For the first time in nearly 20 years, a double-ring steel cage hosted a WarGames match at NXT Takeover: War Games. It's been 30 years since the first War Games match took place and up until recently many felt there would never be another one.
Something many fans are unaware of, however, is just how many War Games matches have actually taken place. Well, 32 separate War Games matches have taken place in less than 30 years.
Many of these matches occurred on house shows, however, so the same match could be brought from city to city without fans catching on to a pattern. For example, technically the four Horseman were involved in the first 15 War Games matches, all of which took place between 1987-1988.
In 1992, the decision was made to only hold the War Games annually. By 1999, WCW decided to no longer hold the event, though Vince Russo would book an alternate version of the match on an episode of Nitro in 2000.
Of all 32 War Games matches to ever have been contested, this article looks at the top five. Just in case you plan to go back and watch some of these matches (highly recommended) the results have been omitted.
#5 The Dangerous Alliance vs. Sting's Squadron (WrestleWar 1992)
Paul Heyman's time in WCW was short and controversial. His "Dangerous Alliance" stable during his time in the company is a well-regarded one, even if it was quite short-lived.
The Dangerous Alliance stable consisted of "Stunning" Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Eaton, and Ric Rude. With Dusty Rhodes having left the company, Sting became the new leader of the good guy team at War Games. His squadron was Nikita Koloff, Barry Windham, Ricky Steamboat, and Dustin Rhodes.
This match was the main event of WrestleWar 1992, the 4th and final edition of the PPV.
#4 The Dream Team vs. the 4 Horsemen (Great American Bash Night #3 1987)
In 1987 the Great American Bash was a 3-show event put on by Jim Crockett productions. Crockett was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance but would sell his promotion the following year to Ted Turner. After acquiring the company, Turner would re-name it World Championship Wrestling.
Nights 1 & 3 of 1987's Great American Bash were main event'ed by War Games matches while Dusty Rhodes would face Tully Blanchard in a barbed-wire match on night 2.
Dusty Rhodes' team would consist of the Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff, and Paul Ellering. The four-Horseman team included Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, and Ray Traylor (aka the Big Bossman) who was filling in for Horseman manager, J.J Dillon.
#3 Sting's Squadron vs. the 4 Horseman (WrestleWar 1991)
Unlike most War Games matches which are 5-on-5, this match was only 4-on-4.
This 4-Horseman team was a bit of a mish-mash of quasi-horseman as well. Ric Flair teamed with Barry Windham, Sid Viscious, and Larry Zybyszko. Sting would team up with Brian Pillman, and Rick & Scott Steiner.
The top reason why a roof was not used on the cage in the most recent War Games match can perhaps be found near the end of this match from 1991. The low roof prevented a competitor from executing a move properly and he ended up legit knocking his opponent out.
#2 Father and Son Unite in Battle (Fall Brawl 1994)
By 1994, Dusty Rhodes was back in WCW and united with his son, Dustin. The two would always have a troubled relationship as Dusty was not home much for Dustin when he was growing up.
Dustin had become a star in WCW and would team with his father in War Games this year. As War Games was the brainchild of Dusty Rhodes, it must have meant a lot for them to team together in the match.
Dusty and Dustin teamed up with the Nasty Boys to take on Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, Bunkhouse Buck, and Ron Parker.
#1 The Inaugural Battle (Great American Bash Night 1, 1987)
The most highly regarded WarGames match of all time is the first one ever to take place. While some will debate which match was actually the best or most entertaining, there can be no doubt the first one was the most important.
The concept for the match was sound but it was way the match was executed the first time out which would shape how it was presented for years to come. This match was unlike anything which had ever come before it in wrestling history. WarGames instantly became known as the bloodiest and most dangerous match in wrestling. If the first WarGames match ever had been the one since 1998, it wouldn't have developed the reputation that it has.
The inaugural WarGames featured Dusty Rhodes' Dream Team of himself, the Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff, and Paul Ellering against the 4 Horseman of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Lex Luger, and their manager, J.J Dillon.