Created in 2002 by Triple H, the Elimination Chamber was an inspiration from Eric Bischoff’s War Games stipulation from WCW. The Chamber features a large chain-linked circular steel structure around the ring, while the floor is platformed over the ringside area which elevates it to ring level. Inside the Chamber, there are four separate pods where the superstars stay in […]
Created in 2002 by Triple H, the Elimination Chamber was an inspiration from Eric Bischoff’s War Games stipulation from WCW. The Chamber features a large chain-linked circular steel structure around the ring, while the floor is platformed over the ringside area which elevates it to ring level. Inside the Chamber, there are four separate pods where the superstars stay in until their number is called. The rules are simple, two superstars start the match and every five minutes, a new pod opens up and this goes on until all four pods have been opened. The only way to eliminate opponents is by either pinfall or submission. Think of it as a Hell in a Cell with a Royal Rumble vibe to it. This is one of the more dangerous match types in WWE but it also has had its fair share of memorable moments.
With the 2019 Elimination Chamber pay-per-view coming up Sunday, February 17th, I decided to make my list of my favorite Chamber matches of all time. With only 24 Chamber matches in WWE history, it was easy to pick out which ones were good and which ones were not. Here is my list of the 10 best WWE Elimination Chamber matches.
10. Cena’s Victory Doesn’t Last
- Event: New Year’s Revolution 2006
- Participants: John Cena (c) vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle vs. Carlito vs. Chris Masters vs. Kane
- Prize: WWE Championship
- Result: Cena last eliminates Carlito to retain the WWE Championship
John Cena was at the height of his popularity, holding onto the WWE Championship for almost a year. This match had the combination of main eventers (Cena, Angle, Michaels, Kane) and potential stars looking to make names for themselves (Carlito, Masters).
Angle, Michaels, and Kane were eliminated first after Carlito and Masters teamed up to take down everyone. Carlito turned on his opponent too early and eliminated Masters before Cena makes a comeback to retain the WWE Championship. What happens post-match was as shocking as ever.
With Edge being the first-ever Money in the Bank holder, he finally cashes in on his opportunity when Cena was bloodied and not ready for another fight. Edge shockingly defeats Cena to win his first WWE Championship and what would be the starting point to his main event stardom.
A grueling Chamber match combined Edge’s appearance and cashing his MITB contract makes this one of the more historic Chamber matches in WWE history.
9. In the Midst of the YES! Movement
- Event: Elimination Chamber 2014
- Participants: Randy Orton (c) vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus vs. Cesaro vs. John Cena vs. Christian
- Prize: WWE World Heavyweight Championship
- Result: Orton last eliminates Bryan to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Despite a finish that did not leave the fans happy, this was a good Elimination Chamber match from start to near finish. Daniel Bryan was at the height of his popularity and fans were upset at the booking he had received at the 2014 Royal Rumble. Many believed that this would finally be the time that WWE pulled the trigger on Bryan being the top guy.
Corporate champion Orton played the heel role perfectly here as he refused to leave his pod but this leads to Sheamus kicking the glass down. Another moment was when The Wyatt Family came into the match and helped eliminate John Cena, which helped kick start the feud between him and Bray Wyatt.
This match had a good combination of superstars from main eventers and guys like Cesaro coming into his own in the WWE. But the main story here was Daniel Bryan, who was on fire from the start. He ultimately did not win as Orton picked up the victory. The crowd did not like this but little did we know this was just the start to Bryan’s comeback story at WrestleMania XXX as he did beat Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
8. Taker/Batista Showdown
- Event: No Way Out 2008
- Participants: The Undertaker vs. Batista vs. MVP vs. Finlay vs. The Great Khali vs. Big Daddy V
- Prize: World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania XXIV
- Result: Undertaker last eliminates Batista to become #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship
On paper, this was a questionable lineup. Batista and Undertaker are no doubt main event stars here and MVP had a nice run during his time as United States Champion but the addition of Finlay, Big Daddy V, and The Great Khali made it seem that these guys were just fillers for this match.
Despite all that, the story was good here as Batista and ‘Taker started out 1 and 2 respectively and eliminated all other members of the Elimination Chamber (Finlay pinned MVP but that was after Taker threw him off the top of the pod in one of the most dangerous spots in Chamber history). Batista and Undertaker provided a thrilling conclusion. The final sequence saw Batista held ‘Taker in a Tombstone position on the outside but only for the pair to fall over the top rope and into the ring which led to ‘Taker performing a Tombstone of his own.
7. An Unlikely Winner
- Event: Elimination Chamber 2013
- Participants: Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry vs. Chris Jericho vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan
- Prize: World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 29
- Result: Swagger last eliminates Orton to become #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship
A match that everyone seems to forget, mainly because Jack Swagger won but this match and seemingly did nothing after that. Not a lot of storyline here aside from the tag champs Daniel Bryan and Kane feuding with each other, it still featured consistent action throughout.
Mark Henry was at the high point of his “Hall of Pain” character and dominated once he entered the match. A heavy favorite once he entered, he took out Kane and Daniel Bryan with World’s Strongest Slams but an RKO from Orton eliminated the World’s Strongest Man. Henry snapped and destroyed everyone in the Chamber before finally leaving. A roll-up win from Swagger caught a lot of people by surprise and looked to be the start of a push for The All-American American. Although those plans never came to be, it was still a solid match from beginning to end.
6. Edge Dominates
- Event: Elimination Chamber 2011
- Participants: Edge (c) vs. Big Show vs. Kane vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Wade Barrett
- Prize: World Heavyweight Championship
- Result: Edge last eliminates Mysterio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship
This Chamber was exciting in terms of action but the main story here was the final showdown between Edge and Rey Mysterio. Given their in-ring chemistry together, it was a good choice to have these guys like the final two. Edge and Mysterio both started and finished the match showing what they both can do in 30 plus minutes of action. Mysterio might not have had any eliminations but he looked like a threat against Edge.
The other guys in the match; Barrett, Big Show, McIntyre, and Kane had their fair share of spots but nothing crazy to write home about but the final showdown of Mysterio and Edge more than made up for it. The final elimination of Mysterio was timed perfectly as Edge caught Mysterio off the top rope with a jumping Spear.
5. The Cracks of Evolution Begin
- Event: New Year’s Revolution 2005
- Participants: Triple H vs. Batista vs. Randy Orton vs. Edge vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho
- Prize: Vacant World Heavyweight Championship
- Result: Triple H last eliminates Orton to become World Heavyweight Championship
For weeks, these six participants had their fair share at the vacant World Heavyweight Championship so Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff decided to put them all in the Elimination Chamber with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee.
Unlike the other Chambers, everyone here had a specific purpose in this match. Jericho and Benoit started things off with some excellent wrestling, while Edge got into it with referee Michaels. Triple H, Randy Orton, and Batista all factored heavily in the finish. Orton was feuding with his former Evolution teammates and looked to try to break up the pair. The finish served a purpose here, as Triple H seemingly did not help Batista when he was getting pinned by Orton. This down the line leads to an eventual Batista face turn and feud with Triple H.
An overall excellent wrestling match by the competitors with a very intriguing storyline to start up a WrestleMania 21 feud.
4. The SmackDown Exclusive
- Event: Elimination Chamber 2017
- Participants: John Cena (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz vs. Baron Corbin vs. Bray Wyatt
- Prize: WWE Championship
- Result: Wyatt last eliminates Styles to win the WWE Championship
After a disastrous 2015 Elimination Chamber and an absence 2016 appearance, the SmackDown exclusive pay-per-view held their own Elimination Chamber match for John Cena’s WWE Championship. It was a simple setup with a combination of stars like AJ Styles, Cena, and The Miz as well as younger stars Dean Ambrose, Baron Corbi, and Bray Wyatt.
The match layout was perfect from the start as Ambrose’s early elimination of Baron Corbin infuriated the heel, who attacked him post-elimination, setting up a feud between the two heading into WrestleMania 33. The final three were Cena, Styles, and Wyatt. The story was great here as veterans Styles and Cena were fighting each other and seemingly forgot that they had one other person to worry about here. Wyatt came out of nowhere and shocked everyone by pinning Styles to win Cena’s WWE Championship. It finally seemed like Wyatt was looking towards big things now that he was Champion.
Although his title reign was short-lived and looked to have buried his status losing it so quickly, it was still a great match with a lot of action and a winner where no one expected.
3. Edge Pulls Double-Duty
- Event: No Way Out 2009
- Participants: John Cena (c) vs. Edge vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Mike Knox
- Prize: World Heavyweight Championship
- Result: Edge last eliminates Mysterio to win the World Heavyweight Championship
Earlier in the night, Edge was in the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match but was the first one to be eliminated. He looked for revenge and to regain a top spot on the roster so he attacked Kofi Kingston before he could enter the Chamber and took his spot in the match.
Pretty much everything in this match was perfect. The booking alone was inventive and while the crowd did not like what Edge did, it served a purpose being one of the top heels in the business. Rey Mysterio and Chris Jericho started the match and Edge and Mysterio ended the night with a sequence of spots including Edge throwing the masked superstar to the glass pod.
Some might not like what Edge did and the writing may have been on the wall that he was going to win but there is no doubt that Edge played the perfect heel here. Not to mention that the ending with Mysterio was great to watch and left some guessing that the masked one had a shot at winning.
2. The Start of a Rivalry
- Event: Elimination Chamber 2010
- Participants: The Undertaker (c) vs. Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk vs. John Morrison vs. R-Truth
- Prize: World Heavyweight Championship
- Result: Jericho last eliminates Undertaker to win the World Heavyweight Championship
A very dramatic Elimination Chamber where the start of a storyline was the main point here. The action was good and the stars such as Undertaker, Jericho, Punk, and Mysterio proved to be a quality Elimination Chamber match.
CM Punk’s early elimination of R-Truth and the promo he cut on the Superstars locked in their pods were entertaining, showing that Punk is one of the best on the mic in WWE history. Of course, the ending was very dramatic. Looking to finally beat The Undertaker and facing him at WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels appeared from under the Chamber and deliver Sweet Chin Music to the dead man. Chris Jericho uses it as an opportunity and sneaks away for the victory and takes home the World Heavyweight Championship.
Most don’t like the screwy finish to this match but this was a perfect setup for one of the best WrestleMania matches ever between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. Chris Jericho was the perfect heel taking the easy way out to win and run away right after the victory while Punk continued to show why he was the best in the business. Overall, a good quality and memorable Chamber match.
1. The Inaugural Elimination Chamber
- Event: Survivor Series 2002
- Participants: Triple H (c) vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Booker T
- Prize: World Heavyweight Championship
- Result: Michaels last eliminates Triple H to win the World Heavyweight Championship
The first-ever Elimination Chamber concept and the best Chamber match in my opinion. The build here was great as Triple H was gifted the first ever World Heavyweight Championship after Brock Lesnar was signed to be on SmackDown exclusive (Triple H was named #1 contender for Lesnar’s WWE Championship, but the move to SmackDown made him lose his championship opportunity).
This leads to superstars like RVD and Kane wanting a piece of Triple H while his old friend, Shawn Michaels, wanting revenge after turning back on his old tag partner.
Triple H and RVD start the match and given the ECW history RVD has had, this match type works in his favor and dominates from the beginning. Booker T and Chris Jericho begin the fill the ring and RVD does his five-star frog splash from the top of the pod and onto Triple H. Clearly taken damage from the risky move, Booker takes advantage of that and picks him apart before eliminating him.
Kane enters the match and dominates right away before everyone else in the match teams up to take down the giant. Eventually, Jericho eliminates Kane and Booker which follows by being eliminated by Michaels, leading to a showdown between him and Triple H. In the end, Michaels finally defeated Triple H and won his first World Championship since coming back to the WWE.