10 best Elimination Chamber Matches
Since its game-changing debut in Nov. 2002, the sinister structure known as the Elimination Chamber has become very familiar to the WWE Universe. Combining the unpredictability of the Royal Rumble Match with the unforgiving steel environment of an amped-up Hell in a Cell, the Chamber is the ultimate (and most wicked) amalgamation of match types.
Though the Elimination Chamber Match never fails to amaze fans, one debate burns on: Which Elimination Chamber Matches are the absolute best? To hash it out, the staff of WWE.com entered a negotiation chamber to winnow down a list of the top 10 battles of all time. Check out our rankings now, and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.
Batista vs. Big Daddy V vs. The Undertaker vs. Finlay vs. The Great Khali vs. MVP (No Way Out 2008)
Big lugs like The Great Khali rarely get their due, but that’s because the landscape of sports-entertainment has changed in a way that has lessened the impact of giants. When you see a 7-footer week in and week out, your ability to be awed by their stature naturally diminishes. Luckily, the Elimination Chamber Match has a way of putting the fright back in monsters.
That’s why this bout — which featured three superheavyweights in Khali, the 500-pound Big Daddy V and The Undertaker — was such a trip. Sure, it had all the expected “Satan’s Prison” mayhem, with The Deadman chucking MVP off the top of a pod and Ranjin Singh shattering his leg on the concrete floor. However, the real appeal was in all those low-angle shots of towering beasts that made this brawl feel less like a sports-entertainment contest and more like a Godzilla movie. Just epic. — RYAN MURPHY
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Wade Barrett vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Santino Marella vs. The Great Khali (Elimination Chamber 2012)
Want to see something really weird? Peep the SmackDown Elimination Chamber Match from 2012. It’s like stepping into an alternate WWE Universe for today’s fans: King Barrett was still a commoner; Daniel Bryan was the sniveling World Heavyweight Champion that everybody hated; and Santino Marella, of all Superstars, came within a Cobra’s length of winning the title and facing Sheamus at WrestleMania.
The match offers plenty of excitement even beyond that. Big Show spearing Khali into the ozone plays like a “Pacific Rim” outtake, and the giant punching his way into Bryan’s pod to get at his then-enemy is still one of the most remarkable moments in WWE history. And what about Santino? Just a year and change after nearly winning the Royal Rumble Match, Marella channeled the original Italian Stallion, Rocky Balboa, and nearly went the distance in “Satan’s Prison,” pinning Barrett en route to a final showdown against the champion.
Bryan didn’t think The Milan Miracle had a hope in hell of beating him, and even made a show of toying with the fan favorite (man, he was a jerk back then) before Santino almost roared his way to a match-ending comeback. Alas, he ended up tapping to the LeBell Lock — which was soon rechristened the “YES!” Lock – and Bryan went onto The Show of Shows. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
John Cena vs. Sheamus vs. CM Punk vs. Randy Orton vs. John Morrison vs. R-Truth (Elimination Chamber 2011)
John Cena may have emerged from the 2011 Raw Elimination Chamber Match with the opportunity to challenge for the WWE Title at WrestleMania XXVII, but his triumph came at a price. Locked inside the steel structure with then-King Sheamus, CM Punk, Randy Orton, John Morrison and R-Truth, Cena rose above a brutal and potentially career-altering battle.
With Sheamus and Morrison already engaged in combat, Orton entered the fray like a man on fire. Cena entered the match fifth, yet before his pod door could open, Sheamus rushed in and battered The Champ on the inside. Cena weathered the storm and battled his way back into the bout, but when the Viper struck with an RKO on the steel grate, things looked bleak.
The highlight of the bout came as both Sheamus and Morrison climbed to the top of an empty pod. The Guru of Greatness, after dumping Sheamus to the mat, made his way to the very center of the dome before launching himself onto The Celtic Warrior for the three-count. Suffering a knee injury for his continued risk-taking over the course of the match, Morrison would be eliminated after a GTS, leaving Punk and Cena in the middle of the ring. An Attitude Adjustment delivered on the unforgiving steel grate then spelled the end for Punk, not to mention a WrestleMania main event for John Cena. — ALEX GIANNINI
The Undertaker vs. R-Truth vs. John Morrison vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk (Elimination Chamber 2010)
It seemed unfathomable that a Superstar would find a way to actually break into the Elimination Chamber, mid-match, to influence the outcome of a bout. Sure, outside parties had slipped weapons to their friends inside the Chamber before, and Edge once stole Kofi Kingston’s spot in the match before it began. But to actually sneak into the Chamber after the bell rang? Inconceivable! Or, so we thought, until Shawn Michaels appeared from beneath the steel grates to play Sweet Chin Music for The Undertaker in 2010.
Before HBK emerged above ground with Ninja Turtle flair, there was stellar Elimination Chamber action featuring a dynamic cross-section of styles and presided over by the defending World Heavyweight Champion Undertaker, who watched ominously from his pod until he was unleashed as the final entrant. Once The Deadman joined the festivities, only two combatants, John Morrison and Chris Jericho, remained. Ever the wily veteran, Jericho avoided The Phenom like the plague, opting to seek refuge inside a pod, before picking his spot and running The Undertaker through the Lexan glass.
WWE’s Deadman recovered enough to chokeslam Jo-Mo onto the steel floor and pin The Prince of Parkour, giving way to a thrilling exchange where The Undertaker and Jericho each tried to lock in his signature submission hold. The Undertaker eventually delivered a Last Ride, but thanks to the intrusion by HBK, it didn’t matter. Jericho left the Chamber the new World Heavyweight Champion. — JOHN CLAPP
Edge vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Kane vs. Big Show vs. Bad News Barrett vs. Drew McIntyre (Elimination Chamber 2011)
The World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match in 2011 was the perfect mix of the present and future of WWE colliding inside the hellacious structure. To make it to WrestleMania, World Heavyweight Champion Edge had to survive a battle with Wade Barrett, Rey Mysterio, Kane, Drew McIntyre and Big Show.
Barrett and McIntyre, the two youngest competitors in the bout, would have made that difficult enough. The calculating Brit picked his spots wisely, doing as much damage as possible before slinking away to recover. McIntyre, on the other hand, came into the match in a frenzy. The fiery Scot hurled Mysterio into a pod before brutally tossing Barrett through the Lexan glass.
However, in the end, it was Mysterio and The Rated-R Superstar who were battling for the chance to headline WrestleMania. In an epic struggle that had the WWE Universe on the edge of its seat, Edge recovered from the 619, nailing Mysterio with a Spear as the luchador dove off the top rope to retain his coveted championship. — BOBBY MELOK
Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho vs. JBL vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H vs. Umaga (No Way Out 2008)
With a golden opportunity to challenge for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXIV hanging in the balance, six WWE Superstars laid everything on the line in one of the most intense, hardest-hitting Elimination Chamber Matches in WWE history at No Way Out 2008. Combining the high-flying, high-risk styles of Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy with the bruising, overpowering force of Umaga, JBL and Triple H, this free-for-all contest had something for everyone.
After losing the coin toss, Y2J and HBK entered first and kicked off the match with top-notch technical wrestling. When the powerhouse Umaga exited his pod — soon followed by JBL — the complexion of the contest was radically changed, and the displays of raw aggression and power came fast and furious. Triple H entering fifth and Hardy sixth only added to the chaos, as each Superstar brought his A-game and full arsenal to the high-stakes battle.
Every combatant had his moments and unleashed signature moves, eventually leaving only Hardy and The Game standing. It took two Pedigrees — the second onto a steel chair — for The Cerebral Assassin to put the The Charismatic Enigma down and secure a WWE Championship Match at WrestleMania XXIV. — JAKE GRATE
John Cena vs. Edge vs. Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Kane vs. Mike Knox (No Way Out 2009)
Memorable for its decorated lineup, big hits and shocking twists, the World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match from 2009 got off to perhaps the most bizarre start in Chamber history: Edge, who lost the WWE Title in an Elimination Chamber Match earlier that very night, attacked Kofi Kingston before the bell and stole his spot inside a Chamber pod.
The Ultimate Opportunist’s presence was hardly the only surprise of the match. Consider Rey Mysterio’s unique brand of offense that, in this instance, consisted off a hurricanrana off the Chamber walls and a seated senton from the top of a Chamber pod. Then there was the remarkable sequence that led to World Heavyweight Champion John Cena’s stunningly quick departure from the bout: A Chris Jericho Codebreaker gave way to a Mysterio 619, which led to a Spear from Edge. After that trifecta of signature moves, the Cenation leader was down for the count.
The match eventually boiled down to just Edge and Kingston comrade Mysterio, and inside the Chamber, The Ultimate Underdog’s high-risk tolerance proved untenable. When Rey attempted a hurricanrana-type move on the steel grate, Edge reversed it, launching Mysterio through a pod. A Spear later, and Edge was once again a World Champion. — JOHN CLAPP
John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle vs. Carlito vs. Chris Masters vs. Kane (New Year’s Revolution 2006)
The 2006 edition of the Elimination Chamber Match marked the first time John Cena entered the structure. Standing in his pod as WWE Champion, Cena stared down Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels, Kane, Chris Masters and Carlito. Facing the current and three former WWE Champions — and witnessing the suplex-happy Olympic Hero and unpredictable Sweet Chin Music from HBK — Carlito and Masters formed an alliance that ultimately resulted in Kane’s elimination. Nevertheless, Carlito eventually turned on The Masterpiece and unexpectedly dominated the remainder of the bout.
Although Michaels managed to eliminate Angle, Cena suddenly found his title in jeopardy as Carlito — who defeated the Cenation leader for U.S. Title in his WWE debut two years earlier — eliminated Kane, Masters and Michaels. Certainly no one expected the king of cool to outlast HBK, the most experienced Superstar inside the Elimination Chamber. However, moments after eliminating Masters, Carlito was caught off-guard as Cena rolled him up to retain the WWE Championship and win his first Elimination Chamber Match. — KEVIN POWERS
Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton vs. Goldberg vs. Kevin Nash (SummerSlam 2003)
For all the wars that have been waged inside the Elimination Chamber, none of them boasted the immense star power of the physically intense contest at SummerSlam 2003 … and it was only the second one ever. The list of competitors was astounding. Locked inside was the Chamber’s first winner, Shawn Michaels, nWo revolutionary Kevin Nash, WCW savior Goldberg, a 23-year-old Randy Orton, the first Undisputed Champion, Chris Jericho, and the reigning World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H.
The web of rivalries among the opponents was as difficult to entangle as a Chekov play. Nash had been at odds with both Triple H and Jericho, while Y2J had clashed with Shawn Michaels at that year’s WrestleMania and also recently renewed his WCW conflict with Goldberg. And there was certainly no love lost among the three participating Kliq members. Thankfully for The Game, his Evolution cohort Orton was standing beside him.
Nash was sent packing first with a Sweet Chin Music that kicked Big Sexy right out of WWE for eight years. But the match truly belonged to Goldberg. The former Atlanta Falcon entered the contest last and went on a rampage. He handily took care of Orton, Michaels and Jericho, then literally punched through glass to get to Triple H. But Hunter’s pal Ric Flair passed along a sledgehammer to gain the advantage, permitting the champion to attack the Georgia native and retain his title. But it was far from the last Triple H would hear from the charismatic Bill Goldberg. — ZACH LINDER
Triple H vs. Booker T vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Shawn Michaels (Survivor Series 2002)
At Survivor Series 2002, inside The Greatest Arena in the World, Madison Square Garden, the first-ever Elimination Chamber Match was contested for the World Heavyweight Championship. It featured six of WWE’s most dangerous Superstars, including reigning titleholder Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Booker T, RVD, Kane and Chris Jericho. And once the WWE Universe got a taste of the career-changing structure, standing 36 feet in diameter and weighing 20,000 pounds, the squared circle would never be the same again.
The innovative Chamber redefined the meaning of the word pain, with all six competitors using the miles of unforgiving steel chain to absolutely tear each other apart. Before the contest was over, two warriors were hurled through the Lexan glass pods, and both a Frog Splash and Elbow Drop were launched from the top of pods. The former, performed by RVD onto Triple H, almost crushed The King of Kings’ larynx, though he somehow managed to continue defending his title in the contest for another 20 minutes.
Ultimately, HBK triumphed over The Game — his best friend- turned-bitter rival — to capture a much-deserved golden victory, and the last World Championship in his WWE Hall of Fame career. However, the lasting legacy created that night was one of horrific anguish; not only for the brave pioneers who ventured inside the Chamber that night, but also for anyone who would dare enter the structure from that point forward. — MICHAEL BURDICK