WarGames match

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.


WarGames was created by Dusty Rhodes, and 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 the Great American Bash again in 1989. WCW used it originally in 1991 and 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 (theoretically determined by coin toss, but always the heel team) 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.

Match history

No. Match Event
I 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 left arm.
NWA Great American Bash
July 4, 1987
II 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.
NWA Great American Bash
July 31, 1987
III Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Lex Luger, "Dr. Death" 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.

July 16, 1988
IV The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk and Road Warrior Animal), The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane), and "Dr. Death" 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.
NWA Great American Bash
July 23, 1989
V 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.
February 24, 1991
VI 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.
May 17, 1992
VII 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
VIII Dusty Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes, and The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs 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
IX 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, 1995
X 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
XI 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.

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.

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.

The British Bulldog suffered a near career ending back injury earlier that night after he fell on the trap door WCW used for this stunt.

Page won the match by scoring the Diamond Cutter on Stevie Ray for the pinfall victory. He went on to Halloween Havoc to face Bill 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. To win, a wrestler would have to climb a ladder in the first level cage (a cage similar to WWE's "Hell in a Cell" cage) to reach the second cage (a normal size steel cage filled with weapons), then exit and climb atop a third, smaller cage to retrieve the title belt. The match could only end when a wrestler exited the bottom cage with the title belt in their possession.

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.

Spin-off matches

Extreme Championship Wrestling

Paul Heyman's Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion capitalized on the popularity of the WarGames match by holding a version of their own dubbed the "Ultimate Jeopardy Match".

Keystone Championship Wrestling

Keystone Championship Wrestling (KCW) has its own version of WarGames which it holds once a year at its anniversary show. One major difference in the KCW match is that the cage has no roof and to win one member of a team must climb out after everyone has entered the match.

Combat Zone Wrestling

CZW has use WarGames stipulations for the Cage of Death 5,6 & 7.

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.

World Wrestling Entertainment

In the past several years, World Wrestling Entertainment 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.

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 in April. The only differences are that one ring is used, the roof is lowered once everyone is in the ring, pinfalls are allowed and it is a six sided cage.

Ring of Honor

In December of 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 styles 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.

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 & Scott Steiner; Dustin Rhodes and Kirby & TJ Mack) def. Team JBL (Homicide & 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.

Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling

On October 26, 2007 Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling held a wargames match in Surrey B.C. Canada, one ring was surrounded by a Steel Cage, and the other was filled with weapons brought by the fans. Chill Town vs. Greatness On Demand vs. Fight Club vs. The Rejected.

IWA-Mid South

Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South, in association with NWA Midwest, presented "No Blood, No Guts, No Glory 2005" at the National Guard Armory in Valparaiso, IN 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.

CWF Mid-Atlantic

Burlington, NC based CWF Mid-Atlantic held a WarGames cage match to decide the fate of the company on February 23, 2007. "Team Cross" consisting of babyface commissioner William L. Cross, Ric Converse, Brad Attitude, Xsiris & Kamakazi Kid vs. "Team Destiny" of heel manager Ty Dillinger, Joey Silvia, Gemini Kid, Jake Manning & Steve Greene. Cross submitted to spare Converse a 5 on 1 attack after the rest of Team Cross had been incapacitated, thus resigning as commissioner for the first time in CWF history.

Bodyslam Wrestling Organization

On April 11, 2008, New Jersey-based independent promotion Bodyslam Wrestling Organization presented "BWO WAR GAMES" in Garfield, NJ. With an attendance of 1,307 fans, Team La Famiglia (Tommy Face, Dr. Callahan, Joey Da' Bull, Bobby Bahfahnablaminga, and Frankie C. Note) defeated Team BWO (Glenn Ulrich, Richie Rotten, Chaos, Eric Cooper, and Evan Myers) in a two-ring, one-cage match. In the course of the match, Myers turned on Team BWO and revealed himself to be the newest member of La Famiglia. Myers and La Famiglia mercilessly attacked young rookie Ulrich until Rotten surrendered the match to save Ulrich.

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