This article originally appeared in 2011.
The Elimination Chamber is one of the newest versions of the classic wrestling staple, the cage match. Going back as far as 1937, cages have been used to settle high profile feuds in professional wrestling for decades. Over time, the cages have evolved to structures that are big on danger and high on buy rates. Now we will take a look at five of the greatest cages used in wrestling history.
5. Hell in a Cell
There’s a reason why this beast gets its own pay per view every year. Four sides of chain link fence that not only surround the ring, but the floor around it as well. There’s no escaping the cage in this match which means pinfall or submission is your only way to win. Well, you can escape. Its been done. But even escape yields no safety. The first two matches defined a generation of wrestling fans. Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker set the bar. Then Mick Foley went crashing through it. Over the years we’ve seen gallons of blood spilled in this match and careers get made and shortened at the same time. Last night’s show was no exception.
4. Domed cage
Inspired by Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, numerous wrestling promotions have used the dome cage over the years. Some are closed at the top. Most have a small opening at the top of the curve. You think climbing up a straight cage wall is hard? Try climbing up a half circle then escaping through a hole only slightly larger than your body. Called the Thunderdome, Thundercage, Steel Asylum or the Dome of Death, any way you call it its going to mean a lot of pain and a night of suffering.
3. Elimination Chamber
Billed as having more steel and more miles of chain than the barrier walls at the side of the freeway, this prison may be WWE’s most devious creation of all time. Part Hell in a Cell, but with actual and more painful chains instead of chain link. Part Domed structure, with absolutely no possibility of climbing out. Its also a lottery and an endurance match. Two men start, four men enter at intervals, and the battle starts right away. It only stops when one man is left standing. That’s right. Anytime you see the Chamber you’re about to see five main event level stars get pinned. The only possibility of luck in this match is the luck of being first eliminated. Yes, its true, you didn’t win the title (or even become #1 contender). But you got out of the match early. Your back is not slammed on the steel floors. Your body does not shatter glass which is intended to be shatter proof. There’s a reason this horror is only used once a year. Its takes that long for the scars to heal from the previous year.
For years NWA/WCW was seen as the also ran to the larger WWF. Sure, they had great wrestlers and spectacular matches. However, they never had that cross over that WWF saw during the Rock n Wrestling days. What better way to compete than to create one of the most awe inspiring visuals in professional wrestling history? Two rings side by side. Then a giant cage is set up to cover both squared circles. It starts out as a one on one match, however the WarGames are battles between teams. Not only are there two rings, double the cage, and multiple wrestlers fighting each other. But we also have scheduled additions to the match. You, the fans, are guaranteed to see an uneven battle for most of the night! Two on one, three on two, and so on. The uneven assaults usually benefit the heels, and that last face to enter the match and even the odds gets the biggest reaction of the night. Its a gimmick that is now owned by WWE and wrestling fans have wanted to see it brought out of mothballs at least once. Its unknown if that magic coin that always tossed in the heels favor is still around.
1. Blue Steel
Classic. Those of us who grew up on Hulkamania think of this when we think of cage matches. Huge blue pipes of metal. Big enough holes to put a camera through, or get a body part stuck. So big it had to be brought out in sections. And that was part of the show. Once you saw one piece of the wall come out, the entire arena started to buzz. Its here and its huge. Will someone escape? Will they go over the top or through the door? Will someone jump off of the cage? Guaranteed to cause deep welts, bruising and most likely some blood. For a generation of kids in the 1980s WrestleMania 2 was one of the biggest and greatest VHS rentals of all time. Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy in a 15 foot high steel cage? I love seeing Mankind fly, or the Four Horsemen use their number advantage in WarGames. But nothing compares to being a child and seeing Bundy squashing Hogan while framed within these blue pipes.