After two years, WWE is bringing back the Elimination Chamber this Sunday in a SmackDown-exclusive network event. In the main event, John Cena will defend his WWE Championship against Baron Corbin, The Miz, Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, and the odds-on favorite, Bray Wyatt.
It will be the 20th match to utilize the devilish construction and the sixth that will decide the WWE Champion. What's interesting this time is that we have four competitors who have never faced off in the Chamber before. Styles, Ambrose, Wyatt, and Corbin have yet to set foot inside of it, but that all changes tomorrow night.
Looking back at the legacy of the Elimination Chamber matches, it's delivered some of the most brutal moments in WWE history as well as the most innovative displays of athleticism.
So before tomorrow's pay-per-view, let's take a look at the top 5 Elimination Chamber matches and what made them so great.
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Elimination Chamber 2011
Another perfect mix of old and new, the 12th Elimination Chamber match had the best of both worlds.
World Heavyweight Champion Edge would defend his title against Rey Mysterio, the newly-crowned King Barrett, Kane, Big Show, and Drew McIntyre.
Edge was sort of the middle ground of veteran but had finally reached his prime as a multiple-time World Champion. Barrett and McIntyre (who was dubbed as the Chosen One) represented the new blood that was starting to rise in the company with Kane and Big Show who are legends in their own right.
This was a huge roadblock for Edge on his own personal road to WrestleMania. He had faced the likes of Mysterio, Show, and Kane before, but throwing Barrett and McIntyre into the mix was something the Ultimate Opportunist hadn't figured out just yet.
The reason a lot of fans come back to this match is for a few reasons with the top choice being Rey Mysterio delivering one of his greatest performances. It's hard to ignore how great Mysterio could really be in this sort of environment, but he excels throughout the match.
The other reason being of the sheer brutality of McIntyre.
At one point in the match, tosses Mysterio like a frisbee into a pod. He follows that up by hurling Barrett through the glass. While his WWE might not have taken off, it's a moment to remember for sure.
Edge retains his championship, but it would be bittersweet as this was the last time he would go through the Chamber doors and would retire a couple of months later.
New Year's Revolution 2006
There was a lot of hype going into this match with John Cena being unstoppable since winning his first WWE Championship at WrestleMania the previous year. He went up against up and comers Chris Masters, Carlito, as well as established veterans Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels, and Kane.
Cena and Michaels started the match, with HBK showing blatant disrespect for the champion starting off with a heavy slap to the face. Carlito joined soon after and displayed some great momentum going after Michaels, then Cena. Then came in Angle and like the suplex machine he is, delivered a round of multiple German suplexes to every man standing. The crowd went ballistic.
Up next was the "Masterpiece" Chris Masters who went out swinging with a barrage of clotheslines. It seemed for a moment Angle had Cena trapped in the Angle Lock, but Michaels hit Sweet Chin Music on the Olympic Hero, giving the match its first elimination.
Kane was last up but was soon also eliminated by a team up of Carlito and Masters.
The pacing was so strong and you had the newer generation looking great against the older class, it really was a nailbiter til the end. When Cena had his hand raised, the Albany crowd started to grow even more frustrated with how the Franchise Player was being booked, but of course, we all know that Cena didn't walk out of the event as WWE Champion, but what a match.
No Way Out 2008
There was a lot at stake here as the winner would receive a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania XXIV. You had an array of different styles here with Triple H, JBL, and Umaga, against the risk-taking ways of Shawn Michaels, Jeff Hardy, and Chris Jericho.
Jericho and HBK started the match with an awesome showcase of technical wrestling chains and when these two get together, you know it's always magic. Soon they were joined by Umaga and JBL who dished out furious pummeling to their opponents. Each performer let it show why they deserved the chance to headline WrestleMania, but once Triple H was released into the ring at number 5, all hell broke loose.
The Game brought out some of old school moves and laid out any and all opposition. Hardy was the last man to enter and let out every high-risk move in his repertoire. Each competitor had a highlighting moment, but at the end it was Triple H and Hardy as the last men standing.
And Hardy wouldn't go down without a fight.
After taking two consecutive Pedigrees, Triple H finally was able to secure the pinfall on Hardy. Mind you, one of those Pedigrees was on a steel chair. Even though Hardy lost, it was the right amount of rub needed and he would see championship gold by the end of the year.
What easily could be called the most star-studded Elimination Chamber match of all time, Triple H defended his World Heavyweight Championship against Goldberg, Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, and a 23-year-old Randy Orton.
Orton aside, this was the kind of match-up you would dream about during the heyday of the Monday Night Wars. To make things even more insane, this was just the second one! This match channeled so much about what made the WWE/WCW rivalry so great. You had Triple H as the company's greatest heel going up against three of his greatest enemies, with his protege, and Goldberg who was just signed to WWE five months prior.
It truly was a display of dominance for the former Atlanta Falcon as Goldberg eliminated Orton, Michaels, and Jericho. Nash had been eliminated by Michaels earlier in the match, so it was just Goldberg against Triple H. The tension and excitement were beyond palpable.
What seemed like Goldberg's big night took a huge turn as Triple H was handed a sledgehammer from Ric Flair from outside and the champion was able to level his opponent, getting the pinfall and retaining his title one more time.
Survivor Series 2002
Sometimes it's hard to beat the classics.
The first Elimination Chamber match took place at Madison Square Garden where Triple He would defend his World Heavyweight Championship against Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Chris Jericho, and the returning Shawn Michaels. After being away for four years, the Showstopper returned to reclaim one more World Championship on his already impressive resume.
The WWE would never be the same again.
There was a lot of ideas and planning that went into this. With the first Hell in a Cell, it was savage, but it's improved since then. How WWE booked the pacing of matches go exponentially better inside that structure, but how they manage to pull off a stellar execution right out of the door is crazy impressive.
Plus, every guy hit had their own spot. RVD hit a frog splash from on top of a pod, and Michaels was able to hit an elbow. They clung to the chain, they used the pods as weapons. It was like a majestic car crash you couldn't look away from. It's weird to think that this could just have been a watered down Cell type of match, but this truly was innovative.
Yeah, everybody knew going into it, the gold was going to belong to Michaels, but how they set up more of his rivalry with Triple H was something beautiful as well.