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The Biggest Surprises in WWE Elimination Chamber History

For over 20 years, Elimination Chamber has been home to some of the most shocking moments in WWE history! These are just a few to prepare for 2024.

By Chris Phelan
The Undertaker

On February 24, many of your favorite WWE Superstars will make one of their final pit stops on the Road to WrestleMania. While a few matches are already set in stone for WrestleMania 40, the results of the action in Perth, Australia, at Elimination Chamber 2024 over the weekend will shape the card even further.

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The event promises to be much more than a stepping stone to the Grandest Stage of Them All. The annual event has been known to host quite a few shocking moments that made their mark on WWE's history, and we've decided to shine a spotlight on some of the most surprising moments the WWE Universe has ever seen over the years.

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Here are the biggest surprises in WWE Elimination Chamber history!

Elimination Chamber 2015 – Kevin Owen Shocks the World

Long before he became a household name, Kevin Owens was a relative unknown back in 2015. After parlaying a successful run on the independent scene for years, he joined NXT and quickly made an impact, dismantling his on-again, off-again best friend Sami Zayn en route to becoming a dominant NXT Champion. During the spring of 2015, Kevin Owens answered an open challenge by the United States Champion John Cena during a particularly memorable episode of Monday Night Raw, and a match at the upcoming Elimination Chamber was made official – albeit with none of the competitors' respective titles on the line.

The WWE Universe was sure that the cocky NXT Champion would be the latest man to get swallowed up by the larger-than-life Cena, who was arguably at the peak of his illustrious career. The match at Elimination Chamber was supposed to be a foregone conclusion.

But nobody told that to Kevin Owens.

In one of the most shocking main roster debut matches in WWE history, Kevin Owens defeated John Cena cleanly after a pop-up powerbomb, permanently giving KO the credibility of being capable of doing anything in the ring. Although Cena would defeat Owens at later events to avenge his loss, Owens' initial win at Elimination Chamber still makes our jaws drop. Back then, Cena was unbeatable – but not on that night. 

Elimination Chamber 2017 – Bray Wyatt Finally Wins the Big One

Whether a brooding fan favorite or a villainous horror monster that was despised by fans worldwide, the man known as Windam Rotunda – the person behind the Bray Wyatt persona – was always incredibly well-liked and respected by the WWE Universe. While the Bray Wyatt character had its ups and downs, fans constantly feared that Wyatt would never reach the pinnacle of the wrestling industry – they feared the WWE Championship would forever be out of reach.

However, at Elimination Chamber 2017, Bray Wyatt – and his fans – got their wish. 

That night's Elimination Chamber match featured Wyatt, John Cena, AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Baron Corbin, and The Miz competing for the title, and it was Wyatt who vanquished his adversaries and rightfully claimed his place in WWE history. For many in the WWE Universe, Bray Wyatt's WWE Championship win in 2017 represented the highlight of his in-ring career, and it was a moment that nobody saw coming. 

Elimination Chamber 2021 – The Miz Cashes In

It was shocking when The Miz did it in 2010 on Raw, and it was just as surprising as he did it in 2021 at Elimination Chamber – Miz successfully cashing in a Money in the Bank contract always shakes us to our cores!

After successfully defending the WWE Championship against Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre's evening was supposed to be over – of course, The Miz had other plans. One Skull-Crushing Finale later, Miz regained the title he had lost over a decade earlier. It was a moment we never thought we'd see again – The Miz triumphantly holding the WWE title over his head, but in retrospect, we're happy that he made the impossible happen on more than one occasion. 

If that's not "finishing the story," we don't know what is.

Elimination Chamber 2012 – Santino Marella Nearly Does the Impossible

Everybody loves an underdog story, and at Elimination Chamber 2012, Santino Marella nearly pulled off the improbable feat of capturing the World Heavyweight Championship. Yes, that Santino Marella.

By the end of a particularly grueling bout, Marella found himself opposite Daniel Bryan. Although he didn't get the win, he gave the WWE Universe a collective heart attack at multiple points during the match's final minutes. For one night, Santino Marella made even the most jaded WWE fan believe that anything could happen – even someone like him winning one of the most sought-after titles in professional wrestling.

It was the closest Santino Marella would ever get to winning a world championship, but his oh-so-close opportunity stands as one of the most memorable and surprising moments in Elimination Chamber history. 

Elimination Chamber 2020 – The Undertaker Returns to WWE

Back in 2020, retirement rumors were swirling around The Undertaker. After making a few appearances now and again, it really seemed like The Dead Man was unofficially retired from action. Well, at Elimination Chamber 2020, The Undertaker laid those rumors to rest when he made his shocking return to WWE and targeted one man in his crosshairs: AJ Styles!

This surprising turn of events blindsided the WWE Universe, but AJ Styles looked like he had seen a ghost. Of course, everything would culminate at WrestleMania during the legendary Boneyard Match between Styles and Undertaker, a match that, in retrospect, marked the final chapter of The Undertaker's legendary in-ring career.

It's not every day that The Undertaker appears out of thin air, but when it happens, you don't forget it anytime soon!

Here's to hoping Elimination Chamber 2024 has just as many surprising and shocking moments to go along with unforgettable classic matches.  

You can tune in to Peacock to watch WWE's Elimination Chamber on February 24 and WrestleMania on April 6 and 7. In the meantime, catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock.