Over the last several years, WWE has been on a role with their compilation releases that have been rewarding their loyal fans with some stellar match collection sets; The Ladder Match, History of the WWE Championship, my personal favorite Hell in a Celland several others. WWE did the unexpected here and brought another one of their more barbaric matches into another must have collectible set ; Satan's Prison: The Anthology of the Elimination Chamber. This release features all 11 ECM matches up until Elimination Chamber 2010. The release is hosted by Todd Grisham and although he provides some history, plus you will hear from a few past participants like John Morrison, Edge, and Batista, the set isn't exactly a documentary. The matches are in their entirety plus they feature full aftermath segments such as Money in the Bank cash-ins or Vince McMahon seeking payback, and for my personal favorite, full entrances with theme songs. This is something I'm very glad WWE are no longer leaving out.
Now what is the Elimination Chamber? The Elimination Chamber is a steel cage that is made up of 2 miles worth of chain, stands 16 ft. high, and weighs up to 10 tons. The purpose of the match is to settle the dispute on who is either the WWE or World Heavyweight Champion. On the outside of the ring, taking place of the matted floor or even concrete, is a steel floor where you will hear the loud clang when wrestlers are dropped on it. The chains are very thick and are used as weapons for wrestlers to hurl each other into. The match features six wrestlers, with 2 starting the match, and the other four are housed inside of pods protected by bullet-proof plexi-glass. Wrestlers have been known to hurl each other completely through the glass. The matches are notorious for their brutality and superstars have worn the crimson mask during these matches. Let's get on to the match listings and my thoughts on these bouts.
These are the rules for the ECM:
1) There are 6 contestants and two will begin the match while the other four are locked in small pods
2) Every 5 minutes a superstar will be released
3) Superstars are eliminated by pinfall or submission
4) The last man remaining will be the winner
Survivor Series 11-17-02 ECM for World Heavyweight Championship
1 - Triple H (Champion) vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Booker T vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. RVD
This match is the most memorable of the bunch; not only because it's the very first one, but it's hailed as the best by many, plus it's Shawn Michaels second match after a 4 year hiatus, with his return being at Summerslam 2002. This is a very entertaining match that really felt like anyone could win it. Everyone got a chance to shine here and get off some of their spots. Triple H and RVD started this one and Triple H was indeed a serious workhorse. He took the worst beating being slammed face first into the chains. RVD brought his educated feet and super athleticism. There was a load of high impact offense, and the last two delivered an epic match. Even a casual fan who hasn't watched wrestling in ages may come away calling this match awesome. 5/5
Summerslam 8-24-03 ECM for World Heavyweight Championship
2 - Triple H(Champion) vs. Goldberg, vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Nash
I remember being amped for this match because the build up was very good. There were several storylines coming into this one; Nash was looking for payback on Jericho for cutting his hair on an episode of RAW, and the most interesting one, Randy Orton who was part of Triple H's faction was added to the match as an enforcer, to help Triple H keep the belt, but the possibility of either betrayal or Orton going for the win himself was a factor, and finally, it had Goldberg who was said to be long overdue championship gold.
Jericho and Michaels started things off with some quick paced wrestling made up of plenty pinfall counters. But this match would go downhill fast though. Nash's exit would be too quick, and later, it was nothing more than a dominant showcase of Goldberg. I understood they were heavily trying to get Goldberg over and it showed, as he destroyed just about everyone with heavy, high octane offense such as vicious spears on whoever was in his path. If you're a Goldberg fan then you'll get into this one heavily, if not, then it's probably going to irritate you. 3.5/5
New Year's Evolution 1-9-05 ECM for World Heavyweight Championship
3 - Triple H vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho vs. Edge vs. Batista vs. Randy Orton w/ Special Referee Shawn Michaels
This was a very interesting match with some splendid build up and hype from what I remember. After a controversial ending to a match involving Triple H, the title was up for grabs as RAW didn't have a champion. Therefore, this match was to decide the next one. Edge and Shawn Michaels were already on the verge of feuding, plus Randy Orton who had been feuding with Triple H for almost half the year, had planted the seeds of betrayal within Evolution by trying to turn Batista against Triple H, when he was placed in the match to help Triple H win. Suspense was through the roof here if you were heavily into the storyline.
This opened up with Benoit and Jericho creating that throwback feel to their early 2001 feud, plus old WCW matches from back in the 90's, as they went at it with classic wrestling consisting of counters into keylocks and headlocks with some vicious chops. This was an excellent warm up for the inevitable carnage. Triple H took some sick punishment as usual in this match with hard slams into the steel. Orton continues his feud with Triple H, and there was a very funny spot between Orton, Triple H, and Benoit. Shawn Michaels presence would be felt continuing another story, and the real story concerning Batista would move on from here as well. And speaking of the animal Batista, this was a good showcase of him, as his mega push really began here to me. He got a great amount of time to shine, but unlike Goldberg in the last ECM, he was for more entertaining because it still looked like he could be beaten by anyone in the match. My only gripe is the ending was meant more to put over a story, but it was still a very solid match overall. 4.75/5
New Year's Revolution 1-8-06 ECM for WWE Championship
4 - John Cena(Champion) vs. Chris Masters vs. Carlito vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Kane vs. Kurt Angle
This marked the first time the WWE Championship was being defended, and it's also the first one not to feature Triple H; with the exceptions of Kane and Michaels, there's nothing but fresh faces here. This match would also be the starting point of the Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon feud, as Vince saw to it that Michaels started this one off. Around this time also, Carlito and Chris Masters were being pushed, and this match was meant to get them over, and they put their teamwork to use in which they appeared unstoppable. Cena was also being further developed as a fighting champion. There are some very good spots here like Cena taking a DDT on the steel and Kurt Angle dishing out mean suplexes. But the memorable moment was no doubt the aftermath, as we got a taste on what it meant to be Money in the Bank winner, which gave birth to the Ultimate Opportunist. 4.25/5
December to Dismember 12-3-06 ECM for ECW Heavyweight Championship
5 - Big Show (Champion) vs. Test vs. Hardcore Holly vs. CM Punk vs. RVD vs. Bobby Lashley
This marked the first and last time the ECW title would be decided in this match, and this is also the first time where weapons were introduced. This would also be regarded as the worst ECM on the worst WWE PPV ever. If you're a casual fan of wrestling who isn't aware of the going ons behind this match, then you will probably enjoy it, but even then, it still isn't as good as the other matches of its type.
The match had moments where it was really good, when RVD and CM Punk took it to each other, and when Test delivered an elbow drop from the top of the pod on to a chair covering someone's face. However, the opening was boring, and there were moments of no action at all with single superstars waiting for the countdown for the next man to join the fray, as well as a botched count by the ref. This match was terribly booked and way too predictable. I would like to go a little deeper than this, but I'll save it for a review on the actual event some day. 3/5
No Way Out 2-17-08 ECM for #1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania
6 - MVP vs. Undertaker vs. Finlay vs. Batista vs. Big Daddy V vas. The Great Khali
On paper, this match really didn't good. Anything with Khali doesn't look good for that matter. This one opened up pretty slow but it would get better later on with some good spots. Undertaker delivered a DDT to V on the steel as well as chokeslamming Finlay on it too. Batista dished out big man offense on the larger guys, plus he drove Finlay shoulder first on to the steel side of the turnbuckle which looked very painful, and Hornswoggle would even make it into this match to help out Finlay. Unfortunately, in light of Undertaker and Batista's recurring feud, all of the other competitors felt like window-dressing, and it was all too obvious that the match would come down to those two. Undertaker was one of the few stars who could bring the best out of Batista and this encounter was no exception. They beat each other up bad, and the match ended with some awesome counters to a high impact finish. 3.75/5
ECM for #1 contender to the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania
7 - Triple H vs. Umaga vs. JBL vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
This will mark the first event to feature two ECM's on the same night.
There hasn't been many ECM's to match the very first one, but if this one doesn't surpass it then it's cutting it very close. This match began perfect with Michaels and Jericho going at it, and it would get even better when one of the most under-rated big men finally stepped into the ring to destroy, the late great Umaga. Unrestrained, animal-like, mindless destruction, is what Umaga brought as he delivered a two man Samoan drop with both Jericho and Michaels on his shoulders, plus a Samoan Wrecking Ball across Jericho's face that saw him rammed through the plexi-glass.
The eliminations were few and far between at one point, then they would just start to happen with the final two putting on a good match. If this match is remembered for anything, then it would be the start to Jeff Hardy's " I was thisclose but couldn't get it done" storyline, which ended up being one of the most enjoyable storylines of 2008, along with Jericho's vicious heel turn. 5/5
8 - Triple H vs. Undertaker vs. Big Show vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Koslov vs. Edge (Champion)
Jeff Hardy and Edge were already feuding at this point, and he took it to Edge quick. There were two hilarious moments here taking place with Edge, one is when he taunted the Big Show, the second was his quick and out of nowhere elimination, but this wouldn't be the last time the fans heard from Edge.
The match hit a very dull moment, where Koslov and Big Show were trying to one up each other by punishing Jeff Hardy. Seriously, this stall in the action was just way too long and ultra boring. It got much better when Triple H and Undertaker made their appearances, and those two would later deliver an epic bought that felt like a throwback to their earlier 2000 encounters. This was a great way to end the match, and it heavily made up for the matches weak point. But it's not as good on this second watch though. 4.25/5
9 - ECM for World Heavyweight Championship
John Cena (Champion) vs. Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Mike Knox vs. Kane vs. Edge
Edge was indeed beside himself when he lost his title within the first 5 minutes of the previous match, so he thrashes Kofi Kingston and injects himself into this one. The addition of the Ultimate Opportunist was a plus indeed, but I think this match could have worked better had he been injected into it much earlier, therefore the possibility of him losing again would have been much stronger.
Rey Mysterio & Chris Jericho carried a majority of this match putting on a wrestling clinic. And this would be a foreshadow of what they would go on to do later that year in their feud. The match had its boring moments with Cena hitting all his moves in succession, but it would pick up and become much better when it came down to the last three, and later the last two. This match did its job in not only being entertaining, it also set the ground work for future storylines leading intoMania. 4.5/5
10 - Sheamus (Champion) vs. John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Ted Dibiase vs. Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston
By this moment, WWE had featured two ECM matches for this event to the point where they renamed No Way Out to Elimination Chamber. So you knew what you were going to get, and even up to this day I still find it to be a fresh event.
This is one bout that hasn't gotten better over time with some boring moments here and there. The beginning and some middle portions were decent for what it was worth. Kofi Kingston was very good here, actually I think he was the best. Kofi took some insane punishment, when his head was shoved between the chains and was practically being strangled. Later Dibiase took a hard hitting Attitude Adjustment form Cena on the steel floor, but it was the story taking place that was the main interest here. Dibiase's loyalty to Legacy came under questioning, with the possibility of him betraying Orton so he can go after the title. Although predictable, it did its job in pushing the story. This match was responsible for several stories going into Wrestlemania that created some intense rivalries that would take a little time to clear up. 3.75 /5
ECM for World Heavyweight Championship
11 - Undertaker (Champion) vs. Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk vs. John Morrison vs. R-Truth
My feelings for this bout still hasn't changed, but it was better to watch now then when it first aired on PPV, because then, you already knew exactly what was going to happen before the match even started. That's just how predictable this event was.
CM Punk kicked this off with a rather quick elimination of R-Truth, and although I was happy to see that, the first two eliminations happened too quick. This match had potential to create some very interesting spots and mix ups. In any case, the brutality was still there, with Punk slinging Mysterio head first into the chains, and later Punk taking a top rope Frankensteiner to the steel. Later, the pacing became better and the last two stars put on a good match. But at the end of the day though, this match was only meant to put over a story and set the stage for Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels II at Wrestlemania. 4/5
I have to admit that I came into this release a bit uneasy. I thought the set would begin to feel too redundant watching the same gimmick matches over and over. This is what happened when I sat through the Ladder Match sets. Thankfully this wasn't the case at all, and I think it had a lot to do with me being a fan of this match type, but I'm a fan of ladder matches also and I had to watch that in small doses. My point is that I think this release will probably vary from person to person. So the second your attention starts to wane, then toss on something else and come back to it later. In any case, this is another stellar collection featuring nearly 9 hours of action. Great for the die hard wrestling fan.
Pros: -Solid collection of matches
Cons: -Some matches just aren't as good as others
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The Elimination Chamber is a professional wrestlingelimination-based match held in the WWEpromotion. It features a large chain-linked circular steel structure or "chamber" which encloses the ring. The chamber's floor is platformed over the ringside area which elevates it to ring level and 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 bout 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 structure itself is 16 ft (4.9 m) high, 36 ft (11 m) in diameter, weighs over 10 short tons (9,100 kg), and comprises 2 mi (3.2 km) and 6 short tons (5,400 kg) of chain. There have been 15 Elimination Chamber matches in WWE since the concept's inception in November 2002.