WWE Classic of the Week: Remembering the Original Elimination Chamber Match

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WWE Classic of the Week: Remembering the Original Elimination Chamber Match
Photo courtesy WWE.com

The Survivor Series of 2002 may not be the most notable in the history of the WWE, but it is certainly rare in that it gave birth to a match that would become a whole show of its own.

Prior to the 2014 pay-per-view it shares a name with, the Elimination Chamber match has had 16 outings in the WWE. Some of those have been brutal, some have been historic. These days, however, it has an important part in the WWE calendar—as the final pay-per-view before WrestleMania.

Back in its inception, though, it was part of the Survivor Series show of 2002. Eric Bischoff—then General Manager of Raw—announced the debut of the structure to try and outdo SmackDown—who had just hosted a Hell in a Cell match at their No Mercy pay-per-view. He stated it would be the ultimate combination—a mix of the Royal Rumble, Survivor Series and War Games matches—making for the most brutal, random match in WWE history.

The six competitors will go down in history as the first men to compete in this insane match—and they are some of the most legendary figures in WWE history. The defending World Heavyweight Champion was Triple H—fresh off a Street Fight with his best friend, Shawn Michaels, earlier in the year.

Michaels himself would be a competitor in the match—the final man to confirm his entrance as his bitter feud with Triple H developed at a serious pace. Alongside him would be Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Kane and Chris Jericho.

The match was the main event at Survivor Series, a show that saw the Big Show win the WWE Championship against Brock Lesnar. The hype was all about the Chamber though, as it hung above the ring for the entirety of the pay-per-view.

Triple H—the champion—and Rob Van Dam started out in the match. RVD was the first man to be eliminated, too, after he delivered a 5-Star Frog Splash to Triple H from the top of one of the Chamber pods—a spot that set the tone for every single Chamber match.

That left him easy pickings for Booker T, who eliminated the high-flyer. It took two finishing maneuvers to eliminate the former WCW Champion—as a lionsault from Chris Jericho and a chokeslam from Kane dispatched of Booker T.

The elimination of Kane was even more remarkable, though—three finishers were required to see the end of Kane, and ensure that the final two men in the match were best friends Triple H and Shawn Michaels.

Of course, at the time they weren't best friends—at least in terms of the WWE storyline they were engulfed in. They were brutal rivals, and Michaels had his sights set on Triple H's title.

The two went at it for almost ten minutes, one-on-one—friend against friend. It was Michaels' second match since he came out of retirement—but you wouldn't have known it at the time.

It was a superb spell of wrestling from the two legends of the game—and it came to a finish when HBK hit the Sweet Chin Music on his fellow DX member to win the World Heavyweight Championship—and bring the curtain down on a unique concept, at least until the following year.

15 editions of the Chamber later, and the concept is still as exciting and dramatic as it ever was. It was all born from that first hosting at the 2002 Survivor Series—and it remains one of the best Chamber matches ever.

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