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The WarGames match was a gimmick match used originally in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and later held annually in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), usually at their Fall Brawl pay-per-view event in September. The match usually involved two teams of four or five wrestlers locked inside a steel cage that encompassed two rings, but other variations were made.
- 1 History
- 2 WCW WarGames variations
- 3 Spin-off matches
- 4 See also
WarGames was created by Dusty Rhodes when he saw with his girlfriend the film Beyond Thunderdome and remembered the steel cages were part of his career. It was originally used as a specialty match for the Four Horsemen. The first two WarGames took place during the NWA's Great American Bash '87 tour, where it was known as War Games: The Match Beyond. It would be held at two house shows later that year, once in Chicago at the UIC Pavilion and the other at the NWA's debut at The Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.
The next year, it would be held during the Great American Bash Tour in 1988 at 11 house shows (one was released on the WWE Horsemen DVD). There is a rumor that three more house show WarGames matches occurred on July 6, 1988 in Tampa, August 1st, 1988 in Milwaukee, and on August 5, 1988 in Huntsville,Alabama, which would make it 14 house show WarGames matches in 1988. The Tampa show consisted of Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger, the Road Warriors and Paul Ellering defeating Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and J.J. Dillon when Dillon submitted. The Milwaukee show consisted of Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger, Sting and the Road Warriors defeating, Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and J.J. Dillon. The Inglewood show consisted of Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger, the Road Warriors and Paul Ellering defeating Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and J.J. Dillon when Rhodes forced Dillon to submit to his figure-4. The final War Games matches under the NWA banner were at The Great American Bash in 1989 and a house show rematch at The Omni in Atlanta.
WCW used it originally in 1991 at WrestleWar and at five house shows during the 1991 Great American Bash Tour and in 1992 at WrestleWar, before it became a traditional Fall Brawl event from 1993 to 1998. The earlier WarGames, generally from 1987 to 1992, are regarded as some of the best matches in NWA and WCW history.
The WarGames match consisted of two teams of either four or five men each facing off with each other in staggered entry format.
The setup of the cage consisted of two rings side by side with a giant ring-encompassing cage that covered both rings, but not the ringside area. Doors were placed at far corners of the rectangular cage so the two teams didn't come into contact before they were supposed to.
The match began with one member of each team entering the cage. After five minutes, a member from one of the teams (usually determined by a coin toss, but has also been determined by a match or by a contest such as an arm wrestling match, a live fan poll, etc.; this is almost always the "heel" team in order to provide heat) would enter the cage, giving his team the temporary handicap advantage. After two minutes, a member from the other team would enter to even the odds. Entrants alternated between teams every two minutes, giving the coin toss-winning team the temporary advantage in the numbers game before giving the other team the advantage with the freshest man and even odds.
Once all eight or ten men (depending on team size) had entered the cage, what was referred to as "the match beyond" began. Both teams would brawl in the cage for as long as it took until a member of either team submitted, surrendered, or was knocked unconscious. There was no pinfall and no disqualification, which often led to brutal and bloody confrontations.
|1||The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), Nikita Koloff, Dusty Rhodes, and Paul Ellering defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, Tully Blanchard, and James J. Dillon) at 22:10 when the Road Warriors forced Dillion to submit after a Doomsday Device where he landed awkwardly on his right arm.||The Great American Bash
July 4, 1987
|2||The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), Nikita Koloff, Dusty Rhodes, and Paul Ellering defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger and Tully Blanchard) and The War Machine at 19:38 when Animal forced the War Machine to submit by gouging his eyes with a spiked armband.||The Great American Bash
July 31, 1987
|3||Ron Garvin, The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), Nikita Koloff and Dusty Rhodes defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Lex Luger, and James J. Dillon)||Chicago, IL2
August 16, 1987
|4||Ron Garvin, Dusty Rhodes, Barry Windham and The Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) defeated Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane), Big Bubba Rogers, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard when Rhodes forced Lane to submit to the figure-four leglock||Long Island, NY2
November 25, 1987
|5||Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), Lex Luger and Paul Ellering defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and James J. Dillon) when Rhodes forced Dillon to submit to the figure-four leglock.||Orlando, FL3
June 26, 1988
|6||Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), Lex Luger and Paul Ellering defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and James J. Dillon) when Rhodes forced Dillon to submit to the figure-four leglock at 24:00.||Oakland, CA3
August 6, 1988
|7||Dusty Rhodes, Sting, Lex Luger, Nikita Koloff and Paul Ellering defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and James J. Dillon) in WarGames when Dillon submitted to Luger's Torture Rack.||Charlotte, NC3
July 2, 1988
|8||The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), Sting, Lex Luger and Paul Ellering defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and James J. Dillon)||Huntsville, AL3
July 12, 1988
|9||The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), Sting, Lex Luger and Steve Williams defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and James J. Dillon)||Chattanooga, TN3
July 14, 1988
|10||The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), Sting, Lex Luger and Nikita Koloff defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and James J. Dillon) when Dillon submitted to Sting's Scorpion Deathlock.||Richmond, VA3
July 15, 1988
|11||Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Lex Luger, Steve Williams, and Paul Ellering defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and James J. Dillon) at 21:10 when Rhodes forced Dillon to submit to the figure-four leglock while grabbing the ropes for additional pressure.||Greensboro, NC3 4
July 16, 1988
|12||The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), Sting, Lex Luger, and Nikita Koloff defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and James J. Dillon)||Cincinnati, OH3
July 21, 1988
|13||Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), Lex Luger and Nikita Koloff defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and James J. Dillon)||Philadelphia, PA3
July 23, 1988
|14||The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), Sting, Lex Luger and Nikita Koloff defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and James J. Dillon)||Johnson City, TN3
July 24, 1988
|15||Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), Sting and Nikita Koloff defeated The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and James J. Dillon) when Dillon submitted to Sting's Scorpion Deathlock.||Daytona Beach, FL3
July 28, 1988
|16||The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane), and Steve Williams defeated The Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy Garvin, Michael Hayes, and Terry Gordy) and The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu and Samu) at 22:18 when Hawk forced Jimmy Garvin to submit.||The Great American Bash
July 23, 1989
|17||The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane), and Steve Williams defeated The Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy Garvin, Michael Hayes, and Terry Gordy) and The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu and Samu)||Atlanta, GA 2
August 6, 1989
|18||The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Sid Vicious, and Larry Zbyszko) defeated Sting, Brian Pillman and the Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner) at 21:50 when El Gigante ran in to surrender the match on Pillman's behalf after he had been knocked out and legitimately injured by two botched powerbombs from Sid Vicious.||WrestleWar
February 24, 1991
|19||Sting, Lex Luger, The Yellow Dog, and El Gigante defeated Barry Windham, Nikita Koloff, Kevin Sullivan, and The One Man Gang at 16:38 when Kevin Sullivan submitted to El Gigante's claw hold.||East Rutherford, NJ
July 3, 1991
|20||Sting, Lex Luger, The Yellow Dog, and El Gigante defeated Barry Windham, Nikita Koloff, Kevin Sullivan, and The One Man Gang; Magnum T.A. was the special guest referee.||Norfolk, VA
July 6, 1991
|21||Sting, Lex Luger, The Yellow Dog, and El Gigante defeated Barry Windham, Nikita Koloff, Kevin Sullivan, and The One Man Gang||Richmond, VA
July 7, 1991
|22||Sting, Ron Simmons, Tom Zenk, and Robert Gibson defeated Nikita Koloff, The One Man Gang, The Diamond Studd, and Richard Morton||Greensboro, NC
August 10, 1991
|23||Sting, El Gigante, Barry Windham, and The Yellow Dog defeated Cactus Jack, Kevin Sullivan, The One Man Gang, and Arn Anderson||Jacksonville, FL
August 24, 1991
|24||Sting's Squadron (Sting, Nikita Koloff, Dustin Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, and Barry Windham) defeated The Dangerous Alliance (Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Steve Austin, Larry Zbyszko, and Rick Rude) at 23:27 when Sting forced Eaton to submit with an armbar after Zbyszko had accidentally struck Eaton in the shoulder with a metal piece of a dismantled turnbuckle.||WrestleWar
May 17, 1992
|25||Sting, Davey Boy Smith, Dustin Rhodes, and The Shockmaster defeated Sid Vicious, Vader, and Harlem Heat (Kane and Kole) at 16:39 when The Shockmaster forced Kole to submit with a bearhug.||Fall Brawl
September 19, 1993
|26||Dusty Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes, and The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags) defeated Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, Bunkhouse Buck, and Robert Parker at 19:05 when Dusty Rhodes forced Parker to submit.||Fall Brawl
September 18, 1994
|27||The Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Lex Luger, and Sting) defeated the Dungeon of Doom (Kamala the Ugandan Giant, The Zodiac, The Shark, and Meng) at 18:47 when Hulk Hogan forced Zodiac to submit using a Camel Clutch.||Fall Brawl
September 17, 19955
|28||The nWo (Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and nWo Sting) defeated Lex Luger, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and Sting at 18:15 when nWo Sting forced Luger to submit to the Scorpion Deathlock.1||Fall Brawl
September 15, 1996
|29||The nWo (Buff Bagwell, Kevin Nash, Syxx, and Konnan) defeated The Four Horsemen (Chris Benoit, Steve McMichael, Ric Flair, and Curt Hennig) at 19:37 when McMichael asked for the match to be stopped in order to prevent further punishment to Flair. Curt Hennig, having recently replaced Arn Anderson as a member of the Four Horsemen, showed up while nursing a hurt arm, only to turn on the Horsemen and aid the nWo to a 5 on 3 victory.||Fall Brawl
September 14, 1997
1 The real Sting only made a brief appearance in the match, entering and cleaning house on the nWo before departing (due to distrust on the part of his teammates) and not returning, giving the nWo a 4 on 3 advantage for the end of the match.
2 Un-aired house show matches
3 Part of the 1988 Great American Bash tour which were all house shows.
4 Was released on WWE's Four Horsemen DVD in 2007.
WCW WarGames variations
In 1998, WCW decided to try something different and converted WarGames into a 3-team, 9-man competition (with the same cage and entry format, but they allowed pinfalls) for the #1 Contendership to the WCW World Heavyweight Title.
- Team WCW consisted of: Diamond Dallas Page, Roddy Piper, The Warrior
- Team Hollywood consisted of: Hulk Hogan, Stevie Ray, Bret Hart
- Team Wolfpac consisted of: Kevin Nash, Sting, Lex Luger
Hogan entered the cage early, by force, so he and Stevie Ray could take out all the other participants, including their teammate Bret Hart. When Hogan went to pin Kevin Nash, smoke engulfed the ring and it appeared that The Warrior had magically entered the cage. Hogan and Stevie Ray beat him down, but more smoke appeared, and when it cleared away The Warrior was gone leaving Hogan holding his coat. The real Warrior then ran out from the back to enter the match. Hogan would eventually force his way out of the cage door, with Warrior following suit by climbing up the cage wall and kicking it in.
Davey Boy Smith suffered a near career ending back injury earlier that night after he fell on the trap door WCW used for this stunt. He became dependent on painkillers during his rehabilitation from this injury which would ultimately contribute to his early death. Perry Saturn was also injured from the trap door, but not as severely.
Page won the match by scoring the Diamond Cutter on Stevie Ray for the pinfall victory. He went on to Halloween Havoc to face Goldberg for the title, only to lose after being hit with a spear and Jackhammer.
After no WarGames match was held in 1999, Vince Russo brought back WarGames in a new format he called "WarGames 2000", with the tagline "Russo's Revenge". It was held on the September 4th episode of WCW Nitro in 2000. The match consisted of two teams vying for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in the three-tiered cage first seen in the climax of the WCW produced film Ready to Rumble and later used at Slamboree in May 2000. The rules were similar to the Slamboree match— the belt would be hanging from the rafters of the arena to start the match and a wrestler was required to climb up a ladder to escape the Hell in a Cell-ladder-hardcore-cage match with first and bottom cage (a.k.a. Caged Heat- a cage similar to WWE's "Hell in a Cell" cage), being a hybrid HiaC/Ladder match which your character gains control of a ladder and climbs up through a trap door in the ceiling of Caged Heat and this gains you enter the second cage (a.k.a Hardcore Hell- a normal size steel cage filled with weapons), inside this cage you have trashcans lining the side of the cage with all sort of weapons in them the object is to find a pair of bolt cutters hidden in one of the trashcans and use them to cut the chain locking the door and use it to cut the chain and exit the cage and escape from Hardcore Hell and climb up the side of the cage to enter atop a third, smaller cage (aka the Weapons Room) now this room as a certain kind of weapon that is used by one the wrestlers this can be Kendo sticks, guitars, sledgehammers, and etc. The object here is too climb on top of the weapons room to retrieve the title belt (or object) and you win the match. However, in this match, the wrestler who grabbed the title did not automatically win the belt. Instead, the wrestler had to climb back down into both cages and leave the cage with the belt in his possession, at which point the match would end and the wrestler would be the world champion.
The match pitted Sting, Booker T, Goldberg, and KroniK (Brian Adams and Bryan Clark) against Russo's hand-picked team: WCW World Champion Kevin Nash, Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner, and The Harris Brothers (Don and Ron).
The match had been scheduled as a four-on-four match, with Sting, Booker T, Goldberg and Ernest Miller against Nash, Jarrett, Steiner and Russo. Earlier in the night, each man from the first team was forced to wrestle a qualifying match to compete: Sting beat both Vampiro and The Great Muta in a handicap match, Goldberg defeated Shane Douglas, and Booker T had to defeat his brother Stevie Ray. However, Miller lost to KroniK in a handicap match, making it five-on-four. Thus, when it was his turn to enter, Russo sent the Harris Brothers instead, making it even.
During the match, Nash teased a betrayal: when he entered the first cage, he chokeslammed Sting then grabbed Steiner, Jarret and Russo by the throats. However, as Vince Russo was later walking to the door Nash grabbed and hugged him.
The Harris Brothers and KroniK drove each other out of the arena. Booker T retrieved the belt from the top, but Russo interfered on behalf of his team. Ernest Miller entered the ring but was Jacknife Powerbombed by Nash. Steiner and Jarrett handcuffed Sting and Booker to the walls of the second cage. Goldberg broke free of the handcuffs which held him to the turnbuckle of the ring and attempted to leave the cage with the belt, but was cut off by Bret Hart, who slammed the cage door in his face. Nash then retrieved the title belt and walked out the cage door, retaining the title.
Combat Zone Wrestling
Combat Zone Wrestling has used WarGames stipulations for the Cage of Death 5, 6 and 7. For Cage of Death 5 there were eliminations that would happen when a wrestler would hit the arena floor; however, Cage of Death 5 also had rules that the wrestlers who were not tossed out of or off the cage, that they could travel a scaffold hanging above another ring filled with thumbtacks to safety, scoring points for the team. For Cage of Death 6 there were eliminations that would happen when a wrestler would hit the arena floor much like Cage of Death 5 the year before, the difference being that the tag team titles were hanging on a scaffold stretched across the length of the top of the cage overlooking the two rings.
Cage of Death 7 just had standard pinfall and submissions after all combatants entered the cage. For 2008's Cage of Death, the WarGames rules returned with pinfalls and submissions that could be done throughout the match.
Xtreme Pro Wrestling
Rob Black's Xtreme Pro Wrestling promotion also capitalized on the popularity of the WarGames match by holding one of their own, called "Genocide," with the same rules. However, the XPW version of the cage had a cover over only one of the rings, permitting wrestlers to (hypothetically) brawl atop the cage and do table spots off the top of the cage; the cage, however, was extremely poorly constructed, and started to fall apart during the match, preventing most of the promised action.
In the past several years, WWE has held a match called the Elimination Chamber. When it was announced by Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff, he claimed that it was partially inspired by WarGames. A new version of this match, dubbed the Extreme Elimination Chamber, was introduced at ECW December to Dismember 2006; the primary difference between the two is that the Extreme Elimination Chamber features weapons inside the pods and could be used after each participant entered the match.
WWE sent out a survey in October 2009 to WWE fans asking what they wanted to rename the pay-per-view Judgment Day. One of those choices was WWE War Games.
In recent years WWE has included an Elimination Chamber Tornado Tag Team Elimination Match similar to War Games in its yearly WWE video game franchise.
In June 2013, WWE released a DVD anthology set, War Games: WCW's Most Notorious Matches.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) has their own variation of the WarGames match, entitled Lethal Lockdown and held at TNA's annual Lockdown pay per view. The only differences are that one ring is used, the roof is lowered once everyone is in the ring, the roof has weapons, and pinfalls are allowed.
Ring of Honor
In December 2005, Ring of Honor held the first Steel Cage Warfare match. It was used to settle the year long feud between Generation Next and their former leader Alex Shelley, who was now with The Embassy. The match consisted of only one ring but followed the War Games match in that two wrestlers from each team started the match, and after five minutes another wrestler would enter, then every two minutes after another wrestler would enter. The main difference, however, is that the match was an elimination match.
In July 2006, Ring of Honor held another War Games style match to settle their feud with Combat Zone Wrestling. ROH challenged them to a Steel Cage Warfare match, but CZW said they would only compete if it were their Cage of Death match.
In September 2008, Ring of Honor held a three 'team' Steel Cage Warfare match. This pitted the team of The Briscoe Brothers and Austin Aries, against the team of The Age of the Fall represented by Delirious, Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black, against Necro Butcher who fought alone with no partners. The match was held under the same rules, stating Butcher although alone could be drawn and enter the match at any time regardless of a man advantage held by the other teams.
In June 2013, another Steel Cage Warfare match was held, pitting an ROH team of BJ Whitmer, Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal and Kevin Steen against the S.C.U.M. team of Jimmy Jacobs, Rhino, Cliff Compton and Rhett Titus, where if the ROH team wins, S.C.U.M. must disband, but if the S.C.U.M. team wins, Steve Corino replaces Nigel McGuinness as match maker. Team ROH won the match on a taped episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling television.
Major League Wrestling
On September 19, 2003 at the War Games TV Taping held at the Fort Lauderdale, FL War Memorial Auditorium, the Funkin' Army (Terry Funk, The Sandman, Steve Williams, Sabu, and Bill Alfonso) defeated The Extreme Horsemen (Steve Corino, Simon Diamond, C. W. Anderson, PJ Walker, and Barry Windham) when Funk made Corino submit following a fireball to Corino's face.
The match was shown on Florida's Sunshine Network
United Wrestling Federation
On September 21, 2007 United Wrestling Federation held a WarGame match in Richmond Va. Team Sgt. Slaughter (Rick and Scott Steiner; Dustin Rhodes and Kirby and TJ Mack) def. Team JBL (Homicide and Hernandez; Steve Corino; CW Anderson and Elix Skipper) in a double ring double cage WarGames match when Scott Steiner submitted Corino with the Steiner Recliner as Slaughter simultaneously submitted JBL with the cobra clutch.
Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South presented "No Blood, No Guts, No Glory 2005" at the National Guard Armory in Valparaiso, Indiana on Saturday night, 7/2/2005. The match pitted "Team Ian" Ian Rotten, Axl Rotten, Chris Hero, Corporal Robinson and Bull Pain against "Team Fannin" BJ Whitmer, Eddie Kingston, Mark Wolf, JC Bailey, and Steve Stone and "Team NWA" Eric Priest, Chandler McClure, Tank and Sal and Vito Thomaselli in a double-ring, double-cage, three-team War Games match, with the winning team taking full control of the IWA-MS. The match was won when JC Bailey caused his own team to be outnumbered, allowing Ian Rotten's Team IWA to capitalize and win the match.
Women Superstars Uncensored
Women Superstars Uncensored presented the first ever War Games match with female wrestlers on November 19, 2011 as part of their Breaking Barriers II iPPV. The match featured two trios - Team WSU of Mercedes Martinez, Alicia and Brittney Savage, and the Midwest Militia of Jessicka Havok, Allysin Kay and Sassy Stephie. The match was contested in a steel cage surrounding only one ring, but all other rules were the same as the original concept. The Midwest Militia won the match when Havok threatened to murder Martinez with a machete, and Savage surrendered on Martinez's behalf.
- WCW War Games: WCW’s Most Notorious Matches 2013. WWE.