The No Way Out 2008 pay-per-view made history in terms of Elimination Chamber matches because it was the first time there were two of them on the same show. Both matches were for title shots at WrestleMania. Six men from Smackdown competed for a World Heavyweight Title match at WrestleMania 24 early in the show and later in the same night, six men from Raw battled for a WWE Title match at WrestleMania 24.
The year 2008 also was a year of change in WWE because that was the year where WWE went from being a TV-14 company to TV-PG like it is today. The PG rating wasn’t in full effect in early 2008, but by the summer of 2008 it was in place. This was also the first year where WWE was using High Definition cameras.
Since there were two Elimination Chamber matches on the same show, I’m going to review the one that took place first, which was for a shot at the World Title featuring the Smackdown brand.
The Story Going Into The Match
There’s not much to say here because while they did do the usual thing where the six guys were paired off in singles leading up to the show, it was mostly a story about six guys being in the Chamber match for a shot at Edge’s World Title. I could go dive into it more, but it’s not that complex.
Batista was the only one of the six men that had experience in an Elimination Chamber match. Let’s get to the match.
WWE No Way Out
February 17, 2008
Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada
The video package aired showing the history of the Elimination Chamber match. There were no clips of anything related to this match.
The first entrant for the match is Montel Vontavious Porter aka MVP, who was the United States Champion. Next up was Big Daddy V (former Mabel) with his manager Matt Striker while Coachman wondered if Big Daddy V could even fit in one of the pods in the ring. The Great Khali was up next with his manager Ranjin Singh, who is really a long time member of WWE’s creative team. Finlay was the next man in the match, so he entered one of the pods along with the first four men that were a part of it. He got a nice ovation from the crowd because he was a respected veteran by this point in his career.
Batista got a huge ovation from the crowd. Batista taunted the four men already in the pods. The last man announced for the match was The Undertaker. He got the loudest reaction of everybody involved. The interesting thing about it is that Undertaker and Batista had a long rivalry in 2007 with both of them as top faces on the Smackdown brand, so it was fitting that they started the match.
Elimination Chamber Match #1 Contender to the World Heavyweight Championship: The Undertaker vs. Batista vs. Finlay vs. The Great Khali vs. Big Daddy V vs. MVP
Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was the biggest face in the match. Batista was also a face and so was Finlay. The heels were MVP, Big Daddy V and Great Khali.
The announcers are Michael Cole and Jonathon Coachman.
The Undertaker and Batista started throwing punches. The noticeable difference between this Chamber match and previous years is they had referee Jimmy Korderas in the ring, which is usual for a ref in this match and then referee Nick Patrick was inside the chamber by the door. Normally they don’t have a ref in that spot. Like in most chamber matches, there is also one camera guy in the chamber while the others are outside it. Undertaker tossed Batista onto the steel grating and grinded his face against the cage. Batista took control back in the ring with a clothesline. Undertaker choked Batista in the corner. It was noted by Cole that this the largest Chamber match ever if you add up the weight with over one ton of weight in the match. Taker stomped away on Batista in the corner. Batista came back with punches followed by a running back elbow for two. They did a double boot to the face at the same time as the clock ticked down for the next man in the match.
Analysis: That was a very boring opening five minutes. They were just filling time.
Big Daddy V (let’s call him Daddy for this match) was the #3 man in the match. I was really not a fan of the outfit he was wearing during this period. The Mabel outfit covered up certain body parts that should have been covered up. Daddy nailed clothesline son Batista and Taker to take control. Daddy with a body slam on Taker followed by a chop to Batista and a Samoan Drop by Daddy on Taker. Daddy stood on Taker’s chest while he was down. Body slam by Daddy on Batista. They did a spot where Undertaker was sent out of the cage and the ring and crashed to the floor. Daddy with a running splash against Taker against the cage. Daddy with a running splash against Batista while he was up against the turnbuckle. Batista with a spinebuster on Daddy led to the crowd cheering. Batista with a clothesline that sent Daddy over the top onto the steel. Undertaker with a DDT on Daddy on the steel. Batista pinned Daddy on the steel to eliminate him.
Big Daddy V eliminated by Batista
Analysis: It was a short run for Big Daddy V that was under five minutes. That’s not a bad thing.
The Great Khali was the 4th man in the match. Khali delivered chops to Batista and Undertaker because he can’t do much else. Fans chanted “you can’t wrestle” at Khali, which the announcers completely ignored. Kahli with elbow strikes to Batista. Undertaker nailed Khali with punches and wanted a Chokeslam, but Khali did a two-handed Khali bomb that is like a double Chokeslam that was good for a two count. Clothesline by Khali on Batista got a two count. Khali with a chop on Taker. Khali did the vice grip head crush on Batista’s head. Batista broke free and hit a Spear on Khali. Undertaker kicked Batista out of the ring. Undertaker kicked the cage with Singh up against it to knock Singh down. Undertaker slapped on the Hell’s Gate submission on Khali and Khali tapped out.
The Great Khali eliminated by The Undertaker
Analysis: Khali was only in the match for 2:38. He won’t be missed.
The Undertaker worked over Batista while on the steel grating for a couple of minutes. It was time for the next man.
Finlay is #5 and he was met by a running kick by Undertaker. Hard whip into the corner by Taker on Finlay, but Finlay avoided a corner charge and hit Taker in the back with a forearm. Finlay sent Batista onto the steel grating. Finlay hit the Celtic Cross for a two count. Coachman: “How is The Undertaker doing this?” Cole: “He’s the Undertaker.” That’s true. Batista with a slingshot that sent Finlay into the cage and Finlay stumbled back into the ring. Taker nailed Batista with a boot to the face. Finlay recovered and tossed Undertaker over the top rope onto the steel structure. Finlay sent Undertaker into some of the glass that covered the pod. Batista sent Finlay into the steel post. Batista suplexed Finlay for a two count. Coachman had a generic announcer line about how this match lived up to expectations.
The buzzer sounded for #6 MVP and The Undertaker was standing out of the pod waiting for him. Undertaker destroyed MVP with punches while he was in the pod. Batista battled Undertaker again with Undertaker nailing a kick to the face. MVP hit a running kick on Batista and a running kick on Undertaker for a two count. MVP choked Finlay with his chain, which was legal in a match like this. MVP attacked Undertaker with the punches using the chain, so Taker was bleeding from the head. Taker urged MVP to bring it, fans chanted for Taker and MVP went up to the top of a pod to try to get away. Undertaker stood on the top rope and Undertaker threw MVP off the pod (like a Chokeslam) into the ring. That was a huge bump. Finlay covered MVP to eliminate him.
MVP eliminated by The Undertaker
Analysis: That was one of the most impressive bumps in Chamber history. The sad thing is that MVP was only in the match for 2:31 and I would have liked to see him do more.
Undertaker missed a top rope elbow on Finlay because Finlay moved out of the way. Hornswoggle appeared from under the ring and the crowd cheered as he gave Finlay the shillelagh weapon. Finlay hit Batista with the shillelagh for a two count. Undertaker grabbed Finlay and gave him a Chokeslam over the top rope onto the steel grating for the pinfall to eliminate him. Coachman with another generic announcing phrase: “I have never seen brutality like this.” He really was very generic with his commentary.
Analysis: That was a nasty sounding Chokeslam onto the steel.
The Undertaker and Batista started this and they will end it. Batista was also bleeding. I guess we’re supposed to think the shillelagh busted him open. The two men exchanged punches with the crowd cheering more for Undertaker. Batista wanted a Batista Bomb and he connected with it, but he was slow to make a cover, which allowed Undertaker to kick out at two. Batista punched on Undertaker against the turnbuckle, which set up the Last Ride Powerbomb from Undertaker that he had been doing for nearly a decade before this. It always drew a good pop at least. Taker was too beat up to cover, so Batista kicked out of the slow pin attempt. Batista came back by sending Undertaker over the top onto the steel. Batista put Taker on his shoulder and sent Taker face first into the cage. Batista tried to sent Taker face first into the cage again, but Taker blocked it, he went back into the ring, picked up Batista over the top right into a Tombstone position…holy shit that was so cool!…and Taker planted him with a Tombstone for the pinfall win at 29:28.
Batista eliminated by The Undertaker
Winner: The Undertaker
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a pretty good match that was a bit slow at times when the non Taker/Batista guys were involved, but the last few minutes were a nice reminder of how much chemistry Taker/Batista had during this time period. Any time you book a match like this you need to have a lot of contenders that the fans believe in. This match really only had two contenders, so that hurt the interest level in it. The elimination of MVP was very well done with a big bump by him. I absolutely loved the counter by Undertaker into the Tombstone. It drew a huge reaction from the crowd because it looked amazing. Give both guys a lot of credit for pulling it off smoothly because that’s not easy to do especially when you’re nearly 30 minutes into a grueling match. The crowd response for that move was well deserved. I had never seen anything like that before.
The Undertaker did a great job of selling the beating after the match. The Undertaker pointed at the WrestleMania because that’s what people do.
Analysis: The Undertaker would go on to challenge Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 24. It was the main event of that show and an amazing match that saw Taker win the World Heavyweight Championship.
Here’s a GIF of the finish. You can’t hear the crowd obviously, but they were so loud for it.
THREE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– It was very good when it was just Undertaker and Batista in there. The others in the match really had no shot of winning. I don’t think anybody in the crowd believed any of them had a shot, so there wasn’t a lot of interest when any of the other four guys were in the match. That hurt the match a bit. The chemistry between Taker and Batista was awesome like usual. I was always a fan of their matches.
– The appeal of the match, in WWE’s minds, was putting in some big guys like Big Daddy V and Khali in there to make people think they are threats. The reality is they make the match worse because of how limited they are. It’s why they were booked to be in there for less than five minutes each. MVP was in the match even less than the two big guys, which was disappointing because I was an MVP fan.
– I give them credit for some creative eliminations like I mentioned above because I remembered the MVP bump well. I had forgotten about the Taker Tombstone on Batista, so it was nice to see that spot again.
FACTS & OPINIONS
Wrestler that lasted the longest: The Undertaker and Batista at 29:28.
Most Eliminations: The Undertaker with 3.
Best Performers (3): The Undertaker – Great performance. He was nearly 43 years old at the time of the match and put in almost 30 minutes of great work.
Batista – He meshed so well with Taker in the ring. Only one elimination by him, but it didn’t hurt him too much.
MVP – Even though Finlay lasted longer, I’ll give it to MVP due to the huge bump he took.
Most Memorable Moment: It’s tough between the MVP bump and that final Tombstone by Taker. I think I’ll go with the Tombstone by Taker on Batista because of how creative it was.
Match Rating: ***1/4 out of five.
Ranking The Elimination Chamber Matches
Here are my ratings for the Elimination Chamber matches from best to worst on the five star scale.
Survivor Series 2002 World Heavyweight Title won by Shawn Michaels – ****1/4
New Year’s Revolution 2005 World Heavyweight Title won by Triple H – ****
New Year’s Revolution 2006 WWE Championship won by John Cena – ***1/4
No Way Out 2008 World Title #1 Contenders (Smackdown) won by The Undertaker – ***1/4
SummerSlam 2003 World Heavyweight Title won by Triple H – ***
December To Dismember 2006 ECW Championship won by Bobby Lashley – **
Next up: The second Elimination Chamber match from No Way Out 2008 featuring WWE Raw superstars.
Thanks for reading.