The Origins Of The WarGames Match Explained

WWE sometimes provides audiences with gimmick matches that offer a unique way to settle a score in battle. There's the Hell in a Cell match which features a giant, roofed cage where wrestlers win by pinfall or submission, while another unique match type is the Punjabi Prison match which requires the wrestler to escape two bamboo cages to win. 


But neither of those is as massive of a structure as the double-caged, side-by-side ring the WarGames match uses. The match was first introduced at NWA/Jim Crockett Promotions' Great American Bash 1987 tour, first identified as "War Games: The Match Beyond." The late, great Dusty Rhodes revealed in an interview that he came up with the concept after watching the 1985 film, "Mad Max Beyond ThunderDome."

At the time, The Four Horsemen featured Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Lex Luger, and J.J. Dillon, and the first-ever WarGames bout pitted the legendary group against The Dream Team, comprising of The Road Warriors (Hawk and Animal), Dusty Rhodes, Paul Ellering, and Nikita Koloff. The Dream Team won as J.J. Dillon surrendered after separating his shoulder following a deadly Doomsday Device from The Road Warriors.


A rematch later that month saw Dillon be replaced by Big Boss Man, but the result was the same as The Dream Team emerged victorious. A number of variations of The Dream Team would go on to dominate WarGames throughout its time in NWA.

Bringing WarGames to modern times

In the early '90s, WCW was no longer under the NWA banner, and introduced the WarGames concept at some of their shows, to a whole new fanbase. Eventually, WarGames became a regular fixture at WCW's Fall Brawl pay-per-view, and the match featured on the pay-per-view between 1993 and 1998. 


Many longtime fans consider the '92 WarGames match at WrestleWar as the time the concept truly hit its stride. Several storylines had been forming for weeks, centered around Sting and his feud with The Dangerous Alliance, with stars like Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham, and Dustin Rhodes in the mix as well. Sting's Squadron, as they called themselves, emerged victorious that evening. 

Before WCW went under, they held their final WarGames match on the September 4, 2000, episode of "Monday Nitro." The concept would remain dormant until 2017, when WWE resurrected the trademark for their developmental "NXT" brand, creating an annual TakeOver: WarGames event to showcase the match. The first women's WarGames match was also held in NXT, taking place in 2019.


WWE's WarGames was an "NXT" event until 2021 following which Survivor Series became the WarGames branded event in the company. The women's WarGames match kicked off the first WWE main roster WarGames show in November 2022, while the men's bout was the main event of the show. According to Chief Content Officer Paul "Triple H" Levesque, tying in WarGames with Survivor Series made it their most successful edition of the event yet.