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History of WarGames (1987-1998... and beyond!)

posted Oct 7, 2017, 7:33 PM by Wrestling Scout
One of the many gimmick matches from the mind of Dusty Rhodes, WarGames was the biggest and most memorable.  The concept was simple - surround two rings with a steel cage have team members enter one at a time until everyone is in and then the "Match Beyond" begins and only one team wins when someone submits or surrenders.

While there were 30 WarGames over the 10 years that they ran about 2/3rds of them were house show matches that did not air.

Most Apperances

In 1987, the WarGames match was prominently featured during the Great American Bash tour.  It headlined shows at the Omni in Atlanta and the Orange Bowl in Miami and was a blow-off match for the feud with the Four Horsemen and Dusty Rhodes' alliance of babyfaces. 

1. Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff, Dusty Rhodes & Paul Ellering vs. Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, Tully Blanchard & James J. Dillon)
The Great American Bash - Atlanta, GA - July 4, 1987

The Great American Bash - Miami, FL - July 31, 1987 

Chicago, IL - August 16, 1987 

Long Island, NY - November 25, 1987 

The match was brought back the following summer and included many of the same individuals.  None of these were part of the Great American Bash event that was held in Baltimore.

5. Road WarriorsLex LugerDusty Rhodes & Paul Ellering vs. The Four Horsemen (Ric FlairArn AndersonBarry WindhamTully Blanchard & James J. Dillon) 
Orlando, FL - June 26, 1988 

6. Road WarriorsLex LugerDusty Rhodes & Paul Ellering vs. The Four Horsemen (Ric FlairArn AndersonBarry WindhamTully Blanchard & James J. Dillon) 
Oakland, CA - August 6, 1988 

Charlotte, NC - July 2, 1988 

8. Road WarriorsStingLex Luger & Paul Ellering vs. The Four Horsemen (Ric FlairArn AndersonBarry WindhamTully Blanchard & James J. Dillon) 
Huntsville, AL - July 12, 1988 

Chattanooga, TN - July 14, 1988 

Richmond, VA - July 15, 1988 

11. Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Lex LugerSteve Williams & Paul Ellering vs. The Four Horsemen (Ric FlairArn AndersonBarry WindhamTully Blanchard & James J. Dillon) 
Greensboro, NC - 4 July 16, 1988 

Cincinnati, OH - July 21, 1988 

Philadelphia, PA - July 23, 1988 

Johnson City, TN - July 24, 1988 

Daytona Beach, FL - July 28, 1988 

Image result for wargames steve williamsThis year, the match was part of the Great American Bash event, but it was not the main event (that was the first match between Ric Flair and Terry Funk) and the first that did not feature the Four Horsemen on the heel side.  They featured it at an Atlanta house show soon after as well.

16. Road Warriors, Midnight Express & Steve Williams vs. The Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy & Jimmy Garvin) & The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu and Samu)
The Great American Bash - Baltimore, MD - July 23, 1989 

17. Road WarriorsMidnight Express & Steve Williams vs. The Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy & Jimmy Garvin) & The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu and Samu)
Atlanta, GA August 6, 1989 

After a year and a half of no WarGames matches, it was brought back (not long after Dusty Rhodes' return) and again featured the Four Horsemen battling the top babyfaces.  This one was the first time that the heels won a WarGames match, the goal being that Sid Vicious brutalized Brian Pillman and it would help both men (Sid to become a more credible top heel and Pillman as a more sympathetic babyface).  It was more of a tool to further storylines than to be a blow-off.  Flair left, the Four Horsemen dissolved and the WarGames matches in the summer were a strange hodge-podge of faces and heels squaring off.

18. The Four Horsemen (Ric FlairBarry Windham & Sid Vicious) & Larry Zbyszko) vs. Sting, Brian Pillman & Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott)
WrestleWar - Phoenix, AZ - February 24, 1991 

East Rutherford, NJ July 3, 1991 

Norfolk, VA July 6, 1991 

Richmond, VA July 7, 1991 

Greensboro, NC August 10, 1991 

Jacksonville, FL August 24, 1991 

1992 - 1998
Image result for wargames dangerousBeginning in 1992, WarGames became an annually event.  The match at WrestleWar `92 is popularly considered the best WarGames match with a great story going in (Sting's babyface army against the Paul E. Dangerously's heel faction) and the match itself was well executed.  Subsequent years had similar approaches, but the match was no longer a bloody culmination to a feud.  The 1996 one was part of a hot angle with the nWo involvement and perceived defection of Sting (which led to his long absence and re-emergence as "Crow" Sting) and the second time a heel group won.  The last two were angle-filled as well and neither was particularly good and the WarGames match was unofficially retired in 1998.

24. Sting's Squadron (StingNikita KoloffDustin Rhodes, Ricky SteamboatBarry Windham) vs. The Dangerous Alliance (Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Steve AustinLarry Zbyszko & Rick Rude)
WrestleWar May 17, 1992 

25. Sting, Davey Boy SmithDustin Rhodes, and The Shockmaster vs. Sid Vicious, Vader & Harlem Heat (Kole & Kane)
Fall Brawl September 19, 1993 

Fall Brawl September 18, 1994 

27. The Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Randy SavageLex Luger & Sting) vs. The Dungeon of Doom (Kamala, The Zodiac, The Shark & Meng)
Fall Brawl - Asheville, NC - September 17, 1995 

28. The nWo (Hollywood Hogan, Scott HallKevin Nash & nWo Sting) vs. Lex LugerRic FlairArn Anderson & Sting
Fall Brawl - Winston-Salem, NC - September 15, 1996 

29. The nWo (Buff Bagwell, Kevin Nash, Syxx & Konnan) vs. The Four Horsemen (Chris Benoit, Steve McMichael, Ric Flair & Curt Hennig)
Fall Brawl - Winston-Salem, NC - September 14, 1997 

30. Team WCW (Diamond Dallas Page, Roddy Piper & The Warrior) vs. nWo Hollywood (Hollywood Hogan, Bret Hart & Stevie Ray) vs. nWo Wolfpac (Kevin NashSting & Lex Luger)
Fall Brawl - Winston-Salem, NC - September 13, 1998 

Since that last bizarre 3 teams of 3 men variation in 1998, WCW never held another one.  In the Fall of 2000, Vince Russo booked a strange WarGames 2000 match with qualifying matches and a triple-decker cage that led to Kevin Nash to retaining his title just weeks before his match with Booker T (who was also in the match).

The success of the original WarGames matches led several companies to try to follow in the legacy of the WarGames match.  ECW had their "Ultimate Jeopardy" Cage match, Smoky Mountain had their "Rage in the Cage," Ring of Honor did "Steel Cage Warfare," CZW's "Cage of Death" match used elements of WarGames at times and even the WWE's Elimination Chamber has aspects of the WarGames match.  MLW even called their's "War Games" and one team was the "Extreme Horsemen" (which included Barry Windham).

Since WCW was purchased by the WWE, fans have talked about the return of WarGames.  Being a creation of another company, there has always been resistance.  However, Paul Levesque's NXT is going to reboot the match for an upcoming Takeover special in November of 2017.  While it might lack the heat and blood of the original matches, it has potential to be an exciting match!