The second Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out 2008 featuring the Raw brand, which was clearly the “A” show back then when you compare the quality of wrestlers in this match with who was part of Smackdown’s match. My review of that Elimination Chamber match won by Undertaker is here in case you haven’t read it yet.
The Story Going Into The Match
The reason for this match is because Royal Rumble winner John Cena was allowed to challenge WWE Champion Randy Orton to a match at No Way Out instead of WrestleMania. Their match ended in a disqualification when Orton slapped the ref to get intentionally disqualified. The winner of this match was guaranteed a WWE Title match at WrestleMania. On the Raw after this show, it ended up becoming a triple threat match at WrestleMania.
WWE No Way Out
February 17, 2008
Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada
There was a locker room chat featuring Shawn Michaels and Triple H, who were both faces as allies in Degeneration X. They just talked 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 him 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: ****1/2 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.
Replays aired of what happened. Triple H celebrated the win 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, which ended with Orton retaining his title.
As for Jeff Hardy, he was suspended on March 10, 2008 for 60 days for violating WWE’s Substance Abuse and Drug Testing Policy and 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.
THREE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– I think the wrong guy won. It should have been Jeff Hardy. I wasn’t writing about WWE in 2008 because life was hectic, but I remember going into the Rumble that year thinking Jeff Hardy should have won it. Hardy wasn’t even in the match because he lost to Randy Orton in a WWE Championship match. When they set this up, I thought it was a no brainer that Hardy would win this and get the WWE Title for the first time at WrestleMania. Nope. They waited until the last PPV in 2008, Armageddon, to finally pull the trigger on Hardy. If you listen to the crowd, though, they were behind him more than anybody in this match and for whatever reason (likely Jeff’s drug issues), WWE didn’t want to pull the trigger on it leading to WrestleMania.
– Out of every Elimination Chamber match so far, this one did the best job of utilizing everybody in the match in an intelligent way. It was extremely well booked. By that I mean you knew JBL wasn’t going to win, but he sure left an impression after he was eliminated. Everybody played their part perfectly in the story of the match. I wonder if the match time was cut a bit because when the show ended there was only six minutes left in the broadcast, so maybe it was scheduled to go longer and they cut it a bit.
– There were some nasty chair shots in this match, which I’m not used to seeing anymore because WWE banned chair shots to the head. There were also three guys that were bloody too, so that’s something else you don’t see anymore. Like I said earlier in the review, that kind of stuff ended later in 2008 and the Elimination Chamber did just fine in terms of being violent matches even without the blood.
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.
Match Rating: ****1/2 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.
No Way Out 2008 WWE Championship #1 Contenders (Raw) won by Triple H – ****1/2
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 first Elimination Chamber match from No Way Out 2009.
Thanks for reading.