November 17th 2002 marked the arrival for a structure that questioned many, we didn’t know what to expect however it delivered in so many ways. In recent years, the Elimination Chamber has suffered from overkill, with most of the previous Chamber PPV’s containing 2 matches in just one night. Luckily the Elimination Chamber was dropped earlier this year, only to return as a WWE Network exclusive event.
None the less, 13 years ago Eric Bischoff announced that 6 men would compete in an elimination cage match at Survivor Series 2002 for the World Heavyweight title. Triple H would defend his title against, Shawn Michaels, Booker T, Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam and Kane. However very little was known about the idea, other than videos hyping the match and the construction of the cell.
Madison Square Gardens in New York City was the scene for a pretty incredible 2002 edition of Survivor Series. An event where Brock Lesnar suffered his first pin fall loss, Scott Steiner returned to WWE and the event for the inaugural Elimination Chamber match. Survivor Series was the fitting theme for the match; as the solid and unforgiving metal structure would define the word survive.
Entering first into the match, Triple H did that; Rob Van Dam went airborne, delivering a Five Star Frog Splash from one of the pods, crashing his knee into The Games throat, crushing his windpipe, despite being short of air the champion battled for 39 minutes. Jericho really held his own throughout the match, being a star player, taking huge bumps and carrying the majority of the action; protecting Triple H to survive the final moments of the match.
However the match belonged to one man and that was Shawn Michaels. After returning to the ring after 4 years from not competition, Shawn Michaels returned to full time action. His classic match against Triple H showed that he still had it in the ring, Survivor Series was his chance to prove he could be champion again. After a nice reversal executions of pedigree and Sweet Chin Music, HBK managed to hit the Super Kick to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
The visual of seeing Shawn Michaels, a true WWE great come back strong from a 4 year absence from in ring competition and win the World Heavyweight championship inside Elimination Chamber was an incredible sight and respect to Michaels career. Michaels evolved as a human and a performer with his break; paving the way for some of his greatest matches of all time till his retirement in 2010.
For the Elimination Chamber, it gave WWE a brand new unique way to showcase an intense match; whilst retaining some of the brilliance of WCW War Games match. The next chamber match took place to help cover Triple H’s injury and wouldn’t be seen again until 2005. In 2009, WWE debuted the very original Elimination Chamber PPV event, something that over exposed the uniqueness of the even. Thankfully this year the PPV gimmick was dropped, only to return as a WWE Network exclusive event.
Img Credit: WWE France Official Forum