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WCW War Games: WCW’s Most Notorious Matches WWE DVD Review

July 17, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

When I heard about this DVD, I got pretty excited. War Games is one of my all-time favorite match types. At the same time, I missed several of them over the years, so when I found out it would be a collection of every televised War Games match ever, I was even more stoked. This would give me the chance to not only relive the ones I had seen, but finally witness all of the ones I had missed.

For those that don’t know, let me give a brief explanation on what War Games is. It’s two rings with a cage surrounding the entire thing, complete with a lid. One man starts for each team, and after timed intervals, another enters for the alternating teams. After all men are in (either 8 or 10), the match officially starts, and the only way to win is by submission or surrender.

The match was dreamt up (no pun intended) by “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, with the actual cage being designed by Klondike Bill. As a result, it is fitting that Rhodes hosts this DVD, and he does a great job. Rhodes introduces every match, gives a bit of backstory, and even includes history about the company when any important changes occurred throughout the years. Rhodes has always been a great story teller, and listening to him talk throughout the 3-disc set is honestly one of the highlights.

Now, onto the matches themselves. I’m not going to do a match-by-match analysis of this DVD, as we’d be here all day if I did. What I can tell you, however, is a little bit about the overall match quality. As good as War Games was as a concept, the matches are really hit-or-miss. Most of the early ones involving Rhodes, the Horsemen, Steve Williams, etc. are exceptionally good. These matches featured some of the best talent in the world, putting their heart and soul into what were, at least in the earliest incarnations, extremely physical, brutal matches that resulted in a lot of spilled blood, not to mention injuries that remained with some of these wrestlers for the rest of their lives (Arn Anderson cites repeated War Games matches as one of the reasons for his career being cut short). The first few years are fantastic, and even a couple of the ones from the 90s (Sting’s team vs. the Dangerous Alliance especially) range anywhere from good to fantastic.

Unfortunately, with any good match concept, they can’t all be five-star classics, and there are several War Games matches that have taken place that were almost unwatchable. For starters, the standard War Games formula was changed temporarily in 1988, and we got the Tower of Doom instead. This was basically a pre-cursor to WCW’s triple cage that they debuted in the celluloid crapfest known as Ready to Rumble (more on that in a bit). This time, it was teams of five, and the wrestlers had to climb to a cage at the top, fight their way down into the second cage, and then fight their way into the third, only to escape. The first team to completely escape was declared the winner. Despite the incredible talent in the match (Doc, the Road Warriors and Jimmy Garvin, to name a few), the match is a total clusterf*ck, and the cage looked like it was going to collapse at every turn.

If this was the only black eye, it wouldn’t be a problem. However, there are at least two other awful matches on this set, and unfortunately they were the last two War Games matches ever done, stamping a horrible black eye on a match with such a great tradition. The second-to-last was a 9-man affair that, despite the fact that there were three teams of three men in the match, it was actually every person facing everyone, with a stupid rule that the first pinfall ended the match, with the pinfall being able to take place before the entire field was in the ring. It was embarrassing, and you could hear a pin drop in the audience that night.

Somehow, the last installment outdid that one, which is no small feat. “War Games 2000” featured the triple cage I mentioned earlier, and once again, it was a team affair where everyone on the teams was actually facing each other. This time, the World title was on the line, and you had to climb up to the top of the cages, grab the belt, then bring it all the way down and leave the bottom cage in order to win. To make matters worse, the match featured Vince Russo as a competitor, not to mention Kevin Nash actually contributing less to the match than Russo himself. It was absolutely horrible, and one of the worst last chapters for wrestling you could ever imagine.

Black eyes aside, this is a great set, and Dusty Rhodes hosting really wraps the entire package up nicely. You can’t ask for someone better than the match inventor to host the set, as he not only created the match, but competed in many versions of it as well. After all of these years, most of the War Games matches still hold up as classics, and this is definitely a set you want for your collection. If you’re an older fan, you’ve probably already decided that you want this set, and you should go with your gut instinct. If you’re a newer fan, you should still get it, if for no other reason than to see why so many of us older fans love this match concept so much.

-Dustin

DISC 1

Creating the War Games

War Games Match
The Super Powers (Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff & Paul Ellering) vs. The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard & J.J. Dillon)
Great American Bash – Atlanta, GA * July 4, 1987

Great American Bash On Tour

War Games Match
Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff & Paul Ellering vs. The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard) & The War Machine
Great American Bash – Miami, FL * July 31, 1987

A Different Type of Animal

Tower of Doom Match
The Road Warriors, “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, Ron Garvin & Jimmy Garvin vs. Kevin Sullivan, Mike Rotunda, Al Perez, Russian Assassin & Ivan Koloff
Great American Bash * July 10, 1988

Brutality

War Games Match
Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger, Nikita Koloff, “Dr. Death” Steve Williams & Paul Ellering vs. The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard & J.J. Dillon)
Great American Bash Tour – Greensboro, NC * July 16, 1988

Live Events

War Games Match
The Road Warriors, The Midnight Express & “Dr. Death” Steve Williams vs. The Fabulous Freebirds & The Samoan Swat Team
Great American Bash * July 23, 1989

DISC 2

Getting Replaced

War Games Match
The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Sid Vicious, Barry Windham & Larry Zbyszko) vs. Sting, Brian Pillman, & The Steiner Brothers
WCW WrestleWar * February 24, 1991

Talent Change

War Games Match
Sting’s Squadron (Sting, Nikita Koloff, Dustin Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat & Barry Windham) vs. The Dangerous Alliance (Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Steve Austin, Larry Zbyszko & Rick Rude)
WCW WrestleWar * May 17, 1992

The Almighty Dollar

War Games Match
Sting, Davey Boy Smith, Dustin Rhodes & The Shockmaster vs. Sid Vicious, Vader & Harlem Heat
WCW Fall Brawl * September 19, 1993

A Really Special Night

War Games Match
Dusty Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes & The Nasty Boys vs. Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, Bunkhouse Buck & Colonel Robert Parker
WCW Fall Brawl * September 18, 1994

DISC 3

Pride in Their Product

War Games Match
The Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Lex Luger & Sting) vs. The Dungeon of Doom (Kamala the Ugandan Giant, The Zodiac, The Shark & Meng)
WCW Fall Brawl * September 17, 1995

Glimmer of a Fire

War Games Match
Team nWo (“Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & A Mystery Partner) vs. Team WCW (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger & Sting)
WCW Fall Brawl * September 15, 1996

Pulling Out Every Stop

War Games Match
Team nWo (Kevin Nash, Buff Bagwell, Syxx & Konnan) vs. The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Steve McMichael, Chris Benoit & Curt Hennig)
WCW Fall Brawl * September 14, 1997

The Talent Made The War Games

War Games Match
Team WCW (Diamond Dallas Page, Roddy Piper & The Warrior) vs. Team Hollywood (“Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, Stevie Ray & Bret Hart) vs. Team Wolfpac (Kevin Nash, Sting & Lex Luger)
WCW Fall Brawl * September 13, 1998

The End of the War Games

War Games 2000 Match
Sting, Booker T, Goldberg & KroniK vs. Kevin Nash, Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner & The Harris Brothers
WCW Monday Nitro * September 4, 2000

The Main Event

Blu-Ray EXCLUSIVES

Rage in the Cage Match
Brian Lee, Jimmy Golden, Ricky Morton, Robert Fuller & Robert Gibson vs. Kevin Sullivan, Killer Kyle, The Tazmaniac , Stan Lane & Tom Prichard
Smoky Mountain Wrestling: Volunteer Slam II * May 9, 1993

Ultimate Jeopardy Steel Cage Match
Tommy Dreamer, Public Enemy & The Pitbulls vs. Raven, Stevie Richards, The Eliminators & The Heavenly Bodies
ECW December to Dismember * December 9, 1995

Ultimate Jeopardy Steel Cage Match
Buh Buh Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley & Mustafa Saed vs. New Jack, Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney
ECW CyberSlam * April 3, 1999

War Games Fantasy Booking with Dusty Rhodes

Dustin Nichols is a freelance writer, and you can keep track of all of his work on his Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/DustinNicholsWriter. Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out his mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:

Dustin Nichols

Dustin Nichols is a freelance writer, and you can keep track of all of his work on his Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/DustinNicholsWriter. Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out his mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:

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