First of all, if took place in April 2000. No big deal, just everyone seems to get the date wrong on this match.
Second, if Jericho took the belt that night, then Triple H's upcoming match against the Rock at Backlash would have been meaningless, as would have been Steve Austin's one-night return.
Damn. I knew it was two years ago but keep forgetting it's 2002. Anyways...
I still gotta disagree on this point. Trip and Rock are two guys that can go at it with absolutely nothing on the line and still have the fans eating out of the palm of their hand. The Rock was (and remains) crazy over with an eyebrow and elbow for Chrissakes! Moreover, who's to say that Rock-Trip match would've stood? Why not let Backlash be the Last Man Standing match (which Triple H wins) and then give the fans HHH-Rock at KOTR or SummerSlam (traditionally more important PPV's anyways).
And while Stone Cold got a nice little pop out of the deal, bringing him out at Backlash was a mistake. It teased the fans that he might be ready to go... when in reality he was still re-learning to put one foot in front of the other (not to mention being tremendously out of shape... he looked more like Stone Cold Will Sasso than Stone Cold Steve Austin).
But all those thoughts aside, my main argument was that the WWF severely damaged Jericho with that sequence of events. The crowd's reaction proved they bought him as a viable contender (with the APA's help) and Trip could've taken the belt right back and gone on to wreak more heel havoc until dropping the strap to the Rock.
Remember, everybody thought a million bucks of Jericho after the Last Man Standing match... think how high his profile would've been had it been for the WWF Championship. And instead of being a choker, he's the Rocky Balboa who went the distance with the big bad champion... winning a moral victory even if he didn't leave with the belt.
Where is The Great Thomas and his Smackdown! Reports when you need them (or at least a thread to append, a day later)? It's my life, my time, my rights, my rhyme. It's time for Sssssmackdown!, from Washington, DC...and a Fashion Report, too!