The 10 best Elimination Chamber Matches ever
Since its game-changing debut at Survivor Series 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.
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. King Barrett vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Santino Marella vs. The Great Khali (Elimination Chamber 2012)
Want to see something really weird? Behold 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 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.
Yes, that Santino. Just a year and change after nearly winning the Royal Rumble Match, Marella channeled the original Italian Stallion, Rocky Balboa, and pinned Barrett en route to a final showdown against the champion. Alas, he ended up tapping to the then-LeBell Lock, but the afterglow of Santino’s one shining moment still burns bright in the WWE Universe’s memory. Ironically, that’s a lesson Bryan himself would soon learn.— 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, suffering a beatdown from Sheamus and an RKO from Orton en route to the win.
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, and sealed the WrestleMania main event for The Cenation Leader. — 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 Match action featuring a dynamic cross-section of styles. The contest was presided over by the defending World Heavyweight Champion Undertaker, who watched ominously from his pod until he was unleashed as the final entrant, leading to a submission battle with Chris Jericho. The Undertaker eventually delivered a Last Ride, but HBK’s intrusion denied The Phenom his victory, and Jericho left the Chamber as the new World Heavyweight Champion. — JOHN CLAPP
Edge vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Kane vs. Big Show vs. King 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 King 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, hurled Mysterio into a pod before brutally tossing Barrett through the Lexan glass.
In the end, it was Mysterio and The Rated-R Superstar who battled 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 title in what would be his final trip inside the Elimination Chamber. — BOBBY MELOK
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs Christian (Elimination Chamber 2014)
Daniel Bryan’s roller-coaster run to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship hit its gnarliest corkscrew inside the Elimination Chamber, where The Beard took what was then his last best opportunity at reigning champion Randy Orton while a maelstrom of budding rivalries swirled all around them. John Cena found his own lunge for the title besieged by The Wyatt Family; Christian stunned the WWE Universe by pinning Sheamus, and Cesaro showcased his budding dominance in one of the most unforgivable moments imaginable. It all came down to Bryan and Orton, though thanks to Kane’s unexpected interference, the people’s hero was denied once again, but for what turned out to be the last time. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho vs. JBL vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H vs. Umaga (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, from the top-notch technical wrestling between Jericho and HBK that began the contest, to the furious pummelings of Umaga and JBL. 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 down the The Charismatic Enigma 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 both the most bizarre start in Chamber history — Edge, who lost the WWE Title in an Elimination Chamber Match earlier that same night, attacked Kofi Kingston before the bell and stole his spot inside a Chamber pod — and featured what has become the match’s signature “OMG” moment: A combination of a Codebreaker, 619 and Spear that knocked World Heavyweight Champion John Cena out of the match, a sequence of events that left Edge with a disbelieving, devilish grin on his face.
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. Even by the WWE Champion’s standards, there were some long odds staring him down … though from a very unexpected source. After the elimination of Kurt Angle by HBK, Cena suddenly found his title in jeopardy as Carlito — who defeated The Champ for the U.S. Title in his WWE debut two years earlier — eliminated Kane, Michaels and Masters. Certainly, no one had expected The King of Cool to outlast HBK, the most experienced Superstar inside the Elimination Chamber. However, moments after eliminating The Masterpiece, 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. Locked inside was the Chamber’s first winner, Shawn Michaels, nWo revolutionary Kevin Nash, WCW veteran Goldberg, a 23-year-old Randy Orton, WWE’s first Undisputed Champion, Chris Jericho, and the reigning World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H.
At least one elimination had lasting implications beyond the match: Nash was sent packing first with a Sweet Chin Music that kicked Big Sexy right out of WWE for eight years. However, the match truly belonged to Goldberg. Entering the contest last, the former Atlanta Falcon defensive tackle and nose guard handily took care of Orton, Michaels and Jericho before literally punching through glass to get to Triple H. Unfortunately from the outside, Ric Flair passed along a sledgehammer, permitting the champion to attack the Georgia native with the weapon and retain his title. — 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. The contest 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 again be the same.
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 the 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 an unbelievable 20 minutes.
Ultimately, HBK triumphed over The Game — his best friend-turned-bitter rival — to capture a much-deserved 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