WWE Elimination Chamber: Ranking the Lineups
This year's February WWE pay-per-view will make 13 elimination chambers since the match's inception in 2002.
The lineups go from quite stellar to respectable all the way to saved by a few actual superstars.
Here is a ranking of all 13 cards based on star power (this ranking does not reflect the actual match though is likely not far off for most).
The lineups are ranked by me applying numbers to superstars on a 1-10 scale based on how big of name they are, how prominent their career has been, and how well they've remained in the WWE/World title pictures over time.
#13- No Way Out 2008- Smackdown (37)
I used a rubric calculating star power based on the combatants and practically assumed that the December 2 Dismember would be the lowest... but it wasn't!
Smackdown's effort at No Way Out consisted of Undertaker (10), Batista (9), Big Daddy V (3), Finlay (4), Great Khali (6), and MVP (5).
I couldn't help but give Khali a 6 since he's been world champion, but I can't say as though I respect his reign very much. Outside of Batista and the Undertaker, this match was full of midcarders who, while very talented, have not done much in the way of the main event scene.
While V's longevity in the business (King Mabel did headline SummerSlam 95) might have earned him a higher number on the scorecards of others, I ended up giving him my lowest just due to the pathetic nature by which he was pushed on this time around with the company.
Here's to several midcarders sharing the big stage with some real main eventers, for one night at least.
#12- December 2 Dismember (40)
There is no doubt this match would have ended up with the lowest ranking had it truly been packed with real ECW superstars, which I would have been all for regardless of my silly little ranking system. But, alas, it was not, and the ECW name gets tarnished once again.
In this EC match, the only one to use weapons officially, we have Bobby Lashley (7) winning the ECW title from Big Show (8) and over CM Punk (8), Rob Van Dam (9), Hardcore Holly (a shameful replacement for Sabu) (4), and Test (3).
Lashley's number could go up in time if he ever returns to pro wrestling and gets serious about it. Punk's could arguably be higher as well, though I think he's got plenty left in his career to earn it.
The fact that Test and Holly were in this match was ridiculous and arguably a blatant insult to Paul Heyman. The fact that Van Dam didn't win it was an insult to every ECW fan.
#11- Elimination Chamber 2011- Smackdown (45)
This year's Smackdown chamber is not yet chock full of big stars, though they certainly have a great deal of potential.
Edge (10) will be defending his World championship against some relative newcomers to the main event scene in Drew McIntyre (5), Wade Barrett (6), and Dolph Ziggler (6), as well as some mainstays in Kane (9) and Rey Mysterio (9).
The newcomers are going to make up the future of this industry and this event would likely receive a much higher ranking in five or so years. However, until they do, they won't get the numbers, though this match could be very promising.
#10- Elimination Chamber 2011- Raw (46)
This year's Raw event just barely edges out the Smackdown event as far as numbers go.
John Cena (10) and Randy Orton (10) will lead CM Punk (8), Sheamus (7), John Morrison (6), and K-Kwi- I mean R-Truth (5) into Satan's structure for the flagship program to see who squares off against Jerry Lawler at WrestleMania for the WWE title (yeah, I said it!).
As with the SD crew, this crop of stars will shine much brighter in the years to come but still have a lot to prove, especially to achieve the staying power the Orton and Cena have had over the past 5+ years.
T-#8- Elimination Chamber 2010- Raw (47)
Last year's Raw match ties for eighth as it also featured some up and comers who haven't quite up and come yet.
John Cena (10), Triple H (10), and Randy Orton (10) all top the rankings but their opponents, Sheamus (7), Ted Dibiase (5), and Kofi Kingston (5) aren't quite there yet.
DiBiase has been in limbo for a while now, though may be getting somewhere with Maryse and the Lawler angle.
Kofi and Sheamus will likely continue to rise in 2011 and beyond and could easily headline some PPVs down the road together.
T-#8- New Year's Revolution 2006 (47)
Back when the brands put on their own PPVs, there were some pretty weak cards, and this was one of them.
Future Hall-of-Famers John Cena (10), Kurt Angle (10), Shawn Michaels (10), and Kane (9) had the utmost pleasure of being in the ring with Carlito (4) and Chris "Bouncing Boobs" Masters (4).
Masters and Carlito were getting a futile push at the time and so into the chamber they go, giving the match its first real taste of discredit.
#7- Elimination Chamber 2010- Smackdown (48)
Last year's Smackdown Chamber came in seventh and will mostly likely be remembered for its attempt to kill the Undertaker with fire before he got to the ring (doesn't the chamber know he's already dead??).
Undertaker (10) and Chris Jericho (10) anchored this card which included Rey Mysterio (9), CM Punk (8), John Morrison (6), and R-Truth (5).
Look for Mysterio, Punk, Morrison, and Truth to all do some damage this year as well, indicating that their stock may indeed be on the rise.
T-#5- No Way Out 2009- Raw (51)
As we enter the top 5, both No Way Out chamber match lineups are tied at fifth with some pretty heavy-hitting superstardom.
Smackdown's chamber saw Edge (10), Triple H (10), Undertaker (10), Big Show (9), and Jeff Hardy (8) along with one-time-Soviet-powerhouse-now-Santino-sidekick Vladimir Kozlov (4).
Kozlov was also in the midst of an attempted push having just come off a headlining triple threat at the Survivor Series with Triple H and Hardy. And then came the dance-offs...
T-#5- No Way Out 2009- Smackdown (51)
2009's Smackdown chamber was just as impressive as Raw's, and even had a familiar face.
John Cena (10), Chris Jericho (10) and Edge (10) led Kane (9), Rey Mysterio (9), and Mike Knox (3) into the two miles of chain for this battle.
Edge became the only person to appear in two chambers in one night this evening by taking out Kingston and replacing him in the Raw match after losing the WWE title earlier in the night being eliminated first in the Smackdown match. (What the hell did Kofi ever do to anybody?)
WWE is masterful in the way that they can give a guy 10 titles in less than 5 years and think they're clever by calling him the ultimate opportunist while masking the fact that most of his title runs are incredibly weak and doing so really waters down the value of the belt. (1 Randy Savage WWE championship reign = 7 Edge championship reigns)
Oh, and yes, Mike "Really? Mike Knox?" Knox headlined a pay per view. He also headlined the special "When Good Pushes Happen To Bad Wrestlers."
#4- No Way Out 2008- Raw (52)
While Smackdown's 2008 chamber was incredibly weak, Raw's was incredibly strong.
Triple H (10), Shawn Michaels (10), Chris Jericho (10), Jeff Hardy (8), and JBL (8) are all top tier superstars, and Umaga (6) did some pretty impressive stuff in his one big push.
This card gave JBL his only visit to the chamber towards the end of his impressive run at the top of the WWE.
Triple H, Michaels, and Jericho are staples in the early chamber cards and have a lot to do with making the match what it is today.
#3- SummerSlam 2003 (56)
I was at this event and had the privilege of watching from a seat that was almost as far away as my living room sofa was from the ring.
Triple H (10) secured his first chamber win here against Goldberg (8), Chris Jericho (10), Shawn Michaels (10), Randy Orton (10), and Kevin Nash (8).
This ranking system is based on where I see superstars today (and is completely subjective so let the criticism fly) so it is only Orton's more recent success that makes this event's card rank so high.
Goldberg would be quite impressive in his only chamber win, kicking the plexi-glass open to get to Triple H while Flair keenly prevented the door from opening.
Nash could arguably ranked higher here but for some reason, I'm just not feelin' it. Maybe it's the hair in this photo? Orton's Playgirl pose is quite impressive as well.
T-#1- New Year's Revolution 2005 (57)
Wow, what a lineup.
Triple H (10), Batista (9), Chris Benoit (8), Randy Orton (10), Edge (10), and Chris Jericho (10).
All world champions.
All main eventers at WrestleMania.
Any two of these men could burn any house down in this country, and here they are all in one match, with Michaels as the guest referee!
It would have been nice if one of them would have burned a house down with Benoit and Benoit alone in it before he became a murderous psychopath so we wouldn't all have to remember him as one, but you can't take away the guy's talent, and he certainly had it.
T-#1- Survivor Series 2002 (57)
Not only was it the first Elimination Chamber match, but it also tied for the highest ranking on my completely arbitrary and subjective ranking system.
Shawn Michaels (10), only a few months back from a 4 1/2 year hiatus for what was considered to be a career-ending injury at WMXIV, would win his final singles championship and the first EC match ever by defeating Triple H (10), Chris Jericho (10), Booker T (9), Kane (9), and Rob Van Dam (9) at the 2002 Survivor Series.
Michaels not only won the first EC match, but also the first Hell In A Cell match and the first Pay-Per-View Ladder Match in the WWE. Kind of shocking to me that Triple H dropped the belt to him here, but Michaels fans were sure to be pleased.
All of these men will likely be in the WWE Hall of Fame someday as they all had (and some still have) careers that stood the test of time, broke records, and kept the industry going with 5-star matches on a regular basis.
While future lineups will likely dazzle and disappoint, the structure itself is the most impressive engineering feat every to be used regularly in wrestling matches. Satan's structure has an allure all its own, but pack it with big-time superstars and the value skyrockets.
Ideally, the 60-point match would include 6 of the following 8 superstars
I don't see it ever happening, but as new stars raise their stock, I may just get my 60-point match yet.