TJR Retro: WWE No Way Out 2008 Review (Two Elimination Chamber Matches, Plus Orton vs. Cena)

TJR Retro: WWE No Way Out 2008 Review (Two Elimination Chamber Matches, Plus Orton vs. Cena)

The WWE 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. Meanwhile, the Royal Rumble winner John Cena got his WWE Title shot on this show instead of WrestleMania…yet still got his title shot at WrestleMania too.

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.

Here’s the synopsis on WWE Network:

“Championship opportunities at WrestleMania are up for grabs in two Elimination Chamber Matches featuring WWE Superstars from Raw, SmackDown, and ECW. Randy Orton defends WWE Championship against John Cena. Edge takes on Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Championship.” 14+ (D, L, V)

Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Let’s get to the show.

WWE No Way Out
February 17, 2008
Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada

There was a quick opening video package to set up the show.

There was some pyro that went off and it looked the arena was pretty full with plenty of signs in the crowd. The giant WrestleMania 24 logo was in the building as well. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show, but they were not calling the first match.

CM Punk made his entrance first for a match against Chavo Guerrero. The video package aired telling the story that Punk wanted his ECW Title back. Punk beat Chavo in a match where he sent him into the Gulf of Mexico water because that was part of the match that was set up. Joey Styles and Tazz were the announcers for this lone ECW match on the card.

ECW Championship: Chavo Guerrero (c) vs. CM Punk

Pre-match notes: Chavo Guerrero was the heel ECW Champion while CM Punk was the babyface challenger. Chavo won the title about four weeks earlier.

Chavo with a slap, so Punk kicked him to knock him down. Punk with a spinning backbreaker for two. Chavo sent Punk out of the ring and back in the ring, Chavo hit an uppercut to knock Punk down, Chavo tripped up Punk and hit a splash on the back. Chavo with a high angle belly to back suplex along with a leg scissors around the waist. Punk with a catapult that sent Chavo into the turnbuckle. Punk with a back body drop followed by a powerslam for a two count. Chavo countered a GTS into a hurricanrana and Chavo hit a Tornado DDT for a two count. Punk came back with an enziguri kick for a two count. CM Punk hit a couple of vertical suplexes like Eddie Guerrero, which led to boos, which is a surprise and Punk hit a knee lift into a bulldog for a two count. That fan reaction was a bit of a surprise since Punk’s a face paying tribute rather than a heel doing it. Chavo got to the apron to fight out of a GTS, so Punk kicked him in the head to knock him down. Punk set up Chavo on the top rope, Chavo fought back and Punk tripped up Chavo on the top rope to crotch Chavo on the top turnbuckle. Chavo blocked a hurricanrana by hanging onto the top rope, Punk hit the mat and then Chavo hit the Frog Splash for the pinfall win at 7:06.

Winner by pinfall: Chavo Guerrero

Analysis: **1/4 This was a decent match. I would have liked to see Chavo cheat to win since he was a heel champion. Instead, it was more about Chavo using the veteran tactics of blocking a move on the turnbuckle and then hitting the Frog Splash to win. Punk did fine here. I don’t think people cared that he was unable to get the ECW Title back.

Chavo Guerrero celebrated the win while CM Punk left as the loser.

Analysis: Things did get a lot better for Punk after this because he won Money in the Bank at WrestleMania and was off the ECW brand.

There was a clip of the last Smackdown before No Way Out with Edge asking Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero to marry him and Vickie said yes. Rey was skeptical of it and broke up the festivities. Rey accidentally hit a seated senton on Vickie (in her wheelchair) after Edge moved, so Vickie wasn’t at the show.

Rey Mysterio was interviewed by Mike Adamle ahead of Rey’s World Title match. Rey said that Edge is a character that looked out for himself. Rey said that what he did to Vickie last week was an accident. Rey said he’s not going to say sorry, not again. Rey held up his right arm with Adamle noting that Rey had a torn bicep and we could see the bruises on the arm. Rey said it’s torn, so that’s the worst that can happen. Rey said he’s going to win and he’s going to find a way to fight with one arm. Floyd Mayweather Jr., one of the greatest boxers ever and a big star at this point, showed up to hug Rey. Floyd told Rey to get that title tonight and Floyd wished him good luck. They walked off together along with Floyd’s bodyguards.

Analysis: That would not be the only time we saw Floyd Mayweather on this show.

Chris Jericho was shown backstage taping his wrists ahead of the Elimination Chamber match later in the show.

The video package aired showing the history of the Elimination Chamber match. There were no clips of anything related to this 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.

The Smackdown Elimination Chamber match was up first. The announcers were Michael Cole and Jonathon Coachman.

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 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.

Finlay eliminated by The Undertaker

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 sign 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.

Here’s a GIF of the finish. You can’t hear the crowd obviously, but they were so loud for it.

Elimination Chamber Match 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.  

Edge was backstage in his locker room with the World Heavyweight Title while his Edgehead cronies Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins were with him. Edge was worried after seeing The Undertaker’s win, but then said that they need to focus on Rey Mysterio. Edge said that Vickie was at home watching. Teddy Long showed up saying that since Vickie wasn’t there, Teddy was in charge tonight. Teddy said he was banning Hawkins and Ryder from ringside. Edge and his buddies weren’t happy about that.

There was a WrestleMania 24 commercial featuring Kelly Kelly as a lifeguard where a fat guy faked drowning, so he could get mouth to mouth from Kelly, but then it was Mae Young. That was supposed to make people want to order WrestleMania.

A video aired featuring Ashley Massaro taking Maria to the Playboy mansion. The story was that Ashley wanted Maria to pose in Playboy and Maria was deciding.

Analysis: Maria did pose for Playboy. Google is your friend if interested.

The Raw announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler took over for the next match.

Ken Kennedy did a quick promo about how he was going to beat Ric Flair to put an end to his career. Ric Flair was up next to a pretty good pop from the crowd. Floyd Mayweather and friends were watching at ringside.

Career Threatening Match: Ric Flair vs. Ken Kennedy

Pre-match notes: Flair was the face while Kennedy was the heel. The story was that if Flair loses another match, he has to retire. I think there was actually a rumor around this time that they might do this at WrestleMania, but WWE went with a better choice. This match took place eight days before Ric Flair turned 59 years old.

Kennedy with a shoulder tackle and Flair hit a hiptoss. Flair worked over Kennedy with punches and chops. Kennedy came back with a dropkick to the left knee. Kennedy with a half crab submission, Ric got out of that and Kennedy drove the left knee into the ring apron. Kennedy slapped on the ring post Figure Four Leglock around the ring post. JR mentioned Bret Hart loved to use that, which is true. Flair with a slap, but Kennedy him down with a kick to the knee. Kennedy slapped on a Figure Four Leglock on Flair with Ric screaming on pain until he got to the ropes. Kennedy came back with a rolling senton for a two count. Flair got some offense going with two chop blocks to the back of the left leg of Kennedy. Kennedy with a tight pull into a rollup for two. Please Ric, pull your tights up some more. Flair with a back heel trip and Flair slapped on the Figure Four Leglock submission with the fans popping big for it. Kennedy tapped out to give Flair the win at 7:13.

Winner by submission: Ric Flair

Analysis: **1/4 This was okay with Flair showing his age by how slow he was moving out there. Kennedy’s offense was fine and he was aggressive as he should have been. The fans were not into the match since they knew Flair was in no danger of losing.

Post match, Flair did a promo: “Your winner and still limousine riding, jet flying, kiss stealing, woo, wheeling-dealing, never going to retire…son of a gun! The Nature Boy, Ric Flair! Woo!” Ric got some post match hugs from daughters Megan and Ashley (Charlotte Flair) at ringside too. Ric left to cheers from the crowd.

Finley was getting his back treated after the Elimination Chamber match with Vince McMahon going up to him asking how it felt in the cage. Vince wondered how Hornswoggle will feel in the steel cage against Vince on Raw. Vince said that he’s going to give tough love to his son Hornswoggle.

Analysis: A silly storyline that would have a swerve where it was revealed that Finlay was Hornswoggle’s dad.

John Bradshaw Layfield was shown backstage in anticipation of the main event coming up.

The video package aired for the World Heavyweight Champion Edge and challenger Rey Mysterio. Replays aired from the Royal Rumble when Vince Guerrero helped Edge beat Rey. Vickie wanted Rey to apologize for hitting her by accident, then Rey beat up Edge and Rey said “I’m sorry” to Vickie. That led to Edge proposing marriage to Vickie and she said yes. That led to what was mentioned earlier with Rey hitting a seated senton onto Vickie, who was in a wheelchair already.

Rey Mysterio made his entrance with a big red sleeve over his right arm. Rey hurt his arm at a live event in Santiago, Chile, which Cole mentioned on commentary. Rey pointed out WBC Welterweight Champion Floyd Mayweather at ringside.

Analysis: Rey suffered a torn biceps injury on February 13, 2008 at a live event in Santiago, Chile. This was his last match for nearly five months.

Edge made his entrance as the World Heavyweight Champion with the cool pyro display. He has one of my favorite theme songs in wrestling history.

World Heavyweight Championship: Edge vs. Rey Mysterio

Pre-match notes: Edge was the heel World Heavyweight Champion while Mysterio was the babyface challenger.

Edge was cocky going into the match while mocking the injured right arm and trying to get his hands on the arm. Rey with a kick to the thigh followed by a flying headscissors takedown. Rey with some lefty punches, but then Edge came back with a boot to the face to knock Rey down. Rey walked around the floor for a break with Edge hitting a dropkick to the arm. Edge whipped the right arm/shoulder of Rey into the steel steps leading to boos for Edge. There was an armbar applied by Edge and then Edge set up Rey against the turnbuckle. Rey avoided a running charge, Edge went sliding under the bottom rope and groin first into the ring post. Rey hit a moonsault press off the top for a two count. Rey battled back with a boot to the face followed by a DDT for two as Edge got his foot on the bottom rope. Rey sent Edge into the ropes followed by the 619 kick connecting for Rey. Rey with a boot to the face, Rey went for a springboard attack off the middle ropes, but Edge was ready and Edge hit a Spear in midair for the pinfall win at 5:27.

Winner by pinfall: Edge

Analysis: ** A short match due to Rey’s injury. They went with the obvious story for the match with Edge working on the right arm of Rey throughout the match. It was obvious that Rey was limited in what he could do, so the match suffered because of that. It made sense to make it a shorter match since Rey was dealing with the injury. A decisive finish gave Edge the win in this match.

Edge celebrated with the World Heavyweight Title while Cole mentioned Edge would face The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania 24.

After the match was over, Rey was getting checked on by WWE’s doctors and the sleeve was pulled down, so we could see the bruises on his arm.

Welcome Back Big Show

Big Show made his return to WWE after one year away from the company. His contract expired in February 2007 and now he was back. Big Show was wearing a jacket, dress shirt and jeans. The fans gave Big Show a nice ovation as Cole noted that it looked like Big Show lost a lot of weight and was in great shape. The fans cheered Big Show before he spoke.

Show: “Guess who’s back?” That led to cheers. Show said he missed this place. Show said he will be a champion again. Show said it doesn’t matter if it’s Raw, Smackdown or ECW. Show said that people make statement, guarantees or promises while talking about how he has been a champion everywhere, so it’s only a matter of time until he’s champion again. Show let us know that he lost 108 pounds. Show said he’s faster, he’s meaner and he’s ready to be back in WWE. They showed Rey getting helped by doctors at ringside. Show saw that and he left the ring.

Show grabbed Rey by the throat while taunting Floyd Mayweather at ringside. Show brought Rey into the ring, then taunted Floyd again and Floyd stood up, but his guys held him back. Show lifted up Rey for a Chokeslam, but that’s when Floyd went into the ring along with friends and security guards. They got in Show’s face. Some WWE security guys went into the ring too. Mayweather was being held back by his guys as Show took his jacket off. There was a huge size difference as Mayweather faced off with Big Show. Show shoved Floyd back. Show went down to one knee, so Floyd punched him three times in the face and then ran away with his buddies! Show left the ring to chase after Floyd, but he was stopped by some security guys and Shane McMahon was there to stop Show as well. Show had some blood coming out of his nose because Floyd’s punch rocked him a bit. Show spit on the ground as we saw blood coming out of his mouth. As show walked towards ringside, we saw more of the blood on Show’s nose and mouth. Shane tried to calm Show down, which led to Show walking to the back with Shane. Show said “my ring” to Shane, who was trying to reason with Show. Show laughed with the blood all over his mouth and the fans booed him.

Analysis: This was a fantastic angle. Show’s return was a surprise and the fans gave him a babyface reaction because Show left WWE for a year. The promo from Show sounded like he was there to be a face, but then going after an injured Rey got him a lot of heat. I don’t think anybody went into this show thinking that Floyd Mayweather was going to be part of an angle with Big Show. I thought Show was tremendous here looking pissed off about what happened with the bloody nose/mouth and really wanting to kick Floyd’s ass. That’s what made it interesting, though. Floyd didn’t hit him with worked wrestling punches that looked bad. The punches were good and did legitimate damage to a large man.

Floyd Mayweather attacks The Big Show: WWE No Way Out 2008

There was a replay of Floyd Mayweather punching Show in the face. The announcers said nothing. You could see the punches hitting Show’s nose and mouth, which is what caused the bloody nose and mouth.

There was a commercial for WrestleMania 24 in 42 days.

Jeff Hardy was shown warming up for the main event.

A video package aired for the WWE Championship match between champion Randy Orton and challenger John Cena. In early October 2007, WWE Champion Cena tore his right pectoral muscle with Vince McMahon saying that he would miss six months to a year. Randy Orton became WWE Champion. Cena was back at Royal Rumble, so he missed just under four months of action. Cena’s return was a surprise and his win was very memorable. Orton said since he put out Cena, he has become a very big deal. Cena challenged Orton to a WWE Championship match and Orton said since Cena can’t wait until WrestleMania, then the match is on for No Way Out.

Analysis: It was a rare thing for the Royal Rumble winner get their title match at the PPV before WrestleMania. I thought it was a dumb decision by WWE. We know what the endpoint was at WrestleMania 24, but I thought they could have gone about this in a better way. The Royal Rumble win should not lead to a title shot at No Way Out. It should be WrestleMania only. The good thing is that in the years that followed, WWE realized their error and didn’t really do this kind of thing again.

John Cena made his entrance first as the challenger and got a big ovation from the crowd. There were some boos, but mostly cheers for Cena on this night.

Randy Orton entered as the WWE Champion. Orton still had the “Hey…nothing you can say” song that was pretty catchy. The announcers did a nice job of putting this over as a big match.

WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. John Cena

Pre-match notes: Orton was the heel WWE Champion while Cena was the babyface challenger that was the Royal Rumble match winner. Orton was 27 years old while Cena was 30 years old. They both had many more years as main event wrestlers after this match. As I write this in 2021, Orton is still at the top of his game and very active in WWE while Cena is not.

The crowd was doing the “Let’s Go Cena/Let’s Go Orton” chants as Orton knocked down Cena and stomped on him. Orton worked over Cena with a punch to the ribs and then Cena came back with a whip into the turnbuckle leading to a bulldog for two. Cena with a running back elbow and elbow drop for two. Orton with a kick to the chest followed by punch, Orton did his pose and Cena got a rollup for two. Orton came back with a clothesline for two. Orton rocked Cena with punches while the fans were doing the dueling chants again. Cena sent Orton throat first into the top rope and then Cena jumped off the top with the leg drop to the back of the head for a two count. Cena charged right into a punch followed by some choking from Orton. Cena lifted Orton for an FU attempt, but then Orton slipped out with an uppercut to the chest. Orton did his stomping routine on the limbs of Cena including a stomp and punches on the right pectoral muscle that Cena had surgically repaired several months earlier. Cena with a corner whip, then he charged, Orton moved and Cena hit the turnbuckle. Orton with a side headlock for over one minute. Cena ran the ropes with two shoulder tackles and a spinning slam. Cena hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle fist drop, but then Orton slipped out of a FU attempt. Orton left the ring, Cena followed him out there, they exchanged punches and then they each got back in before the ten count. They exchanged punches in the ring and Orton hi a modified backbreaker for a two count. Orton set up Cena on the turnbuckle as some fans chanted “Cena sucks” at John, but then some fans cheered as Cena shoved Orton down. Cena with a leg drop off the top again and this time Orton moved, so Cena hit the mat hard.

Orton set up for an RKO as Cena got backup, Cena blocked it and hit a slam. Cena slapped ont the STF submission with the fans SCREAMING In support of Cena and also some of them wanting Orton to get out of it. Orton managed to crawl over to grab the bottom rope to break the hold. Orton left the ring where he was down on the ground grabbing his right knee. The referee Mike Chioda checked on Orton, which led to Orton telling Chioda to count him out and Cena left the ring, so Orton dropped Cena with an RKO on the floor. Nice job by Orton playing possum there. Cena was out on the floor, the referee reached eight, Cena started to move and Cena got back in before the ten count. Huge cheers for Cena beating the ten count. Orton had this stunned look on his face. Cena wanted Orton to fight, so Orton slapped the refere Mike Chioda in the face. Chioda called for the bell for the DQ finish. Orton smiled about it. The match was over at 15:51.

Winner: John Cena by disqualification (Orton remains the WWE Champion)

Analysis: ***1/4 It was the usual Orton vs. Cena match that we have seen many times in their careers. The fans were into the match with loud reactions for a lot of the nearfalls and big moments. They even popped big for guys beating obvious countouts. The finish was controversial since it was Orton blatantly getting disqualified to avoid getting beat by Cena and losing the title. It wasn’t a surprise that they would go with a cheap finish since this was only No Way Out and not WrestleMania.

Post match, Cena was upset about it and tried to talk to the referee about it, but Chioda’s decision was final. Cena grabbed Orton and hit him with the FU. Cena slapped on the STF submission with Orton tapping out, but it didn’t mean anything after the match. Cena let go of the STF after Orton sold it like he was choked out. Cena was frustrated as he stared at the WrestleMania sign and left. Meanwhile, Orton was down and out in the ring with Lawler saying it was a cowardly act by Orton. It sure was.

After Cena left to the back, Cena was announced as the winner by disqualification Orton was still the WWE Champion. Some fans booed, but a lot of them cheered.

Analysis: The next night on Raw, Cena faced Orton in a non-title match with Triple H as the referee. Cena got the win in that match. It would eventually set up a triple threat match at WrestleMania 24 between Orton, Cena and Hunter.

There was a locker room chat featuring Shawn Michaels and Triple H, who were both faces as allies in Degeneration X. They just alked about how they will do what they have to do to win, even if that means beating eachother.

The WWE Mobile predictions had fans picking Jeff Hardy with a 38% chance to win, Triple H at 31% and Shawn Michaels at 21%. JBL was only at 1%, so congrats to his family for taking the time to voting for him, I guess.

Triple H was the first man that entered. He got a big ovation since he was a face during this point in his career. Umaga was up next with the fans booing him. I always liked Umaga. Gone too soon. Umaga had a staredown with Triple H in his pod. JBL was the third man to enter the match and take his place in one of the four pods in the ring. This was near the end of his career. Jeff Hardy was the Intercontinental Champion. He got the biggest ovation in the match so far.

Analysis: I remember going into this thinking that WWE may finally pull the trigger on Jeff Hardy winning the WWE Title at WrestleMania, so he was my pick to win this match. I wasn’t writing on the internet at time because 2008 was so busy for me. I just think back to this show and that comes to mind.

Chris Jericho was up next. Good reaction for him. Jericho returned to WWE a few months earlier. This face run he had wasn’t a great time for his career, but he turned heel a few months later and had the best run of his career. Shawn Michaels was the last man to enter the match with a great ovation for him. He’s my favorite wrestler ever. Ross noted that Michaels won the first Elimination Chamber match in 2002.

Elimination Chamber Match #1 Contender to the WWE Championship: Shawn Michaels vs. John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga vs. Chris Jericho

Pre-match notes: The faces were Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Hardy and Chris Jericho while Umaga and JBL were heels. A lot of the time in EC matches it was three heels and three faces, but 4 on 2 is fine too.

The announcers are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

Michaels and Jericho started the match. They would go on to have the feud of the year in 2008 and one of the best feuds in WWE history. I loved it. That started a few months later, though, so in this match they are just two quality faces that can always put on good matches. Jericho hit a Northern Lights Suplex early on for a two count. Michaels got a backslide for two and Jericho came back with a clothesline followed by a backbreaker. Michaels nailed a forearm followed by an atomic drop, clothesline and elbow drop off the top rope was countered by Jericho, who got his knees up to block it. Jericho with a bulldog, Lionsault blocked by knees and Michaels kicked out of a Walls of Jericho attempt. Michaels teased a Sharpshooter and Jericho got an inside cradle for two. Both guys ran the ropes and they did a double cross body block. It was timed right because the clock ran down for the next man in the match.

Umaga was #3 with punches for both guys as well as clotheslines. Umaga hit a double clothesline on Jericho and Michaels at the same time. Umaga had Jericho on his shoulders, Michaels jumped on top and Umaga hit a double Samoan Drop. That was impressive. Umaga kicked Michaels out of the ring followed by a headbutt on Jericho. Umaga worked over Jericho with punches. Umaga splashed on the back of Michaels. Umaga decked Jericho with an uppercut to stop his attempt at some offense, Umaga missed a splash off the middle ropes and Michaels went up top with a lefty elbow drop on Umaga. Jericho put the Walls of Jericho on Umaga while Michaels put on a Crossface submission at the same time. The clock went down at that point, so again they timed it perfectly.

It’s JBL at #4 with a kick for Jericho and Michaels. It’s also worth pointing out that Michaels was a bloody mess as JBL hit him with a shoulder tackles and threw Michaels out of the ring. JBL worked over Jericho with punches against the turnbuckle followed by a boot to the face. Umaga slammed Michaels on the steel grating outside the ring while Jericho nailed a Tornado DDT on JBL for two. JBL sent Jericho into the turnbuckle. Umaga whipped Michaels hard against the turnbuckle followed by a kick that sent Michaels onto the steel again. The clock ticked down to zero.

Triple H is #5 in the match with a tackle on Umaga followed by punches. Facebuster by Trips on JBL and a Facebuster on Umaga as well. Triple H with a spinebuster on Jericho, a spinebuster on Umaga and a DDT on JBL got a two count. Umaga missed a corner charge, so Triple H grabbed him and whipped him face first into a pod glass. Ouch. Jericho missed a Lionsault on Triple H and Trips wanted a Pedigree on Jericho, but JBL nailed Triple H with a Clothesline from Hell. Jericho hit a Codebreaker on JBL and pinned him.

JBL eliminated by Chris Jericho

Analysis: They had a bit of a feud going at the time, so that elimination made sense.

After JBL was eliminated, he left the ring and went back in with steel chairs. JBL hit Jericho in the head with a chair (Jericho got hands up) and a chair shot for Michaels (Michaels got hands up I think) and a chair shot for Umaga, who did not get his hands up to block. Those were some nasty looking chair shots by JBL. Jericho was bleeding like Michaels, so that’s two men in the match so far. All four guys were down as the clock ticked down to zero again.

Jeff Hardy was #6 in the match with a forearm attack on Umaga followed by a kick and a corner dropkick on Michaels. Front suplex by Hardy on Jericho. Hardy with a corner dropkick on Umaga. Hardy hit a spinning splash off the turnbuckle on Hunter and Shawn, which drew a huge reaction. Umaga with a thrust kick on Hardy. Umaga with a spinning slam on Jericho. Umaga sent up Triple H upside down against the turnbuckle. Umaga whipped Michaels in leading to a bump over the top by Michaels and a headbutt by Umaga on Triple H. Jericho was against one the pods, so Umaga charged in with a running butt splash. It looked like he didn’t even hit Jericho and went crashing through the pod, but Jericho sold it like he got hit. Back in the ring, Michaels nailed Umaga with a superkick, Jericho with a Codebreaker on Umaga, Triple H with a Pedigree on Umaga and Jeff Hardy went up to the top of a pod and jumped off with a Swanton Bomb on Umaga. Jericho covered Umaga to eliminate him. The crowd was loud for those finishers.

Umaga eliminated by Chris Jericho

Analysis: That was a great sequence with four finishers in a row on Umaga and they got the loudest pop for Jeff’s Swanton Bomb. It also put Umaga over because it shows that it took a lot to get rid of him.

As soon Jericho got back up, Michaels decked him with a superkick. Hardy covered Jericho to eliminate him.

Chris Jericho eliminated by Jeff Hardy

Analysis: That was quick!

Hardy and Michaels got back up and Hardy hit a Twist of Fate on Michaels. Triple H tossed Hardy over the top onto the steel. Triple H hit a Pedigree on his best friend Michaels and pinned him to eliminate him.

Shawn Michaels eliminated by Triple H

Analysis: It was a bit of a surprise by Triple H, but it’s every man for himself in that setting.

Triple H and Hardy faced off. Triple H sent him onto the steel again. Hardy came back with a DDT onto the steel. Triple H did a blade job, so he’s the third man to be busted open in this match. Hardy whipped Triple H into the cage repeatedly. Hardy went for an attack on the steel, but Triple H caught him and Hardy with a back body drop sent Hunter into the ring when Hardy countered the Pedigree. The crowd was cheering that. Hardy top, Swanton Bomb attempt, but Triple H moved and Hardy hit the mat hard. Triple H with a Pedigree for the one…two…and no. Hardy kicked out. Huge ovation from the crowd for that.

Analysis: I remember thinking at that time that Hardy was going to win this match. Nope.

The fans were chanting “Hardy” leading to Triple H bringing a chair back into the ring. Hardy countered a Pedigree attempt with a low blow punch. Hardy went for a Twist of Fate, but Triple H countered him by pushing him off and Hardy hit the chair. Triple H hit a Pedigree on the steel chair and covered for the pinfall win. The match went 23:54.

Jeff Hardy eliminated by Triple H

Winner: Triple H

Analysis: ****1/4 That was an awesome match. A lot of fun to watch again. I think the timing is interesting because it was over five minutes less than the Chamber match from earlier in the show, but if you compare the two matches this one was a lot better. There was a lot more drama in this match with believable nearfalls throughout the match, they told interesting stories with everybody since JBL did a cheap attack after losing, it took a lot to get rid of Umaga, quick eliminations of Jericho and Michaels followed by a memorable final two sequence with Triple H and Hardy. I mentioned it above, but I thought Hardy was going to win after he kicked out of that first Pedigree. I think the crowd thought Hardy was going to win too, which is why they were so excited when he hit that low blow and nearly won. The ending was good because it wasn’t just a Pedigree – it was a final Pedigree on the chair, which was enough to put Hardy away.

Elimination Chamber Match Facts & Opinions

Wrestler that lasted the longest: Shawn Michaels at 20:25.

Most Eliminations: Triple H and Chris Jericho with 2.

Best Performers (3): Shawn Michaels – His selling was so good. Every time I watch these matches from the past it makes me miss him in the ring. He was the best.

Jeff Hardy – If he won this match the pop would have been one of the biggest of his carer because the Vegas crowd was totally behind him.

Triple H – Good job by Trips as usual in a Chamber match.

Most Memorable Moment: The rapid-fire eliminations of Umaga then Jericho was really well done and Michaels was out very soon after that too.

Replays aired of what happened. Triple H celebrated the win by pointing to the WrestleMania sign. Triple H continued his celebration to end the show.

Analysis: Triple H went on to challenge Randy Orton for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 24 in a triple threat with John Cena.

As for Jeff Hardy, he was suspended on March 10, 2008, for 60 days for violating WWE’s Substance Abuse and Drug Testing Policy. It was his second offense, so that’s why it was 60 days instead of 30 days. Jericho beat him for the IC Title on March 10, 2008.

This event has a runtime of 2:53:41 on WWE Network

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Show rating (out of 10): 7

This is a good show overall with an excellent Elimination Chamber match in the main event. The fans really wanted Jeff Hardy to win that match, but it ended up being the obvious choice as Triple H found a way to win. Jeff Hardy got suspended a few weeks after this. The other EC match wasn’t as strong, but I love the incredible Tombstone by Undertaker on Batista to win the match. The Cena/Orton match was okay with a very hot crowd although the finish was lame to get heat on Orton.

The tag team division and women’s division were mostly ignored on this show. It sucks, but that’s what happened in this era sometimes.

The most memorable part of the show may have been the Big Show return angle with Floyd Mayweather, which led to Mayweather punching Show in the face leading to a bloody nose and mouth. I thought that was booked so well. It’s probably one of the best angles of Big Show’s career and the involvement of Mayweather was perfect.

 

FIVE STARS

  1. Shawn Michaels
  2. The Undertaker
  3. Big Show
  4. Jeff Hardy
  5. John Cena/Randy Orton

 

OPINIONS

Best Match: Elimination Chamber Match #1 Contender to the WWE Championship: Shawn Michaels vs. John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga vs. Chris Jericho (****1/4)

Worst Match: Edge vs. Rey Mysterio (**) – Mainly because it was the shortest match.

Most Memorable Moment: I think Undertaker’s incredible Tombstone on Batista was amazing. It’s one of the best spots I’ve ever seen in an Elimination Chamber match.

That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.

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John Canton

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