldog off the top of a ladder to Bubba Ray Dudley, which legitimately concusses him, giving him memory loss for the rest of the match.
- Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam with an assisted coast-to-coast to Kane with a chair.
- Jeff superplexing Bubba Ray off a ladder.
- Chris Jericho being tipped off a ladder all the way to the floor with nothing to break his fall.
- Christian countering Spike Dudley’s finisher, the Dudley Dog by throwing him over the top rope through a table set up on the floor below.
- Bubba hitting a Bubba Bomb to Christian from the top of the ladder, followed up by RVD immediately nailing him with a Five Star Frog Splash
- Jeff then immediately missing a Swanton Bomb to Bubba Ray and getting backdropped by him over the top rope through a table on the floor outside after the fact.
- Y2J using the Walls of Jericho on the top of a ladder on RVD.
- Kane Chokeslamming Jericho off the top of the ladder, sitting up, and climbing the ladder to grab the belts to retain them all on his own.
Hopefully this has been helpful in understanding the layout of this match but in reality, much like all the early TLC matches from this time period, it needs to be experienced personally in order to be understood. It is a wonderfully chaotic match; a beautiful car crash that needs to be seen to be believed, and certainly deserves the time it takes for anyone with half an hour of spare time to go watch it. If you want to watch the madness that took place on that October 7, 2002 night, feel free to check out the TLC 4 linked at the top of the article, per WWE’s YouTube channel.
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