“WARGAMES!” would come the cry from William Regal. Big pop. Excitement ensues. A noble NXT tradition since 2017. Now Triple H is bringing wrestling’s most chaotic cage match to the main WWE roster.
We may have to do without the battlecry from the now All Elite Regal, but the hype around WarGames taking over this year’s Survivor Series is palpable.
The match, originally a Dusty Rhodes creation in Jim Crocket Promotions back in 1987, has a history of blood and mayhem that is almost unsurpassed in the world of professional wrestling.
While the blood has disappeared (along with the roof of the cage) since the match arrived in WWE, the mayhem is still very much at the forefront of the action.
Two teams. Two rings. One cage. Boatloads of carnage. What isn’t to love?
With only one more day to wait for the latest incarnations, we thought it best to whet the appetite with a trip down memory lane.
So here are our choices for the top five WarGames matches of all time. Now argue among yourselves in the comments.
Sting’s Squadron vs The Dangerous Alliance – WCW WrestleWar ’92
The Dangerous Alliance really deserve to be talked about a whole lot more. What a faction they were. Yes we all love Paul Heyman as the Wise Man of The Bloodline, but massive mobile phone toting Paul E.Dangerously was an absolute joy. And here, his Alliance go to war with Sting’s Squadron in front of a white hot Jacksonville crowd.
The talent on display here is like a who’s who of the WWE Hall of Fame; Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Rick Rude, Arn Anderson and a pre-‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin.
Naturally, the bout is wall-to-wall action, with buckets of blood and drama thrown in for good measure. Dustin Rhodes also does his father proud with a legacy defining performance for the babyface Squadron. Go well out of your way to watch this one.
The Stud Stable vs Dusty Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes and The Nasty Boys – WCW Fall Brawl ’94
A certified banger in any era, but even if the match had stunk, the sight of ‘The American Dream’ in a personalised Nasty Boys vest would have earned it an immediate five stars. Right before Hulk Hogan’s brand of sports entertainment became the norm in Dubyah See Dubyah, there was one last send-off for good old, fists and fury wrasslin’.
The legacies in this match is astounding: Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, Dusty and Dustin Rhodes. Wrestling royalty wherever you look. And combined with the chaos of the Nasty Boys and the cowardice of Parker, you had a Wargames for the ages.
Shoutout Terry Funk for using his only Wargames appearance to take a piledriver which saw him disappear down the gap between the two rings. A heroic cameo in the history of one of wrestling’s most notorious matches.
The Undisputed ERA vs SAnitY vs Roderick Strong and The Authors of Pain – NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2017
WWE’s first effort at WarGames was an absolute doozy. Even with the changes that were brought about for the NXT version. The roof disappearing and the rule change of pinfalls and submissions deciding the winner rather than ‘surrender’ were initially met with skepticism by purists. Yet all initial worry went out of the window when the bell rang.
The nostalgic nudge of Paul Ellering cage side, managing a couple of wrecking balls in AOP (rather than the Road Warriors) was a nice touch. As was the establishment of The Undisputed ERA as their generation’s Four Horsemen. A heel stable cementing themselves as the WarGames veterans over the first few outings for the match under the WWE/NXT banner.
Unsurprisingly, the match itself was absolute carnage, littered with jaw dropping stunts and creative weapon usage. There may have been some overkill towards the end, but for your first ever WarGames, go big or go home.
Team Ripley vs Team Baszler – NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2019
Admittedly, the inclusion of this match excludes many superior WarGames matches. However, from a historical standpoint, the first ever women’s WarGames has to make the list. Also, it was an incredible effort from all involved.
This banger came during a period where the NXT brand was receiving an extraordinary push against the main WWE roster. This was the ascension of Rhea Ripley. It was also the farewell tour of Shayna Baszler as the dominant NXT Women’s Champion, dropping the fall in the WarGames match and then the title to Ripley a few days later. Oh and it was also the scene of one of THE BEST heel turns in NXT history, when Dakota Kai murked Tegan Nox before entering the match.
Ripley’s heroism against the odds told a great story here, with the reaction to the match winning Riptide through the chairs one of the biggest of a Survivor Series weekend choc full of huge pops. A monumental moment for the women’s divisions across NXT, Raw and SmackDown.
The Road Warriors, Paul Ellering, Nikita Koloff and Dusty Rhodes vs The Four Horsemen – NWA Great American Bash ’87
The original and best. The atmosphere here is absolutely molten. This was a war that had been brewing for years. The Horsemen’s dominance over the NWA finally being put to the test after years of running rampant. They’d won every title possible, broken Dusty’s leg, wrecked Nikita’s neck and crossed many a path with the Road Warriors.
The culmination was the invention of a never before seen spectacle. It was the only way to bring things to a head. In the most violent manner possible. This was war from the opening bell until JJ Dillon’s surrender. Not a single second disappointed.
Star power wise, this bout is ludicrously stacked. Hall of Famers upon Hall of Famers. Also, we don’t talk about Horsemen Lex enough and we really should do. The Total Package was on fire throughout the late ’80s and once again shone in this match.
Every babyface entrance into this match is unchained. Wild eyed aggression and score settling wherever you look. Unbridled carnage and blood letting. Absolute brilliance, with Anderson somehow holding everything together, directing traffic towards Flair’s bumps and Hawk and Animals mountain moving powerhouse plays.
Every participant played their part to perfection here in a way we may never see again.
There are, of course, plenty of other WarGames matches for you to dig out on the WWE Network. Have yourself a time of it and binge through a selection of them before tomorrow’s showcases at Survivor Series.
Featured image credit: WWE