In 2002, the Elimination Chamber made its debut at Survivor Series. The match was intended to be part Royal Rumble, part Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match, and part War Games. The concept was simple, put six SuperStars in a steel wired cage structure with a dome, with four pods behind each ring post, and connected by a steel grate that would be at the same level as the ring. The match would start with two wrestlers going at it for about five minutes before the first wrestler would be released from the pod and would join the match. Then a new wrestler would be released every five minutes. A wrestler could be eliminated by pin-fall or submission at any time, and the lone survivor would win the match.
This year marks the 17th edition of the match, spanning 12 different PPVs since the first one at Survivor Series 2002 (11/17). Followed by SummerSlam 2003 (8/24), and after over a year gap, the gimmick would return for a two-year stretch on New Year’s Revolution (1/9/2005, 1/8/2006). Then, later in that 2006 year, the ECW Brand PPV December to Dismember (12/3/2006) would feature the only variation of the gimmick: Extreme Elimination Chamber. Following another year-long gap, the gimmick would be brought back in 2008 where it would start a now seven-year tradition of being on the February PPV. It first appeared on No Way Out from 2008-2009. Then, since 2010, the PPV was renamed for the gimmick: Elimination Chamber. The 2008 through 2012 shows featured two separate Chamber matches. In 2013, and in this coming year’s PPV, there was only one Chamber match scheduled.
Also, every single match has had title match implications on the line as a stipulation. The following bouts were to determine the champion:
World Heavyweight Title:
2002 Triple H Champion, Shawn Michaels wins
2003 Triple H Champion, retains
2005 Title held up, Triple H (was the last title holder) wins
2009 John Cena Champion, Edge wins
2010 Undertaker Champion, Chris Jericho wins
2011 Edge Champion, retains
2012 Daniel Bryan Champion, retains
WWE Heavyweight Title
2006 John Cena Champion, retains
2009 Edge Champion, Triple H wins
2010 Sheamus Champion, John Cena wins
2012 CM Punk Champion, retains
ECW Heavyweight Title
2006 Big Show Champion, Bobby Lashley wins
WWE World Heavyweight Title
2014 Randy Orton Champion, TBD
These bouts were to determine the number one contender, with a guaranteed match at WrestleMania on the line:
World Heavyweight: 2008 Undertaker, 2013 Jack Swagger
WWE Heavyweight: 2008 Triple H, 2011 John Cena
Of the title matches, only five times did the champion heading into the match retain the title. One match was for a held up title. And oddly enough, of the four winners of Chamber matches with WrestleMania title shots on the line, only The Undertaker in 2008 would go on to win his WrestleMania title match.
Statistics: Wins, Appearances and Eliminations
Chamber wins have been split up among ten men, including two in this year’s match. Right now Cena is in second place with three Chamber wins, behind Triple H’s four. Daniel Bryan would join those two and Edge as the only multiple time winners.
In terms of appearances, Randy Orton will break his tie with Kane and enter a tie with Triple H with his sixth appearance in the Chamber. This trails only Chris Jericho’s eight times in the match. Kane won’t have fourth all by himself for long as this will mark John Cena’s fifth Chamber match, which will push him out of the tie he is in with Edge, Shawn Michaels, CM Punk and The Big Show. Both Daniel Bryan and Sheamus will be making their third appearance in a Chamber match. Among the rest of the 22 SuperStars to make multiple appearances are; Undertaker (3), Rey Mysterio (3), R-Truth (3), Rob Van Dam (2), Batista (2), Great Khali (2), Jeff Hardy (2), Kofi Kingston (2), John Morrison (2) and Wade Barrett (2). Antonio Cesaro and Christian will become the 48th and 49th different wrestlers to compete in an Elimination Chamber match. It should be noted that the gimmick has yet to see someone enter the match as a different gimmick name than a previous time (i.e. had Dolph Ziggler entered the Chamber as Nicky from The Spirit Squad).
While not quite as impressive as Roman Reigns’ record 12 eliminations in a single Royal Rumble, the elimination of three of your fellow Chamber opponents is nothing to sneeze at. So far only four men have done it (bold = won the match):
2003 Goldberg (Orton, Michaels, Jericho)
2006 Carlito (Kane (shared with Chris Masters), Michaels, Masters)
2008 Undertaker (Khali, Finlay, Batista)
2012 CM Punk (R-Truth, Jericho (a TKO from Jericho falling out of the Chamber), Miz)
18 men have eliminated two fellow competitors;
2002 Shawn Michaels (Jericho, Triple H)
2002 Chris Jericho (Booker T, Kane)
2005 Bastista (Benoit, Jericho)
2006 Bobby Lashley (Test, Big Show)
2006 Test (Holly, Rob Van Dam)
2008 Triple H (Michaels, Hardy)
2008 Chris Jericho (JBL, Umaga)
2009 Undertaker (Kozlov, Hardy)
2009 Triple H (Big Show, Undertaker)
2009 Rey Mysterio (Kane, Jericho)
2009 Edge (Cena, Mysterio)
2011 Kane (Big Show, McIntyre)
2011 Edge (Kane, Mysterio)
2011 CM Punk (Orton, Morrison)
2012 Chris Jericho (Ziggler, Kingston)
2012 Santino Marella (Rhodes, Barrett)
2013 Mark Henry (Bryan, Kane)
2013 Randy Orton (Henry, Jericho)
Among the all-time elimination leaders, Chris Jericho holds a commanding lead with 10 over Triple H’s seven, which is followed by CM Punk, and Undertaker with six, and Edge with four. Of the competitors in this year’s Chamber, Randy Orton and John Cena are among an eight-way tie with three total eliminations, Sheamus has recorded two, and Daniel Bryan only has one.
While two Chamber match winners have won while eliminating three other men, eight times has the winner only eliminated one fellow participant, which counts for half of Triple H’s victories, and all of John Cena’s:
2003 Triple H
2005 Triple H
2006 John Cena
2010 John Cena
2010 Chris Jericho
2011 John Cena
2012 Daniel Bryan
2013 Jack Swagger
Looking at the list of competitors eliminated first, it shows that R-Truth is one unlucky fellow. Three times he has been in the match, and all three he has been the first eliminated, and three years in a row, 2010-2012! Edge is the only other wrestler who has been the first eliminated in the match on multiple occasions. His elimination in 2005 was done as the ring was filling up and was part of an evolving storyline with Shawn Michaels. His very early departure in 2009 would set up the rest of his night.
On the other side of the coin, four men have been the final man to get eliminated on more than one occassion; Triple H (2002, 2010), Undertaker (2009, 2010), Rey Mysterio (2009, 2011), and Randy Orton (2005, 2013).
Both R-Truth (2010) and Edge (2009) have the distinction of being among four match starters whom were first to get eliminated, though Rob Van Dam in 2002 and Daniel Bryan in 2013 were done as the ring was starting to fill up.
The other side of that coin is the six times that the two match starters have held on to either win the match outright (four times), or be the final man eliminated:
2002 Triple H last man eliminated
2006 John Cena wins match
2008 Undertaker wins match, Batista last man eliminated
2009 Rey Mysterio last man eliminated
2011 Edge wins match, Rey Mysterio last man eliminated
2012 CM Punk wins match
Conversely, the last two slots have been more effective in terms of pulling the eventual winner, or the last man to get eliminated, with three winners coming from the final entrant and four winners coming from the fifth entrant.
2002 Shawn Michaels last man in wins match
2003 Goldberg last man eliminated, Triple H 5th last man in wins match
2005 Orton 5th, last man eliminated
2006 Big Show last man in, last man eliminated, Lashley 5th wins match
2008 Triple H 5th, wins match, Jeff Hardy last man in, last man eliminated
2009 Triple H 5th, wins match, Undertaker last man in, last man eliminated
2009 Edge 5th, wins match
2010 Cena last man in, wins match
2010 Undertaker last man in, last man eliminated
2011 CM Punk last man in, last man eliminated
2012 Miz 5th, last man eliminated
2012 Bryan last man in, wins match
2013 Orton 5th, last man eliminated
For the sake of completion, being the first and second competitor to be released from the pod has resulted in two winners each.
2005 Triple H 3rd
2013 Jack Swagger 3rd
2010 Chris Jericho 4th
2011 John Cena 4th
Interestingly, in half of the previous Chamber matches, and probably to the benefit of the match quality, the ring filled up with five or six competitors before the first elimination occurred.
2010 Kingston, Sheamus, Triple H, Orton, DiBiase, Cena
2011 Edge, Mysterio, Barrett, Kane, McIntyre, Big Show
2013 Jericho, Bryan, Swagger, Kane, Orton, Henry
2005 Jericho, Benoit, Triple H, Edge, Orton
2006 Cena, Michaels, Carlito, Angle. Masters
2008 Michaels, Jericho, Umaga, Layfield, Triple H
2011 Sheamus, Morrison, Orton, Cena, R-Truth
2012 Barrett, Big Show, Rhodes, Santino, Khali
In fact, it has been quite rare to have those moments where a wrestler has been alone in the ring, waiting for the next competitor to be released. Though it was used to good affect with a CM Punk SES promo in 2010 after Punk made quick work of R-Truth.
Match Length and Card Placement
To date, the longest Chamber match is still the first from the 2002 Survivor Series at Madison Square Garden. It lasted 39:20 and, therefore, made Triple H the Chamber’s all-time “Iron Man” as he lasted the whole match. The next longest was 2009’s WWE Heavyweight title match which clocked in at 35:44. The shortest would be 2003’s at SummerSlam, clocking in at 19:15. The next shortest would be 2008’s WWE Heavyweight Number One Contender match which comes in at 23:54. While not exactly as bad as the booby prize for least amount of time in the Royal Rumble, Edge getting eliminated in 2:59 in 2009’s WWE title match (losing the title, but he’d finagle his way into, and won the World Title Chamber match later that night), and R-Truth’s 3:54 in 2010 remain the quickest anyone has been eliminated from the start of the match.
It should be safe to assume that the Chamber will be the main event this Sunday night, which would mean that it would be the first time it has been the main event since John Cena walked out as the WWE Title Number One Contender in 2011. John Cena versus Kane, and The Rock defending the WWE Heavyweight Championship against CM Punk were the main events in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Since going to the two matches on the same card format in 2008, usually the Chamber match was placed both early, and late on the card.
No Way Out 2008 (also the first time names were used in the over the pod TV shot as the next competitor is about to be released) would see the World Championship Number One Contender match as the second match on the PPV (there was one pre-game match), and the WWE Heavyweight Number One Contender match was the main event and seventh match of the PPV.
No Way Out 2009’s WWE Heavyweight Title match went on first on the PPV (following a pre-show match), with the World Heavyweight Title match being the main event and fifth match on the show.
2010 would see the gimmick get attached to the name of the show, and the gimmick was the curtain jerker of the card (there was no pre-game match) with the WWE Title match, and was the main event (and sixth match on the night).
Elimination Chamber 2011 would also see a lack of a pre-game match, but the first Chamber match, for the World Heavyweight Title, was the third match on the card. The WWE Title match was the main event and sixth match on the card.
The 2012 Elimination Chamber would be the last of the shows with multiple Chamber matches, and it would also see the return of the pre-show matches. The WWE Title match was the first up, and second on the PPV (second on the card). The World Heavyweight match was third on the PPV (there were five matches on the PPV proper that night).
Last year’s show would see the only Chamber match as the third match on the PPV (fourth on the overall card), which was mid-way through an eight (counting the pre-game) match card.
Some Final Trivial Notes on Shenanigans, Spots, and Miscellaneous
Per usual when it comes to matches designed to keep action inside the structure, shenanigans have happened with outside interference and whatnot. In the second Chamber ever, Ric Flair tossed Triple H’s trusty sledgehammer to help him finish off Goldberg. Flair would also be an equalizer of sorts by jumping into the ring in the 2005 match following Batista’s elimination. He and Batista would proceed to soften Randy Orton up so that Triple H could get the win. Two other times a second would pop in to help toss in a weapon: Hornswoogle would give Finlay a shillelagh during Finaly’s match in 2008, and Cody Rhodes tried to give Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase, Jr. a lead pipe in the 2010 match featuring the two Legacy members. Also in 2010, Shawn Michaels was hiding out under the steel grates and popped out to deliver Sweet Chin Music to The Undertaker, causing ‘Taker to lose the match and setting up Michaels’ final match at WrestleMania.
The “sore loser” spot has occurred several times from eliminated wrestlers who decided to get some licks in on everyone left in the match before calling it a night. Kevin Nash would be the first to do it in 2003. John Bradshaw Layfield would do it on his way out in 2008. Cody Rhodes got pissed off and went after Santino Marella after Marella had eliminated him in 2012. Also in 2012, Chris Jericho continued to go after Kofi Kingston after having eliminated Kingston, only to get knocked out of the match after a well-timed CM Punk kick. Mark Henry inducted the remaining three men in the 2013 match into the “Hall of Pain” following his elimination.
Spots that you’d expect have been around since day one; someone getting tossed through a pod, a spot involving someone jumping (or in the case of MVP in 2008, thrown) off the Lexan pod, and, of course, numerous steel grate and chain link related spots. The only “top of the dome” type of spot done to date was John Morrison’s Starship Pain on Sheamus in 2011. Also, The Big Show in 2012 is the only competitor to literally drag an opponent out of his pod before the pod was released as he went after Daniel Bryan while Bryan was in the pod.
To date, the only outside the ring activity (well, to be fair Bobby Lashley was re-locked in his pod from Paul Heyman’s security goons, as well as Edge’s assault on Kofi Kingston just before Kingston entered the Chamber) was Chris Jericho getting knocked out of the pod as the door was opened by a swift CM Punk kick, tumbling down the stairs and onto a camera man and some equipment. Jericho was officially “TKO’ed” from the match.
Other interesting tidbits include the fact that both matches in 2011 were “Falls Count Anywhere” matches. Follow up research wasn’t done, but it would be safe to presume that the falls have to occur in the ring stip, returning in 2012, was due to insuring referee’s hand safety when slapping a three count on the grate. After all, 2011 would see the first hint of blood in the match since 2008 (and it has been the last since, despite blade jobs happening frequently in the previous seven matches) when CM Punk had some deep scrapes on his thigh from the steel grating.
Post Chamber antics have been used to interesting effects through the years as well; the first such was a post-match beatdown on Goldberg by Evolution in 2003. 2006 had probably the most famous post-Chamber match activity as, after a bloody and battered John Cena was victorious at retaining his title, Edge would cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Cena and then proceed to win an impromptu match to end the show. Oddly, post-match stuff would not happen again until the next time Cena walked out of the Chamber as the champion in 2010. This time, after being given a title shot by Vince McMahon for saving The Chairman from a Bret Hart attack, Batista challenged a groggy and battered Cena to an impromptu match. It was more of a squash than the Edge match was, but Batista picked up the win and the title. Most recently, the post-match antics spot has been used in relation to setting up WrestleMania matches; 2011’s Royal Rumble winner Alberto Del Rio attacking Edge after Edge had retained his World Heavyweight title then getting attacked by a returning Christian, and finally 2012’s Royal Rumble winner Sheamus attacking Daniel Bryan following Bryan’s defense of the World Heavyweight title.
Despite the gimmick taking cues from Survivor Series, War Games, and The Royal Rumble where factions and teams have played a key role in match storytelling through the years, there haven’t been too many factions or teams that have appeared in the match (which is different from an alliance being forced, like in 2006 between Carlito and Chris Masters), and it has been even rarer that dissention has been woven into the story of the match. The first two instances are Evolution’s involvement in 2003 and 2005. Triple H and Randy Orton were in the 2003 match, but Orton had gotten eliminated before Triple H’s entrance. In 2005 the seeds of Batista’s turn continued to grow as despite working together, Triple H allowed Batista’s elimination. D-X’s Triple H and Shawn Michaels were in the same 2008 Chamber match, but despite Michaels getting eliminated by Triple H the “every man for himself” logic was applied and nothing was really made of it. A full-scale implosion angle was done in 2010 though, involving Legacy with Ted DiBiase, Jr. taking an opportunity to turn on the Legacy leader Randy Orton and pin him. This would lead to the group disbanding and having a match against each other (Cody Rhodes was the other member of Legacy) at WrestleMania. Finally, the tag team Team Hell No competed in the 2013 Chamber match and did a little business as Daniel Bryan and Kane had the “always on the verge of imploding, but never quite getting there” dynamic going throughout their team’s history.
Speaking of Team Hell No, they were the reigning tag champions in 2013. Besides the three heavyweight titles, only 2008’s US Champion Montel Vontavious Porter, 2008’s Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy and 2012’s Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes have been title holders involved in the match (obviously their titles weren’t on the line).
Finally, a little something regarding the rarely used gimmick, the “Last Pod” Selection, and situations where a wrestler had to be replaced. In 2005 and 2006 Batista and Kane respectively won “Beat The Clock” challenges on Raw to earn getting into the match last. This would not be used again until 2012 with Chris Jericho earning the slot and it hasn’t been used since.