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A Look Back At The Greatest WWE Elimination Chamber Matches Ever
With Elimination Chamber 2023 only a few days away, we head down memory lane!
When the Elimination Chamber match concept was first announced in 2002, the WWE Universe was rightfully skeptical. New match types are rare in WWE, and many fans were worried that the Elimination Chamber would be too similar to Hell in a Cell at best — and a knock-off WarGames match at worst.
Thankfully, the Elimination Chamber has proven itself to be one of the premier match types in all of professional wrestling. From featuring six Superstars to the structure itself to the elimination format, it all but guarantees drama and entertainment. (It also helps that the major championships in WWE are usually up for grabs in the Chamber matches as well.) What was originally conceived as a one-off match has evolved into a yearly spectacle that frequently serves as the unofficial roadblock on the Road to WrestleMania.
For over 20 years, it’s been the match that keeps on giving.
Now that we’ve gotten all of the Valentine’s Day-fueled romantic reminiscing out of our system, it’s time to take a look back at the greatest Elimination Chamber matches of all time!
Elimination Chamber Match For World Heavyweight Championship – Survivor Series 2002
We’ll always remember our first ... Elimination Chamber match we ever saw. As we mentioned earlier, nobody quite knew what to expect from this rather unique match type — but our expectations were blown away by the end of this evening.
The match featured six future Hall of Famers — five of whom are currently in the HOF already: Shawn Michaels, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Kane, Triple H (in as part of D-Generation X), and Chris Jericho (all but guaranteed to be in the HOF the second he decides to retire). Talk about the who’s-who of professional wrestling!
The match, in typical early-WWE fashion, featured a brutal physical style that resulted in a lot of blood loss from some of the Superstars — Shawn Michaels especially. But in the end, HBK took home the World Heavyweight Championship by eliminating Triple H and capturing his first title since he returned to the WWE earlier that year! This match still serves as the blueprint for a memorable Elimination Chamber match — and also marks the moment when the WWE Universe collectively realized that Shawn Michaels hadn’t lost a step since a debilitating back injury forced an early retirement in 1998.
Elimination Chamber Match For World Heavyweight Championship – New Year’s Revolution, 2005
Back in the early days of Elimination Chamber, WWE was not shy about filling up these matches with the very top Superstars they could find — and that always guaranteed a thrilling match. Chris Jericho, Triple H, Edge, and Randy Orton were just a few of the wrestlers that valiantly fought over the World Heavyweight Championship this particular night. Oh, and Shawn Michaels was the special guest referee, so the drama was guaranteed to be off the charts.
Back in the mid-2000s, Triple H cemented his role as the ultimate gatekeeper in all of wrestling: not only did he seem unbeatable, but he used every dirty trick in the book to get the job done. Beating Triple H for a championship was near-impossible — and this match was no exception. Thanks to some timely help from Evolution, Triple H walked out of the arena that night the champion while leaving a path of destruction in his wake.
We’re gutted that the official WWE YouTube channel doesn’t have clips from this match available to view because this is another must-watch match for any wrestling fan. (Luckily, you can check out this match — and basically every other match in WWE history — over on Peacock.)
Elimination Chamber Match For WWE Championship – No Way Out, 2009
Hailed by many fans as Edge’s coming out party, this Elimination Chamber match is notable for what happened before the matchup even started. Listen to this: Edge, who failed in his attempt to capture the World Heavyweight title earlier in the night in the evening’s first Chamber match, set his sights on entering this, the second Chamber match — so he brutally assaulted Kofi Kingston and just ... kinda took his place in the match.
It was an iconic “Ultimate Opportunist” moment for Edge, and the memory was made even sweeter when he walked out of Elimination Chamber as the WWE Champion!
Maybe it was because the other Superstars in the match — wrestlers such as Chris Jericho, John Cena, and Rey Mysterio — hadn’t planned for Edge to be involved, but Edge went on a tear during this bout, defeating all comers and cementing his spot as one of the most villainous Superstars in history.
Not many wrestlers can boast they won a championship by forcibly inserting themselves into a match, but that’s exactly what happened back in 2009.
Elimination Chamber Match For WWE Championship – Elimination Chamber 2017
The 2017 edition of Elimination Chamber can be summed up in two simple words: star power. Just take a look at the impressive list of Superstars who fought over the WWE Championship this night: John Cena, AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, The Miz, and ... well, Baron Corbin. (Alright, so 5 out of 6 ain’t bad.)
What was even more remarkable than the star power in the match was the match itself; it’s widely regarded by wrestling historians to be the greatest Elimination Chamber match of all time. And for good reason: There were multiple red-hot storylines that evolved over the course of the matchup. Not only did Cena and Styles continue their rivalry as the first two entrants in the match, but Bray Wyatt used this match to finally capture WWE Championship gold for the first time in his career.
It was a rare championship match where the WWE Universe could conceivably imagine any of the Superstars walking away with the title — well, except for Corbin.
This match had it all. Breathtaking drama after Cena — the incumbent champion — was eliminated midway through the match? Check. A wrestler finally reaching the top of the mountain? Check. Unbelievable athleticism taking advantage of the Chamber’s unique features and setup? Check.
It was a night to remember. The actual event could have been a one-match show and every member of the WWE Universe would’ve left the arena happy.
Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship – Elimination Chamber 2019
We have a soft spot for this match — not just for the action inside the cage itself, but for the historical significance.
This matchup, combined with the SmackDown gauntlet match that took place just a few days earlier, officially propelled Kofi Kingston into the stratosphere of all-time fan support, ultimately launching him into the 2017 WrestleMania main event. Although Kingston didn’t emerge victorious at Elimination Chamber, his performance was utterly star-making. Kingston had his working boots on, and it paid off — history was made a short time later when he captured the WWE Championship from Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania.
Historical KofiMania significance aside, this particular Elimination Chamber match was a perfect archetype for a great bout. It was chaotic, impactful, and the crowd in the arena was on the edge of their seats the entire time. Daniel Bryan walked away the winner this night, but even he had to have sensed that Kofi Kingston was hot on his trail.
We’re hoping that when WWE Elimination Chamber 2023 happens this weekend, it will add another all-time classic to the list — and even if that doesn’t turn out to be the case, the WWE Universe undoubtedly will enjoy this unique match type at the final pit stop on the Road to WrestleMania!
Watch WWE's Elimination Chamber LIVE on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. ET, streaming only on Peacock