The Elimination Chamber is a professional wrestling elimination-based match and held in the WWE promotion. The match was created by Triple H and was introduced by Eric Bischoff in November 2002. It features a large chain-linked circular steel structure, which encloses the ring. The chamber's floor is platformed over the ringside area which elevates it to ring level. Within the chamber are four inner enclosures outside each ring corner. While similar in profile and nature to WWE's original large scale steel-structured match, Hell in a Cell, the Elimination Chamber match is strictly a six participant match, wherein two participants begin the match in the ring as the remaining four are held within each inner enclosure and are released into the match at five-minute intervals. The objective is to eliminate each opponent from the match via pinfall or submission. The winner is the last remaining participant after all others have been eliminated. As in the Hell in a Cell match, disqualifications do not apply. The original structure was 16 ft (4.9 m) high, 36 ft (11 m) in diameter, weighed over 10 short tons (9,100 kg), and comprised 2 mi (3.2 km) and 6 short tons (5,400 kg) of chain. There have been twenty Elimination Chamber matches in WWE since the concept's inception in November 2002.
Before the introduction of the Elimination Chamber match, WWE only promoted two matches in a caged environment, the steel cage and Hell in a Cell matches. The steel cage was the first type of cage-based match in professional wrestling and consisted of four fenced walls of steel surrounding the ring apron, while the Hell in a Cell was a taller roofed version that surrounded the ring and ringside area on the ground rather than the apron. In 2002, WWE announced the creation of the Elimination Chamber, a match that combined elements of WWE's Hell in a Cell matches, Royal Rumble match, Survivor Series matches, and World Championship Wrestling's (WCW) WarGames matches, such as the countdown timer and time intervals from the Royal Rumble and War Games matches, the large enclosed cage format of both Hell in a Cell and War Games, and the elimination process from the Survivor Series contest.
Brand and pay-per-view designation
In 2002, to exploit additional on-screen talent after buying World Championship Wrestling (WCW), WWE began a brand extension that divided the roster between the two primary television programs of WWE, Raw and SmackDown!. Former WCW President and then Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff formally announced the creation of the chamber during the October 21 edition of Raw and scheduled the match to feature participants from the Raw brand roster at the 2002 Survivor Series. The match was exclusive to the Raw brand for the first four matches and at joint-branded pay-per-view events, but upon the creation of the ECW brand in 2006, the match was instead promoted for the newly created brand at the 2006 December to Dismember. Beginning in 2008, the match became exclusive to the No Way Out pay-per-view, and two Elimination Chamber matches were featured annually for two years among the three brands. In 2010, WWE replaced their No Way Out event with the self-titled WWE Elimination Chamber, a new pay-per-view event which continued the tradition of its predecessor. From 2008-2014, the match had been featured in February pay-per-view events only. An Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event took place on May 31, 2015, exclusively on the WWE Network. After the second brand extension in 2016, it was announced that the brands would return to having separate pay-per-views. In late 2016, it was announced that Elimination Chamber would return as a SmackDown Live exclusive pay-per-view in February 2017.
Triple H suffered an injury during the 2002 Survivor Series match with swelling on the inside of his throat which put pressure on his esophagus and trachea. This was caused after Rob Van Dam performed the Five Star Frog Splash off the top of one of the chambers. Triple H also expressed concern that he might have broken his wrist and noted anything could have caused it. Sheamus reportedly suffered a concussion during the Raw Elimination Chamber match in 2010. In 2010, The Undertaker was involved in a pyrotechnics accident during his ring entrance. He was temporarily engulfed in flames on three occasions when the pyrotechnics were mistimed, and his jacket briefly caught on fire. He suffered first and second-degree burns to his neck and chest; according to a WWE spokesperson the injury "looked like a bad sunburn". He was only allowed to participate in the match after being cleared by a ringside doctor and was given bottles of water throughout the match to douse himself with to alleviate the discomfort.
The Elimination Chamber match is a variation of elimination-based matches which draws elements from steel cage and Hell in a Cell matches, in that the wrestling ring is surrounded by a large steel fenced cage supported by girders. The Elimination Chamber is a square (formerly circular) chain-linked structure that encloses the ring. Its floor is platformed over the ringside area around the ring which elevates and levels it with the ring mat. Within the Elimination Chamber, facing the outside of each ring post behind each ring corner, are four enclosures referred to as inner chambers. The match is contested by six participants, with two beginning the match in the ring, while the other four are held within each inner chamber. Every five minutes, one of the four participants within a chamber is released into the ongoing match. In matches involving two three-member tag teams, two participants are released into the match once every ten minutes. And in matches involving two six to ten-member tag teams, the match begins two participants from both teams and there was eight periods consists of two participants are released the pods and into the match once every five minutes while a member from one of the teams (usually determined by a coin toss or " rock, paper, scissor") would enter the match once every other three minutes. This continues until all four have been released, and so an Elimination Chamber match typically lasts over twenty or more minutes. The objective of the match is to eliminate each opponent from the match by scoring a pinfall or a submission. These can occur in the ring or on the chamber's elevated floor but starting in the 2012 event, all pinfalls and submissions must take place in the ring. Disqualifications and count-outs do not apply in the process of elimination. The winner of the match is the last remaining participant after all others have been eliminated (or after all members of the opposing tag team are eliminated in either the tag team matches or the twelve-on-twelve tornado tag team elimination matches).
According to a WWE Magazine article in 2009 by WWE's production designer Jason Robinson, who co-designed the structure, several designs for the Elimination Chamber were considered. The structure was manufactured in Colorado Springs, Colorado and took six to eight weeks to make from design blueprints; it cost US$ 250,000 to construct.
The structure is made of black-painted steel with an outer structure of 16 frames, each weighing 300 pounds (140 kg). The chamber is 16 ft (4.9 m) high and 36 ft (11 m) in diameter, and weighs a total of 16 short tons (15,000 kg), 10 of which consists of steel. Each inner chamber consists of three large steel framed sheets of plexiglass, costing US$225 per sheet. The chains that surround the chamber stretch 2 mi (3.2 km) long and weigh 6 short tons (5,400 kg).
A 50 ft (15 m) flatbed truck is needed to transport the chamber. Assembly in the arena takes eight hours to complete, and eight motors are used to suspend the structure over the ring before each event. When not in use, the structure is stored at a dock in Newark, New Jersey. Unlike standard steel cage matches and Hell in a Cell matches, Elimination Chamber matches cannot be held at several arenas due to the structure's massive size and weight, similar to how WarGames matches could only be held at certain arenas. This would play a factor in WWE dropping the annual Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event.
In 2017, Elimination Chamber was brought back as a SmackDown exclusive pay-per-view. In addition, the chamber structure was redesigned, becoming square instead of circular. The pods were also changed from circular to square and feature sliding doors that referees slide open from outside the chamber. At the top of the chamber at its center, which is now 26 ft (7.9 m) tall, is a large cutout of the WWE logo. Also, the steel grates between the ring and the cage were replaced with padding. The redesign was for practical purposes due to certain venues only being able to house the previous structure.
The fifth match, held by the ECW brand at December to Dismember, was a slight variation called the "Extreme Elimination Chamber". In this variation, each chamber had one of four weapons for the competitors locked inside to hold on to. When each competitor's chamber opened, their weapon entered the match with them. The four weapons used in the match were a crowbar, a table, a steel folding chair, and a barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat.
The 2015 Elimination Chamber event saw another slight variation of the match: the tag team chamber match. Both team members will be inside of their respective pods, for a total of six tag teams in the match.
In recent years, the annual WWE video games has included an Elimination Chamber Six-Man Tornado Tag Team Elimination match similar to War Games.
Despite the structure, interference has become common inside the Elimination Chamber. At New Year's Revolution 2005, Ric Flair distracted guest referee Shawn Michaels allowing Batista who had been eliminated to attack Randy Orton so Triple H could win the match. At No Way Out 2009, Edge attacked Kofi Kingston during his entrance and locked himself in one of the pods becoming a participant in the match for the World Heavyweight Championship after losing the WWE Championship earlier in the night. At Elimination Chamber 2010, Cody Rhodes passed Ted DiBiase Jr. a metal pipe which he used to eliminate Randy Orton in the match for the WWE Championship. Later in the night, Shawn Michaels broke into the Chamber match to cost The Undertaker his World Heavyweight Championship to Chris Jericho. At the 2013 Elimination Chamber event, Mark Henry took out the remaining participants in the Chamber match for a World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 29 after being eliminated until SmackDown GM Booker T broke it up. At the 2014 Elimination Chamber for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, The Wyatt Family interfered by attacking John Cena, which would lead to his eventual elimination. Kane would come out to help escort The Wyatt Family out of the Chamber match, but would then interfere costing Daniel Bryan the match to Randy Orton.
The Elimination Chamber debuted at WWE's PPV event Survivor Series 2002 on November 17, 2002 at Madison Square Garden. Since the inaugural match, there have been 19 other matches (20 overall) as of Elimination Chamber 2017 on February 12, 2017. The Raw brand has been featured in the most matches, with nine; ECW has been featured twice, including its joint-branded match with SmackDown. The SmackDown brand has been featured 5 times including the joint-branded match with ECW. No Way Out and Elimination Chamber has featured more Elimination Chamber matches than any other pay-per-view, with four each. Chris Jericho holds the distinctions of being involved in the most number of Elimination Chamber matches to date (8) and eliminating the most wrestlers (10). Triple H has the most number of victories, with four. The majority of matches have been contested for a top-tier championship, with the World Heavyweight Championship being fought for the most in seven matches, while four matches in 2008, 2011 and 2013 awarded the winner with number-one contenderships. The Elimination Chamber match has been contested only in indoor arenas in the United States and once in Puerto Rico. From 2008-2014, the match had been featured in February pay-per-view events only. An Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event took place on May 31, 2015 exclusively on the WWE Network.
In July 2010, WWE released Satan's Prison: The Anthology of the Elimination Chamber, a DVD featuring every Elimination Chamber match as of Elimination Chamber 2010. The European release of the DVD is titled Iron Will.