World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan won the SmackDown Elimination Chamber Match

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February 19, 2012

MILWAUKEE – World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan once again overcame steep odds, outlasting The Great Khali, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Big Show and Santino Marella in the SmackDown Elimination Chamber Match. With his numbers-defying victory at Elimination Chamber, Bryan retained his title and assured his place in the main event at WrestleMania XXVIII. (MATCH PHOTOS)

Because of its hellish construction and the six-to-one probability of a competitor emerging from the structure victorious, the Elimination Chamber is a career-altering match for everyone involved, and especially dangerous for the entering champion.

According to the rules of the match, each participating Superstar draws a number from one to six, signifying order of entry. The competitors who pick one and two will start, while the other combatants remain locked in individual pods, waiting to enter the melee at five-minute intervals. Superstars can be eliminated by pinfall or submission and are trapped inside the structure for the duration of the bout. While the rules of the Elimination Chamber may be daunting, the prize that awaits its winner is crystal clear.

In a match where the odds are inherently stacked against the entering champion, it’s fitting that Bryan would walk out with the title intact. Despite the fact that he’d never before experienced the unique torture that is the Chamber, the World Heavyweight Champion’s recent track record has certainly proven him as an odds-beater.

Throughout the course of his title reign, the submission specialist has overcome everything thrown his way, including a Triple Threat Steel Cage Match against Big Show and Mark Henry. But Sunday night’s Chamber Match would present unique challenges — and a bevy of formidable challengers — to the champion.

Wade Barrett, for example, entered with high hopes, big talk and the toughness necessary to back it up. The ideal combination of ruthless nature, English tenacity and unbridled ambition, the Barrett Barrage was seemingly tailor-made for this type of showdown.

There was also Cody Rhodes, who stood to gain enormously from a Chamber Match victory. Even though his Intercontinental Championship wasn’t on the line, Rhodes came into the Chamber with eyes on simultaneously holding the World Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships, a feat that would have elevated him to legendary status.

Added to the mix were two giants, Big Show and The Great Khali, each man possessing the ability to knock out an opponent with one blow.

And then there was the dark horse. After shocking the WWE Universe by winning an impromptu Elimination Chamber Wild Card Battle Royal, sentimental favorite Santino Marella replaced an injured Randy Orton, looking to capitalize on the biggest opportunity of his career.

The first two men in the ring, Barrett battled Big Show one-on-one as the other four Superstars looked on from their pods. Next out of the gate was Cody Rhodes, who, working in tandem with Barrett for much of the battle, attempted to chop the giant down to size.

Marella was the fourth man to enter, and he immediately came face to face with Big Show, who was wholly apathetic toward the Italian Superstar. Next came Khali, but as quickly as The Punjabi Giant entered, he exited, losing a battle of giant against giant to Big Show.

The last man in his pod was the World Heavyweight Champion, and, not willing to wait for the clock to run its course, Big Show took matters into his mighty hands, decimating the chains on top of the pod and kicking through them with his giant boots. He then proceeded to lay waste to the champion inside the tight confines of the pod.

But Barrett may have saved the titleholder, delivering a boot to Big Show and then, working with Rhodes, the two men finally eliminated The World’s Largest Athlete. In Rhodes’ celebration, however, Marella snuck in and rolled up the Intercontinental Champion, sending him packing. Then the bare-knuckle brawler quickly tied Marella up in the steel chains and then turned his attention to Bryan, powerbombing the champion into the steel chains and slamming his head in the pod door.

Marella re-emerged, however, commanding Barrett’s attention and leading to a Bryan headbutt off the top ropes. Marella pinned Barrett, leaving the dark horse in the ring with the World Heavyweight Champion. But the Italian Superstar would not pull off consecutive miracles, and Bryan — who was the last man in the ring — was the last man left standing in the end.

Despite the odds stacked squarely against him, Bryan became just the fifth man ever to retain his title in the Chamber Match. But the champion couldn’t celebrate for long. To the surprise of the WWE Universe, Royal Rumble Match winner Sheamus arrived in Milwaukee, intent on delivering an emphatic message to the champion. With a monstrous slam, Sheamus ended all speculation as to what title he has in his sights come WrestleMania.

Bryan may have escaped the Elimination Chamber with his title still intact, but The Great White looms large, awaiting the champion in what is sure to be an epic battle at WrestleMania XXVIII.

Daniel Bryan Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles Stardust Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles Big Show Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles The Great Khali Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles King Barrett Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles Santino Marella Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles

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