Iconic match: Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Edge vs. John Cena vs. Kane vs. Mike Knox, No Way Out 2009

And now, we come to the chamber. As explained above, the Elimination Chamber’s return is the impetus for this retrospective, and for good reason: Take the thrill of elimination matches, add in some randomness for entry sequences, and top it off with a terrifying prison of chains and steel, and you’ve got the modern-day standard bearer for hardcore. More than any match on this list, the Elimination Chamber succeeds in the PG Era because of its stipulations. It’s not just blood and bumps that make a chamber match great—it’s the drama inherent in its premise.

Which men will come out first? Who will be the last one out of the chamber (the match’s version of a hot tag)? Who will team up with who? It’s that last question that has also led to the best moments in the chamber’s history, including the best elimination sequence ever: John Cena falls victim to a Codebreaker from Chris Jericho, into a 619 from Rey Mysterio, into a Spear from Edge. Those 7 or so seconds explain the possibilities inside the chamber, where alliances are forged for the briefest moments, and where eliminations open up the ability to work together until the very moment you don’t.