It’s Elimination Chamber month in WWE since February is when the company usually holds their Elimination Chamber event. As I mentioned in the Survivor Series 2002 review, I’m going to review all 20 Elimination Chamber matches to help get us ready for this year’s EC PPV on February 25.
The second Elimination Chamber match was built around Raw’s World Heavyweight Championship just like the first Chamber match. Just like that first one, Triple H was the World Heavyweight Champion and in the middle of it all.
The Story Going Into The Match
The build up to the match was focused on Goldberg getting his first World Heavyweight Championship match after starting in WWE about four months earlier. Goldberg won feuds against The Rock and Chris Jericho, so it was on to bigger things. It was originally advertised as Goldberg challenging Triple H for the World Title, but that was changed on August 4 when Raw’s co-GM Steve Austin made it an Elimination Chamber match. Triple H was confident that he was going to win because he had Evolution backing him up, including Randy Orton.
There was also a bit of story with Chris Jericho and Kevin Nash where Jericho cut some of Nash’s hair. That was because Nash was in The Punisher movie, which led to Nash having a short blonde hairstyle.
America West Arena in Phoenix, AZ
August 24, 2003
A video package aired about the Elimination Chamber and this match. It also noted that Triple H went to the hospital after the first EC match with a throat injury.
Elimination Chamber Rules as explained by announcer Howard Finkel: Four participants enter and are confined in the four chambers. Two participants start the match. A new person will join the match EVERY THREE MINUTES at random, as opposed to every five minutes like it was at Survivor Series. If you get pinned or submit, you are out of the match.
Here’s the order of entrance: Randy Orton as a heel that walked out to the Evolution theme song. JR said Orton was 21 years old even though he was 23 years old at this time. Kevin Nash was a face with a short blonde haircut. Jericho cut his hair in a match where it was supposed to be where the loser was shaved bald, but Nash still had a short haircut. Triple H looked as jacked as ever as the heel World Champion with Ric Flair with him. He had on these modified tights because he was dealing with a groin injury. JR noted that Triple H hasn’t won at SummerSlam since 1998.
Bill Goldberg made his entrance to a big ovation. Lawler pushed the idea that Goldberg was the big favorite, which tells us that he’s not going to win. From my 2003 review: “He fell over while doing his kicks in the entryway. Ha, I laughed.” They were not shown on the WWE Network version. They went to a crowd shot. When the camera was back on Goldberg, he was laughing about it. Chris Jericho was out to boos since he was a heel. Big ovation for Shawn Michaels, who won the first Elimination Chamber.
Analysis: I thought Goldberg would win since it was a major show. It was really between him and Triple H with none of the other guys having much of a chance to win.
Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship – Triple H (c) (w/Ric Flair) vs. Goldberg vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Kevin Nash vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho
Pre-match notes: Triple H was the heel World Champion. Orton and Jericho were also heels. Goldberg, Michaels and Nash were the faces.
First two men are Jericho and Michaels. Was it a surprise that Jericho and Michaels started? No. Clearly the best workers in this match. Early on there was a springboard crossbody by Michaels and Jericho rolled over for two. Backslide by HBK gets two. A sunset flip attempt by Michaels is blocked for two. Michaels rolled through for two of his own. They exchanged slaps to the face. Back body drop by Michaels. Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho, but Michaels countered with an inside cradle for two. Jericho with a Facecrusher bulldog for two. A Lionsault by Jericho was avoided by Michaels and Jericho comes back with a clothesline.
The #3 man in the match is Randy Orton. He gets a high cross body block on HBK for two. Dropkick by Orton, clothesline over the top that sends Michaels over the top and onto the steel grating. Chops by Jericho, Orton with a modified backbreaker for two. Jericho with an enziguri on Michaels and Orton with a dropkick on Jericho. Orton stomps away on Jericho, Michaels shoves Orton into Jericho and Jericho hits a back body drop on Orton that sent him over the top with Orton landing back first on the steel grating on the outside. Bodyslam by Jericho on Orton on the steel. In the ring, Michaels goes for a dropkick, but it’s blocked by Jericho and turned into the Walls of Jericho. Lights go out for next entrant.
Kevin Nash is #4 man in the match. Nash sent Orton into the cage and he went after Jericho. Nash put Jericho on his shoulder and drove him headfirst into the black outside cage outside the ring. Jericho was bleeding while Orton went after Michaels. Nash hit a sidewalk slam on Orton for two. Nash picked up HBK out of the corner like he’s a friend and Nash clotheslined him. Nash with a big boot to Jericho. Fans were chanting for “Goldberg” while that was going on. Michaels nailed Nash with a surprising superkick as Nash was trying to Powerbomb Jericho and Jericho pinned Nash to eliminate him.
Kevin Nash eliminated by Chris Jericho
Analysis: Nash was only in the match for about two minutes. Thanks for showing up.
The #5 entrant is Triple H. As soon as the door opened, Michaels nailed Hunter with a Superkick. Nash nailed a Jackknife Powerbomb on Jericho. Nash sent Orton into Michaels with a headbutt to knock them both down. Nash hit a Jackknife Powerbomb on Orton as well. Nash left to cheers while the four guys in the match were all down around the ring. Goldberg was still in a pod. Michaels was bleeding from the headbutt collision with Orton. Michaels covered Orton, but Orton got his foot on the bottom rope. Michaels covered Jericho and Jericho got his foot on the rope. Orton, Michaels and Jericho were all punching eachother and staggering to sell the pain. The clock ticked down for the last name.
Goldberg is the #6 man to a huge ovation and he punches all three guys down. Gorilla press into a spinebuster by Goldberg on Orton. Wow that was impressive. Goldberg with a double clothesline on Michaels and Jericho. Goldberg with a spear on Orton and Goldberg pinned him.
Randy Orton eliminated by Goldberg
Jericho nailed a missile dropkick off the top on Goldberg for a two count. Gorilla Press Slam by Goldberg on Jericho that sent him into the cage. Goldberg whipped Michaels into the turnbuckle to knock him upside down. Goldberg nailed Jericho with a Spear into one of the pods. That looked painful and was really loud too. Michaels nailed Goldberg with a forearm and went up top with a flying elbow drop that connected. Michaels went for a Superkick, Goldberg ducked it and Goldberg nailed Michaels with a Spear. Goldberg pointed at Triple H to say he’s next. Goldberg picked up Michaels and hit a Jackhammer leading to a pin.
Shawn Michaels eliminated by Goldberg
Jericho was back in the ring, Goldberg charged in and hit a Spear. Goldberg with a Jackhammer on Jericho to eliminate him.
Chris Jericho eliminated by Goldberg
Goldberg and Triple H were the last two men left. Flair held onto the door to try to keep Hunter in the pod. Hunter gave Goldberg a middle finger salute. Goldberg kicked through the glass to break it. Goldberg pounded on Triple H with punches. Goldberg sent Triple H into the cage and of course Triple H was busted open. He bled a lot in PPV matches. Goldberg rammed Triple H’s head against chain cage. Triple H fought back by sending Goldberg’s head into the cage, but Goldberg bounced back quickly with a clothesline. As the broadcast was showing a replay, Flair slid a sledgehammer to Triple H. Goldberg set up for a Spear, but Triple H had the sledgehammer ready and he hit Goldberg in the head with it. Triple H covered for the win at the 19:12 mark.
Goldberg eliminated by Triple H
Winner: Triple H
Analysis: *** It was a good match with some interesting moments, but not as good as the first EC match. It was much shorter than that match due to the shorter intervals. Those were done because the show was running a bit late, but mainly because of Triple H’s groin injury. He really didn’t do much in the match and only one with one move – the sledgehammer to the head. Goldberg was booked really strong in the match since he beat three guys rather easily and looked like a force in doing so. When he hit the Spear it looked amazing. Better than anybody in wrestling history, in my opinion. Michaels and Jericho bumped their asses off for the others and made them look good, but it was obvious neither of them was going to win. The finish was done that way to keep the feud going.
After the match, Randy Orton and Ric Flair went into the ring. Triple H hit Goldberg in the head with the sledgehammer two times in a row. Goldberg was busted open. The heels handcuffed Goldberg’s hands to the outer chain link cage. Hunter nailed him with another sledgehammer shot to the face. Hunter taunted Goldberg, held the World Title in his hands and told Goldberg he’ll never see the World Title again. JR ranted about how this was repulsive and hideous.
Analysis: That was a vicious post match attack to set up their next match at Unforgiven 2003 one month later. Triple H was really hurting due to the groin injury, so he couldn’t do much in this match. I’m not sure if they would have had Goldberg win here if Hunter was the champion or if this was always the plan.
Replays aired of the key spots in the match as well as the post match attack.
The show went off the air with Triple H, Randy Orton and Ric Flair leaving the chamber together while Goldberg was a bloody mess in the chamber.
THREE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– Triple H was really limited in what he could do because of the groin injury. That’s why he had those weird looking longer shorts that were done to try to ease the pain. It’s also why they did the angle where Michaels nailed him with a Superkick and he just sat there. The bumps Triple H took when Goldberg went after him were basic. You could tell the plan was just to have Triple H get through the match without doing a lot and that’s what they managed to do.
– It was a bloody match with three guys (Jericho, Michaels and Triple H) bleeding during the match while Goldberg bled after the match was over. That was done to try to put over the violent nature of a match like this. It was common during this era, but obviously is not something we see in today’s WWE.
– Kevin Nash was only in the ring for 2:05. It was one of the worst performances in Elimination Chamber match history. Part of that is because he was an older guy at this stage of his career and limited in what he could do. He put over Jericho at least, so at least it was worthwhile in that sense.
FACTS & OPINIONS
Wrestler that lasted the longest: Chris Jericho at 16:03.
Most Eliminations: Goldberg with 3.
Best Performers (3): Chris Jericho – Give him credit for taking a beating in the ring. He made Goldberg look great.
Goldberg – The match was built around him, so have to give a spot to him.
Shawn Michaels – A typical good job by Michaels.
Most Memorable Moment: Goldberg hitting Jericho with a Spear through the pod. It looked impressive.
Match Rating: *** out of five.
Another fact about this match is that it was the shortest Elimination Chamber ever at 19:12. The next shortest Chamber match is about four minutes shorter, so it was the shortest by a lot. I think that was done to protect Triple H more than anything.
Ranking The Elimination Chamber Matches
Survivor Series 2002 World Heavyweight Title – ****1/4
SummerSlam 2003 World Heavyweight Title – ***
Next up: New Year’s Revolution 2005. I haven’t watched it since it happened, so it will be fresh for me again.