With WWE's 2012 Elimination Chamber pay-per-view just hours away, wrestling fans are anxiously waiting to see who will win the RAW and SmackDown Elimination Chamber Matches.
This specialty match has been a staple in the WWE for close to a decade, and there have been 13 Elimination Chamber Matches in its history.
There have been many WWE superstars that have competed, and new champions have been crowned. But, as much as some in the Internet Wrestling Community might not want to admit it, this match might not have come to light if it weren't for one man: Eric Bischoff.
In 2002, the WWE's brand extension was just in its infancy, and then-general manager of RAW Eric Bischoff wanted to create some controversy, which he is infamously known for doing throughout his career.
On October 21st, 2002, Bischoff announced on RAW the creation of the Elimination Chamber Match, which would showcase superstars from the RAW roster. Bischoff explained that the chamber match itself had various elements from WCW's War Games and the Royal Rumble with the timed clock and the intervals.
He went on to say that the chamber was a cross between Hell in a Cell and a Steel Cage. He said that it would be the most brutal and most dangerous match in WWE history.
The match would feature six WWE RAW superstars, enclosed in their own small chamber surrounded by plexiglass and steel.
Two superstars would start the match, and every five minutes thereafter, a new RAW superstar would enter until all six had exited their respective chambers. Six of the top RAW superstars were announced to compete in the Elimination Chamber—Triple H, Rob Van Dam, Shawn Michaels, Kane, Chris Jericho and Booker T—and its debut would take place at the 2002 Survivor Series.
The prize for enduring this hellacious match and defeating all five RAW superstars? The World Heavyweight Championship, of which Triple H was then the reigning champion.
Fast forward to the 2002 Survivor Series and the main event: the Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship.
The champion, Triple H, started off the match with the extreme high-flyer Rob Van Dam. Chris Jericho, Booker T, Kane and finally Shawn Michaels entered the match in that particular order and endured the unforgiving structure of the Elimination Chamber. The match itself took its toll on the participants, and the steel of the chamber did not give in to the flesh of the RAW superstars.
Rob Van Dam fell victim to the chamber and was the first to be eliminated by Booker T. Chris Jericho took out Booker T and Kane, but the “Showstopper” Shawn Michaels pinned Jericho, and then it was down to two men: Triple H and Shawn Michaels for the World Heavyweight Championship.
These two men, who were bitter enemies in the WWE, had brutally punished each other in this twisted and demented structure. But Michaels, in true form, pulled every ounce of heart he had left in his battered body, hit Triple H with the Sweet Chin Music and captured his very first World Heavyweight title. Michaels was once again on top of the proverbial mountain of the WWE.
Since then, there have been many great Elimination Chamber matches in the WWE, but they all pale in comparison to the very first Elimination Chamber match in history.
This chamber match proved that Shawn Michaels, after a four-year absence from the WWE, still had what it takes to become a world champion. And his World Heavyweight Championship win will go down as the greatest Elimination Chamber win in WWE history.