Seventeen times, six men have walked into battle and whether it was for a title or a shot at a title, the six men have attempted to destroy one another to earn victory inside of the Elimination Chamber.
Storyline–wise, the chamber was the brainchild of Eric Bischoff. But backstage, Triple H had been clamoring for the return of an NWA staple, the double–ring, double–cage “Match Beyond,” War Games. He got his wish in the form of Satan’s Structure and has excelled in the chamber, winning four of the six Chambers he's stepped into. As for eliminations, Chris Jericho leads the pack with ten in his eight appearances.
Assisting the devil in creating this instrument of inhumanity was WWE production designer, Jason Robinson, who in a 2009 WWE Magazine article explained it is made of black–painted steel and weighs over 10 tons in total and the chains that surround the hellacious torture device stretch two miles. After watching all of these Chamber matches in succession, a few things seem to happen in almost every match–a ridiculously insane spot off of one of the pods, someone scaling the chain links like Spiderman, a wrestler crashing through the “unbreakable” glass, and a big man needing at least two finishing moves to be eliminated.
Since its inception at the 2002 Survivor Series, 48 men have walked into hell. On May 31st, 2015, WWE brings the Chamber back from the depths of the abyss for a Network exclusive PPV. For the first time ever in its history, the Chamber will decide who will become the next Intercontinental and Tag Team champions. In honor of the resurrection of the gates of Hell, we’ve ranked every chamber match to date.
21 December to Dismember 2006
The match itself was terrible and the backstage drama was more intriguing than the main event–the Extreme Elimination Chamber, where each “extremist” would be in their pod with a weapon to bring into the match. First, Sabu, who would have made this match one of the most memorable in the WWE/ECW run, was taken out by Hardcore Holly before the match even started. This was rumored to be a product of the WWE brass not believing Sabu was worth his salt. Secondly, Heyman desperately tried and failed to mint CM Punk on this night, suggesting Punk and ECW champion, Big Show start the match and Punk eliminate the giant before the first period was up. Add perennial mid–carders Test and Holly, plus the cramming of Bobby Lashley down our gullets as the new face of ECW, and you have the worst Chamber match in history.
20 No Way Out 2008
How do you make an exciting concept match really boring and meandering? You toss a bunch of slow plodding monsters into the match. The first ever Smackdown chamber was essentially The Undertaker vs. Batista, guest-starring a bunch of guys who never deserved a title match in their career and Finlay (let’s try and forget that Khali is actually a former champion). MVP gets the distinction of taking the obligatory off the pod spot, getting choke slammed off it by The Deadman. The bookers must have known how bad this match was going to be, so they put Taker and Batista in first and allowed the pair to survive until the end of the match, which The Undertaker won.
19 Elimination Chamber 2012 (World Heavyweight Championship)
What do the Great Khali, Cody Rhodes, Big Show, Santino Marella and Wade Barrett all have in common? None of them were seen as true threats to Daniel Bryan's World Heavyweight Championship title. It's not even because Bryan is that good (which he is), it's that can anyone honestly possibly have seen this seldom or poorly pushed field of competitors winning the title and heading to WrestleMania as the champion?
The big shock was that Santino eliminated the only two actual believable contenders (Rhodes and Barrett) and came within a Cobra's length of showing us all why he is the Milan Miracle. If the WWE had pushed Santino to be seen as a real threat, maybe this would have been exciting but instead it was just another example of how little the company truly believed in giving the Yes Man the ball.
17 Elimination Chamber 2015 (Intercontinental)
When Daniel Bryan had to vacate his Intercontinental Championship after a serious neck injury, the vacated belt was put up for grabs in an Elimination Chamber match at the first WWE Network exclusive PPV. In a match also involving Barrett, Sheamus, R-Truth (Lord knows Why), Ziggler and Mark Henry (replacing an injured Rusev), Ryback emerged victorious after a decently entertaining match. This one didn't featured the most high profile wrestlers and didn't have as many high sports as other matches on this list, but it wasn't a complete failure either.
Ryback got the win after powerbombing Sheamus and then hitting him with the Shell Shock. It was Ryback's first WWE championship victory.
16 New Year’s Revolution 2006
The fourth Chamber match in history might be the most historic, not because of the match itself, but because of the aftermath. Cena would start the match with HBK and become the first man to start the Chamber and win the whole thing. The Cenation leader would have to endure the original mayor of Suplex City, Kurt Angle, the Big Red Machine, and an alliance of young guns, Carlito and the Masterpiece, Chris Masters. You can’t blame the WWE for trying to push new stars, but it also made for a Chamber match where you knew a third of the field of wrestlers wouldn’t be leaving with gold. Between that and the wrestling machine, Angle being the first eliminated, you know you're watching a forgettable Chamber.
This match is actually more memorable for its aftermath. Edge stepped into the main event picture by cashing in his Money in the Bank contract and picking the bones of the victorious John Cena to win his first WWE Championship.
15 Elimination Chamber 2010 (WWE Championship)
Poor Sheamus has gotten a bad rap ever since debuting in 2009. Perhaps it's the rocket that got strapped to his back and his meteoric rise to the WWE Championship. Perhaps it's the fact that backstage, the Celtic Warrior got a little buddy–buddy with the Game. Whatever the reason, Sheamus' reign was cut short here in an uneventful Chamber match that saw four eliminations in less than ten minutes and the big bad Sheamus' stock plummet when he couldn't stand toe–to–toe with Triple H or John Cena before he was handily eliminated by The Game, who himself tapped out to an STF. Despite consistently having decent spots on the card, Sheamus has never been the same.
However, what really makes this one disappointing is the aftermath, as Vince McMahon would strut out to the stage and declare that Cena had to defend his newly won title against Batista immediately.
14 Elimination Chamber 2013
Raise your hand if you thought that Jack Swagger stood a chance against the likes of Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Mark Henry, and Randy Orton …exactly. Swagger was enjoying a new direction for himself, having allied with Zeb Coulter. This chamber match began with five minutes of Jericho and Bryan, which is never a bad thing. Swagger entered third amd the skilled wrestler put on a showcase to begin his run to WrestleMania at MetLife Stadium.
For several years there was no consistency with Swagger’s push but it was here that it seemed he would finally get a real chance. Unfortunately, real life troubles got the patriot in hot water and Swagger has never experienced a run at the top again.
12 Elimination Chamber 2015 (Tag Team)
This was the first Elimination Chamber to feature Tag Teams (with New Day competing as a trio) rather than singles competitors and it was a pretty entertaining match. There were some fodder teams in this match that had no chance of winning, like The Ascension, Los Matadores and The Lucha Dragons, but that didn't take away from the great high spots that they delivered throughout the match. In the end, the three last teams were the only relevant ones (New Day, Cesaro/Kidd, Prime Time Players) and the match ended when all three members of New Day piled onto Titus O'Neil.
11 Elimination Chamber 2014
The road to WrestleMania XXX was an interesting one. Batista had just won the Royal Rumble, while the fans revolted and CM Punk decided to leave. The WWE Universe would have booed anyone not named Daniel Bryan. He’d have to win this one and go onto ‘Mania to defend against the Animal, wouldn’t he?
One good thing this match had going for it was that it’s one of the later Chamber matches where every single person in the match felt like a bonafide contender, even if they were still longshots like Cesaro or Christian. Unfortunately, the schmoz ending ruined the work rate of the match, as the Wyatt Family showed up out of nowhere to destroy Cena and Kane interrupted what should have been the winning fall when Daniel Byran kicked the teeth out of Orton.
10 No Way Out 2009
For opportunists like Edge, losing your title during the brand extension just meant you had another chance to win a different title later. Edge lost his WWE Championship in less than five minutes when he was pinned in the first Chamber match of the night. During the entrances for the second Chamber match, he would decimate Kofi Kingston and take his spot in the match. Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio would start the show here and put on a clinic, which saw Mysterio climb to the top of the structure and deliver a hurricanrana to Jericho and eliminate Kane with a seated senton off the top of the pod. Not surprisingly, Super Cena was the “monster” in this Chamber, eating a 6-1-9 and a Codebreaker before being eliminated. Edge being the surprise entrant meant the Rated R superstar would become the first and only man in history to lose one world title and win another in the same night.
9 Elimination Chamber 2011 (Number One Contender Match)
Randy Orton lost his WWE title to The Miz cashing in the Money in the Bank suitcase several months prior, John Morrison wanted to get at his former tag team partner in the worst way, the Celtic Warrior wanted to cement his place as King, R–Truth had the chance of a lifetime, CM Punk questioned why The Miz was headlining anything, and John Cena is of course John Cena. Sure, everyone knew Cena would (probably) win, but at least this Chamber had plenty of possible winners.
The Prince of Parkour, John Morrison, would show off his skills with a Spiderman-like leaping roundhouse to Sheamus and later on a dive off the top of the Chamber onto Sheamus, taking him out of the Chamber. Punk and Cena would close the match out in a brief preview of their date with destiny at Money in the Bank 2011. Morrison was the MVP of this match and he should have been given more of a chance in the WWE.
8 Elimination Chamber 2012 (WWE Championship)
At this point on the road to WrestleMania XXVIII, it was clear we were going to see a battle between Chris Jericho and CM Punk, who was in the midst of his 434 day title reign. That fact took a little of the stuffing out of this match, since several of the men in it could have been seen as potential main eventers had it not been for the collision course between Jericho and Punk were on.
This match still had its moments, like a Punk/Kofi mid–air double clothesline, Kofi delivering a super–sized tornado DDT to Ziggler off of the chain fence, and Jericho getting kicked right out of the cage. After weeks of telling everyone he needed to again main event WrestleMania, The Miz had a stellar showing in the Chamber, delivering a Skull Crushing Finale to Punk and almost making good on his desire to get to ‘Mania two years in a row.
7 Elimination Chamber 2010 (World Heavyweight Championship)
In case you didn’t know, The Undertaker is one tough guy. The Deadman accidentally got burned during a pyrotechnics mishap during his entrance, which sent The Phenom running to the ring for the first time in his career. Needless to say, ‘Taker spent his time in his pod dousing himself with cold water waiting for his moment to strike. In some of the best commentary Cole has ever done, he sold it as if the Deadman was ready for war. CM Punk was at the height of his Straight Edge Society days and proselytized the benefits of being straight edge as he entered the match and again after dismissing R–Truth before the first period ended. Mysterio wasted no time in dazzling the crowd, nailing Punk with a hurricanrana on the Chamber floor and eliminating him, making this the first Chamber match that the first two men were eliminated before the second pod opened. Just when the Undertaker was about to claim victory and retain his title, Shawn Michaels, still feeling the effects of losing to The Phenom at WrestleMania XXV, broke into the chamber and delivered the Sweet Chin Music heard round the world to set the stage for HBK’s retirement match.
6 No Way Out 2008
The fact that this match starts with HBK and Y2J easily puts this match a notch above the rest. Factor in the skill sets of brawler JBL, psychotic Samoan Umaga, the Cerebral Assassin, and the Charismatic Enigma and you know you’re going to see something memorable. The monster of this match was Umaga, who performed an unprecedented double Samoan drop on both Jericho and Michaels. With Hardy being in the match, he certainly would be the one to deliver an off the pod Swanton Bomb. 2008 was the year of Jeff Hardy, as he would continually stay in the main event picture and eventually win gold. The fans were constantly and solidly behind Hardy the whole way through this match.
However, this night would belong to The Game, who would eliminate his best friend HBK and pedigree Hardy onto a chair to claim his spot against Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXIV.
5 SummerSlam 2003
The Game wanted War Games and, at SummerSlam 2003, the WWE gave him the closest thing. More than half of the competitive field (Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Chris Jericho, and the Cerebral Assassin himself) had spent a stint in WCW. Combine that with some WCW–inspired booking and you have an interesting Chamber event.
Goldberg arrived several months earlier and devoured everyone in his path. In the weeks leading up to the PPV, it had become all but certain that nothing could stop Goldberg from claiming gold in the WWE. He wanted it, the fans wanted it, and the entire crowd in Phoenix chanted his name as he paced back and forth in his pod. True to form, Goldberg entered the chamber like a house of fire. He speared Jericho through the glass, speared Randy Orton and delivered two scintillating Jackhammers to Jericho and HBK respectively. With Nash being eliminated by Jericho earlier in the match, all Goldberg had to do was defeat Triple H. Sadly, Ric Flair passing The Game a sledgehammer proved to be his downfall, as Triple H retained the title. Not only did the crowd have to go home unhappy but Evolution sent them home downright depressed after smashing Goldberg’s head open and handcuffing him to the Chamber.
4 New Year’s Revolution 2005
The first ever PPV held in Puerto Rico is also the first Chamber with a guest referee, as Shawn Michaels was the referee for this World Heavyweight Championship match. Another first was the stipulation that Batista would be the last man out of the Chamber, due to winning a Beat the Clock challenge on Raw. Batista, along with the fans, would look on as his Evolution mentor and partner, Triple H, was decimated by the Liontamer/Crossface combination for a long time before being able to enter the match and save his friend.
Other highlights in the match would include a diving headbutt from Benoit from the top of one of the pods and the referee, HBK, eliminating Edge via superkick. Once Batista came in, it was the Animal’s coming out party, as he tossed Jericho into a cameraman, gave a spinebuster to Benoit onto Jericho and powerbombed on Jericho. The wounds of Orton being excommunicated from Evolution were still in play, as Batista and Triple H would double team the future Legend Killer until an RKO would do big Dave in. However, for the second time in as many Chamber matches, The Game would find a way to win, giving the Viper a pedigree and reclaiming the World Heavyweight Champion for the tenth time.
3 Elimination Chamber 2011 (Elimination Chamber 2011)
Right off the bat, any Chamber with Rey Mysterio gets a few extra points, simply based on what the man can do in these kinds of matches and what others can do to him. Drew McIntyre’s push as “the Chosen One” was in full effect here, as he heaved Wade Barrett into the glass pod, but it wouldn’t be the only time Barrett got tossed, as Big Show launched the future king with one hand into another pod, before eliminating him with the WMD.
Not only did Show need a barrage of moves to be eliminated, he also was the last man out of the pods and annihilated everyone in the match before being nailed with an arsenal of moves from everyone else in the match, including Rey Mysterio’s seated senton from the top of the chamber.
Mysterio and Edge began and ended the match. Once the other four competitors were gone, the champion and the masked man had a terrific 10 minute fight, culminating in a sequence of false finishes and a mid–air spear, making it one of the only times that the champion has successfully defended his title inside the demonic facade.
2 No Way Out 2009
For the first time in Chamber history, the defending champion was taken out before the first period ended as Jeff Hardy eliminated Edge with a quick rollup about three minutes into the match. One the cooler aspects about most of the Chamber matches is that the big men are protected and it usually takes a barrage of moves to defeat them. Big Show went down but only after enduring a superplex from The Undertaker, a pedigree from Triple H and a Swanton from Jeff Hardy.
All of this carnage plus the two WWE stalwarts, Triple H and Undertaker, closing the Chamber out in a preview of their eventual Hell in a Cell contest was an absolute war all on its own. After a poor showing in his first Chamber match in 2008, this was proof positive that when he was better talent to work with, win or lose, there’s none better than The Deadman.
1 Survivor Series 2002
Sure it’s the most obvious choice for the best Elimination Chamber match, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the best. In only the second match back for Shawn Michaels and his first Survivor Series since the Montreal Screwjob, HBK vowed to make sure that his arch–rival at the time, Triple H, did not leave MSG with the gold.
The first chamber match set the parameters of how much insanity and blood you could see in Satan’s Structure. First, RVD broke Triple H’s throat diving off the top of one of the pods with his Five Star Frog Splash. Then, Kane dominated and needed to be nailed by a Superkick, Pedigree, and a Lionsault to be eliminated. The chamber usually has at least one “why is he here” sort of combatant and when that guy is Booker T, you know each guy in this match could have walked out with the gold.
The crowd fell to a hush when HBK was hurled through the “bullet–proof plexiglass,” and came to their feet when the Showstopper’s road to redemption ended victoriously, as he won the World Heavyweight Championship.