Throwback Thursday: The Best of ‘WarGames: The Match Beyond’ on WWE Network

September 10, 2015 by Brock Allen

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Throwback Thursday: The Best of “WarGames: The Match Beyond”

“WarGames: The Match Beyond” was a staple of WCW. From 1987 to 2000 “WarGames” was the mother of all blow-off matches. From The Four Horsemen to The Dungeon of Doom, The Stud Stable to New World Order, “WarGames” settled scores and ended feuds. 15 years ago this month, on the Sept. 4, 2000 NITRO, the final “Ready to Rumble”-inspired “WarGames 2000” took place. This week Throwback Thursday on takes a special look at the very best of “WarGames: The Match Beyond” on the WWE Network.

WWE Dusty Rhodes - Creator of WarGames Match

In 1987, looking for a proper blow-off for the Hoursemen/Rhodes saga, the late Dusty Rhodes devised the single-most innovative match in wrestling history. Inspired by the 1985 film Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, “WarGames” was designed to be the ultimate battleground but soon became NWA/WCW’s all-star game; the one match a year where the top heels and the top babyfaces squared off with the conclusion of a major angle hanging in the balance.

Only the 9 PPV “WarGames” matches are presently available on the Network. For a complete history, including every recorded “WarGames”, check out the WWE Home Video anthology WarGames: WCW’s Most Notorious Matches (2013). Now it’s time… let the “WarGames” begin!


“WarGames: The Match Beyond” (WATCH)
“Team Freebirds” w/Paul E. Dangerously: Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, Terry Gordy, Samu, & Fatu  vs.
“Team Road Warriors” w/Paul Ellering & Jim Cornette: Road Warrior Hawk, Road Warrior Animal, Bobby Eaton, Stan Lane, & Steve Williams
NWA-WCW Great American Bash ’89: The Glory Days • July 23, 1989

WCW Great American Bash 1989 - WarGames Match

The first “WarGames” on PPV was also the only one centered exclusively around tag teams. This one came about after a brutal attack on Hawk after a “Steel Cage Match” between the Road Warriors and Gordy & Garvin on the July 14th edition of Power Hour. The only champions in this match are the NWA World Tag Team Champions Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin.

Eaton and Garvin start it out until Gordy joins the fray, making it a 2-on-1 “Freebirds”. “Dr. Death” hits the ring and press slams Gordy 8 times into the top of the cage. Samu is next in followed by Animal 2-minutes later and the street fight begins. Fatu makes in 4-on-3 “Freebirds” until Stan Lane evens the sides. Michael Hayes enters the ring to make it 5-on-4 “Freebirds” and DDTs all four babyfaces. Hawk comes in last and “The Match Beyond” begins. After some brawling the babyfaces turn their attention to Garvin’s neck. After a series of neck-breakers and clotheslines Hawk traps Garvin in a hangman’s neckbreaker to score the submission victory at 22:26. After the match the heels trap Animal in the cage for the beat down until Hawk rips the cage door open and makes the save. As far as “WarGames” go this one is very nearly flawless and holds up extremely well 26 years later.

WINNERS are “Team Road Warriors” (Submission, 22:26)

“WarGames: The Match Beyond” (WATCH)
“Team Sting”: Sting, Brian Pillman, Rick Steiner, & Scott Steiner vs.
“The Four Horsemen” w/NWA TV Champion Arn Anderson: Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Sid Viscous, & Larry Zbyszko(sub. for Arn Anderson)
WCW WrestleWar ’91: WarGames • May 17, 1991

WCW WrestleWar 1991 - WarGames Match

After a year and a half absence “WarGames” returned with a vengeance with the first-ever 4-on-4 edition. The major story going in was the attack on Pillman by the Horsemen on the Feb. 23rd edition of WCW Saturday Night (taped Feb. 4th) that “injured” Pillman’s shoulder. Champions in this match included NWA U.S. Tag Team Champions the Steiner Brothers and the NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair.

Pillman breaks away from his teammates and starts the match with Windham in one of the best opening periods of any “WarGames”. Flair’s in next and with Windham go to work on Pillman’s shoulder. Sting enters next, making it 2-on-2, and takes it the “Horsemen”. Zbyzsko makes it 3-on-2 “Horsemen” until Rick Steiner evens the sides. Sid’s in next to make it 4-on-3 “Horsemen” and “Team Sting” is in trouble. Scott Steiner comes in last and the “The Match Beyond” begins. After quadruple figure-four leg locks spread across the two rings Pillman’s weakened shoulder finally gives out. Singled out Pillman is at the mercy of Sid who botches one powerbomb before finishing Pillman with a second. El Gigante rushes the ring, tears the cage door open, and halts the match at 22:50 in favor of “The Four Horsemen”. A rare heel victory, this was a bloody, solid brawl from start to finish and is truly one of the best “WarGames”.

WINNERS are “The Four Horsemen” (Knockout, 22:50)

“WarGames: The Match Beyond” (WATCH)
“Sting’s Squadron”: Sting, Nakita Koloff, Dustin Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, & Barry Windham vs.
“The Dangerous Alliance” w/Paul E. Dangerously & Madusa: Rick Rude, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbyszko, & Steve Austin
WCW WrestleWar ’92: WarGames • May 17, 1992

WWE - Paul Heyman's Strategy for WarGames Match

The main talking point going into this “WarGames” was the legitimate bruised spleen and two cracked ribs Sting suffered at an April 12th house show in Atlanta, GA against Vader. This was Sting’s first match back. Champions in this match include the WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion Rick Rude and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sting.

Austin and Windham start out with five of the most bloody, action-packed minutes in “WarGames” history, making full use of both rings, the cage, and the roof. Rude enters next for the 2-on-1 “Alliance” advantage until Steamboat evens the sides. Anderson makes it 3-on-2 “Alliance” while Dustin Rhodes evens it up and turns the match around. As Zbyszko enters the match to make it 4-on-3 “Alliance” Madusa climbs to the top of the cage before Sting forces Madusa down. Sting is in next to even it at 4-on-4 until Eaton enters to make it 5-on-4 “Alliance”. Koloff comes in last and “The Match Beyond” begins. There is action all over; in and between the rings, up and down the cage, on the mat and in the air. Rude unhooks the metal turnbuckle which Zbyszko picks up. Eaton holds Sting, who moves, and Eaton takes the turnbuckle in the shoulder. Sting knocks down Zbyszko, cinches up an armbar on Eaton, and gets the submission win at 22:26. To many, with its excellent psychology and execution, this is the greatest “WarGames” since the debut match.

WINNERS are “Sting’s Squadron” (Submission, 22:26)

“WarGames: The Match Beyond” (WATCH)
“Team WCW”: Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, & Sting vs.
“Team New World Order” w/Ted DiBiase: “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, & A Mystery Partner
WCW Fall Brawl ’96: WarGames • Sept. 15, 1996

Team WCW vs. Team nWo - WarGames Match

After 3 years of largely flops, “WarGames” returned to vintage form in 1996. Amid the growing power and influence of the New World Order, WCW was consumed by mistrust and fear, after “nWo Sting” attacked Lex Luger the real Sting was booted from “Team WCW”. The sole champion in the match is WCW World Heavyweight Champion “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan.

Arn Anderson and Scott Hall start the match with a solid opening round. Kevin Nash comes in next for the 2-on-1 advantage until Lex Luger evens the sides. Hogan comes in next to make it 3-on-2 “nWo” and the assault intensifies. While “Team WCW” wants to spread the action out across the rings “Team nWo” wants to keep it all in one. Flair evens the sides next and the action finally spreads out, with “Team WCW” having its best advantage yet. “nWo Sting” (Jeff Farmer) debuts and gives “Team nWo” the 4-on-3 advantage. The real Sting hits the ring last as the crowd erupts and “The Match Beyond” begins. Sting takes out “Team nWo” single-handedly before telling Luger to stick it and walking out. As soon as Sting leaves the “nWo” pounces on Luger. “nWo Sting” puts Luger in the scorpion death lock while Hogan cinches in a front chancery for the “Team nWo” victory at 18:21. While nearly every other “WarGames” marked the end of an angle, this match was the end of the beginning.

WINNERS are “Team nWo” (Submission, 18:21)

Final Thoughts:

Since the end of WCW fans have longed for a “WarGames” revival in WWE. While the first-ever “Elimination Chamber” at Survivor Series 2002 was a classic, it only fanned the “WarGames” flames. The most recent iterations of this came first in 2013 with the announcement of Battleground. For weeks speculation raged about the size of the arena and a potential “WarGames” revival. In 2014 fans were abuzz that the Wyatt Family/Shield angle was headed towards a WG-themed “Elimination Chamber” blow-off in February while 2 months later, following Extreme Rules, a Shield/Evolution “WarGames” was certain to take place at Payback. Neither came to pass.

Talk of resurrecting “WarGames” will never end. But in the current “TV-PG Era” of WWE, where even the “Elimination Chamber” and “Hell in a Cell” are watered-down reminders of past triumphs, “WarGames” is better left to history. After 14 editions of TNA’s “Lethal Lockdown” only the classic Lockdown 2007 match has come close to “WarGames”. Like Clash of the Champions and Starrcade, “WarGames: The Match Beyond” is a fond relic of a bygone era and a bygone promotion. Though the concept is no more its history survives in the hearts and minds of the fans who lived it and is immortalized forever on the WWE Network for future generations to be shocked and entertained by.

WWE - WarGames Cages in WCW

That’s it for this week’s TBT on WDN. As always, thanks very much for reading. If you are a Network subscriber, check out the matches, see them for yourself, and share your thoughts.

Until next week, see ya at ringside!

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5 Comments left on this article...

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  1. Joe Young says:

    The original War Games match was the best!

  2. Mark Markson says:

    Speaking of WCW, I noticed more Nitro episodes from 1997 and 1998 have been uploaded. As far as I can see, 1997 is complete now.

  3. Omar says:

    Can you do another Fantasy Concept plz?

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