What would you get if you combined a Royal Rumble match with a Hell in a Cell match? If WWE’s history is any indication, you’d end up with an absolute gold mine known as the Elimination Chamber.
Pitting six superstars (or six teams of two) against each other inside of a massive steel structure, the Elimination Chamber has served as the home for some of WWE’s greatest matches over the course of almost two decades.
The match has taken place more than 25 times at a variety of events, debuting at Survivor Series and happening again less than a year later at SummerSlam before shifting to New Year’s Resolution and No Way Out.
Then, in 2010, WWE turned the match into its own event, with Elimination Chamber evolving into a pivotal stop on the Road to WrestleMania.
With such a long lineage of Elimination Chamber battles and winners in an 18-plus-year reign of terror, it can be tough to pick out a group of matches that stand out among the rest.
But, no matter how tough of a challenge it may be, it’s time to pinpoint the six best Elimination Chamber matches in WWE history:
6. WWE Championship Number One Contender’s Match – No Way Out 2008
In the lone match on this list to not actually be for a title, a litany of Raw superstars collided at No Way Out 2008, all looking to earn a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania 24.
The match featured a unique variety of styles, with Triple H, Jeff Hardy, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Umaga and JBL all vying for a golden opportunity on the Road to WrestleMania (back when Elimination Chamber served as the only roadblock on that path between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania itself).
The match allowed “newcomers” like Hardy and Umaga to shine in the ring with established veterans like Triple H, Michaels, and Jericho, and still made the latter three look strong in the process.
The final pairing of Triple H and Hardy set the tone for what would be an incredible year for Hardy, which would ironically end with him beating Triple H and Edge for the WWE Championship at Armageddon.
In the meantime, however, Triple H came out on top in a stellar match, and kicks this list off on a high note.
5. WWE Championship Match – Elimination Chamber 2019
That’s all that needs to be said when describing the WWE Championship Match at Elimination Chamber 2019, which served as the launch date for a movement that would lead to Kofi Kingston winning the WWE title at WrestleMania 35.
While many will focus on the end result of Kingston’s journey, you have to appreciate the beginning of that story, as he replaced Mustafa Ali in what turned out to be one of the best Elimination Chamber matches of all time.
Kingston and then-WWE Champion Daniel Bryan put on a clinic as it relates to crowd control at the end of the match, with many believing that Kingston would win his first world title on that February night in Houston, Texas.
Cooler heads prevailed as Bryan retained his title, but true magic was created that night as Kingston had his star-making moment. Even though Kingston lost, it likely turned out to be the biggest night of his life, and subsequently made it one of the most important Elimination Chamber matches in the spectacle’s history.
4. World Heavyweight Championship Match – No Way Out 2009
For the first time ever, a champion walked in to an event with one world title, and left the event with the other one instead.
It sounds crazy, but it’s exactly what happened when then-WWE Champion Edge began the night at No Way Out in 2009 by defending his title against Triple H, The Undertaker, Jeff Hardy, Big Show and Vladimir Kozlov.
Edge was eliminated quickly via roll-up by Jeff Hardy, confirming that there would be a new WWE Champion that night, and the crowd went into a frenzy.
Later on, when John Cena was set to defend his World Heavyweight Championship inside the Elimination Chamber, Edge attacked Kofi Kingston before the match got started and locked himself into one of the Chamber’s pods, inserting himself into the match in the process.
Chaos ensued, as Edge would eliminate Cena shortly after the champion entered the ring, where he was met with finishing moves from Edge, Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio.
Then, for the first of what would be two occasions as the final two men together inside the Elimination Chamber, Edge and Mysterio battled it out for the right to represent Raw as the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 25.
Topping off one of the Chamber’s greatest showings, Edge speared Mysterio to win the World Heavyweight Championship, and solidified his spot in one of WrestleMania 25’s main events, as well.
It was the perfect end to a rollercoaster of a card, and capped off a night full of twist and turns in the best way possible. It was what wrestling should be all about, and honestly could make a serious case for a higher spot on this list if the top three matches weren’t as solid as they were.
3. WWE Championship Match – Elimination Chamber 2017
Similar to the last match on this countdown from No Way Out 2009, this WWE Championship match was highlighted by an early exit from John Cena that confirmed that there would be a new champion. But, it also served as a career-defining moment for the one and only Bray Wyatt.
In the midst of SmackDown’s heyday in 2017, Cena defended a title he had just won a few weeks prior in an Elimination Chamber match against Wyatt, AJ Styles, The Miz, Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin.
Wyatt and Styles turned into true superstars in the match, with the former eliminating Cena after the latter had made it through a phenomenal back-and-forth exchange with the champion.
Fans were treated to a unique final two as Wyatt and Styles competed for the WWE Championship, and Wyatt won his first world title when the dust finally cleared on the night’s main event.
The two would do battle in a Triple Threat match with Cena for the title a week later, with Wyatt coming out victorious once more. A few weeks later, two star-studded feuds were born ahead of WrestleMania 33, with Wyatt scheduled to take on Orton for the WWE title, and Styles booked to wrestle Shane McMahon in the show’s opening match.
But, as good as that Styles-McMahon match was, and as memorable (and weird) as the Wyatt-Orton match turned out to be, most fans pinpoint the Elimination Chamber match from a few months prior when reminiscing about the first quarter of 2017.
2. World Heavyweight Championship Match – New Year’s Revolution 2005
This match seems to be underrated and frequently forgotten when looking back on the Chamber’s history, likely because of the fact that it featured Chris Benoit. But, considering the sheer amount of talent and incredible storytelling that was involved, it feels like a worthy candidate for a top-two spot on this list.
Hindsight helps a lot when looking back on this one, as a match that includes Triple H, Batista, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Edge and Chris Benoit looks a million times better in 2021 than it did in 2005 (not that it looked back in 2005).
Add in Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee, and the third Elimination Chamber in its history has a real case for the title of the concept’s best match of all time.
The implosion of Evolution dominated the conversation, with Orton’s rise as a singles star after his removal from the group combined with Batista’s growth before his singles push serving as the true beginnings of two all-time WWE careers.
Factor in Orton pinning Batista in front of Triple H’s eyes, all while “The Game” could’ve saved his protégé from taking the pin, and the story being told was absolutely perfect.
The physicality, the raw emotion, and the technical abilities of everyone involved made this a near-perfect match, and should keep it on wrestling fans’ radars for years to come when considering the Elimination Chamber’s history.
1. World Heavyweight Championship Match – Survivor Series 2002
The first time always seems to carry some extra weight when trying to rank anything, and it appears as if that’s exactly what happened when looking for the Elimination Chamber’s best of the best.
Whether it’s the first Royal Rumble match, the first Money in the Bank Ladder Match, or even the first WrestleMania, wrestling fans tend to hold inaugural matches and events near and dear to their hearts. In this case, the first Elimination Chamber in WWE’s history takes the cake as the greatest of all time.
In a true feel-good moment, Shawn Michaels returned to the top of the mountain after his return from retirement, knocking off Chris Jericho, Kane, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, and bitter rival Triple H en route to his first (and only) run with the World Heavyweight Championship.
Going for 40 minutes, everyone it all did everything they could to put the Elimination Chamber on the map, and Michaels sealed the deal after entering the ring as the match’s sixth entrant.
He pinned Jericho to ensure that he and Triple H could continue their rivalry in the match’s final two, and delivered some Sweet Chin Music to his former friend-turned-foe to be able to hoist some gold at the end of the night.
It was the perfect way to get the Elimination Chamber on every fan’s mind going forward, and, fittingly, is the perfect way to end these rankings and celebrate the match’s incredible history.