Matches from History: WCW Wargames 1992

wargames-1992

Jamie Lithgow

Because I really like watching old school WCW at the moment I figured I’d join the resurgence of our ‘Matches from History‘ series and offer up this piece of brilliance from WrestleWar ’92.

The Wargames match was, roughly, an annual event for WCW. Although due to the companies ever evolving structure it never actually found a home on any specific PPV. It started to make regular appearances at WrestleWar but when that PPV was discontinued after 1992 it shifted to the newly created Fall Brawl until 1998. Sadly it has not been seen since.

For those unfamiliar with Wargames bare with me while I explain the rules, they’re not as straight forward as WWE’s over simplistic stipulations these days. Firstly it is a cage match, a cage with a roof, thus it is like a small Hell in a Cell. Secondly, there are two rings over which the cage stretches. The reason for the two rings is simply to accommodate all the action; there are no rules about wrestlers being in a certain ring like Battlebowl or World War 3. It is a team vs. team match, on this occasion it is 5 vs. 5. One man from each team starts the match, this period lasts for five minutes. At the end of the five minutes a coin toss takes place to determine which team will gain the advantage by sending in the next wrestler. The third man enters the match to make it two on one, however after two minutes the opposing team can send their next man in to level things up. The teams alternate sending in a new wrestler every two minutes until all ten men have entered the match, at which point The Match Beyond can begin. There cannot be a winner until all ten men have entered the match, but once they are in the cage the only way to win is by submission or surrender. Got it? Let’s get to the match…

So, we have Sting’s Squadron vs. The Dangerous Alliance. Sting’s team consists of himself, obviously, Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes and Nikita Koloff. They are opposed by Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton and Larry Zbyszko. For added spice Paul E. Dangerously (that’s Paul Heyman if you don’t know) and Madusa are at ringside for the bad guys too.

Stunning Steve Austin and Barry Windham kick us off for the initial five minute period, and what a start. The crowd is white hot for this match, which must have been a contributing factor to some world class performances throughout its duration. Austin and Windham engage in a wild brawl with big Barry gaining the advantage as the five minute mark approaches. The cameras concentrate on the ringside area to reveal the result of the coin toss, which the heels won obviously. Simple wrestling psychology says that the heels must win the coin toss in order to receive an advantage over the courageous babyfaces during the match. Much as I love them, that predictability factor is a drawback to Wargames matches. Anyway, back to the match and Rick Rude enters the cage to some incredible heat from the already electric crowd. Austin can grab a bit of a breather while Rude and Windham go at it but he’s soon on his feet to make use of the two on one advantage.

The two minutes fly by because in no time at all Ricky Steamboat is charging into the ring, to a superb reaction from the crowd I may add, what a pop he got. Steamboat is the proverbial “house on fire”, dishing out DDT’s and even using the roof of the cage as leverage to put the smackdown on Rude and Austin. Again, the action is so wild and the crowd is so pumped that two minutes fly by and here’s Double A Arn Anderson. He comes in and cools down Mr Steamboat with a huge spinebuster, I mean what a spinebuster! The high impact moves in this match keep coming. Dustin Rhodes enters the fray next and goes straight after Anderson, he then rams Austin’s head into the roof of the cage. Zybszko is the next man in, and to freshen things up he is the only man not have an immediate impact upon entering the cage. Upon his arrival into the ring, Dustin Rhodes proceeds to give him a right good kicking! At this point, the heels start to panic and Madusa is sent up to the roof of the cage to try to break in. She is met at the top by Sting who more or less stands there until she climbs back down, which of course she does. Back in the ring the bad guys are starting to make their numbers advantage count, but not for long because Sting is the next man in for his team. He jumps into action to the pop of the night and kicks ass left right and centre, as any top babyface would. At ringside Beautiful Bobby is taping his fist in preparation for his arrival. With nine men in the ring it is total carnage, blood everywhere, what a match!

Last but not least Nikita Koloff hits the ring. Prior to the match Koloff’s loyalty to his teammates had been questioned due to his previous run as a heel. However, all doubts are extinguished as he teams up with Sting to smash up some bad guys, after which they oddly engage in some unusually timed bromance with double high 5’s and a hug… very random. The match resembles exactly what it is supposed to be, a war. The crowd is still pumped and there are still some big moves getting thrown in. As the action is going on Beautiful Bobby is shown fiddling with the turnbuckle, which has come loose due to Rick Rude’s dastardly antics. He and Zybszko decide that Sting should get hit with the metal end of the turnbuckle. However, heels being heels it all goes wrong. As Eaton is holding Sting, The Living Legend takes a swing at The Stinger who ducks leaving poor Bobby to feel the force of the blow on his shoulder. Before the bad guys can react Sting slaps an armbar on Beautiful Bobby who is forced to submit. The winners by submission are Sting’s Squadron. Post match the rest of The Dangerous Alliance are visibly rather upset with Zybszko who gets shoved around a bit before things calm down.

What did I think of the match? Brilliant! This is one of my favourite WCW matches, which is why I chose to review it, I had just forgotten how good it is. The action is intense, it never lets up. When you watch Royal Rumble matches you will see plenty of rest holds and there will be plenty occasions when not much is happening. In Money in the Bank matches you can see the wrestlers lying around at ringside waiting on a cue, not in Wargames though. There is always plenty happening in Wargames and the cameras are actually in the cage ready to catch it. You might think that if Sting and Koloff are hugging it out in one ring the guys in the other ring could take it easy as spectator’s eyes will be elsewhere, no chance. A rest hold to Rude and Steamboat is a Figure 4 Leglock.

I will freely admit that there are some Wargames matches that are complete nonsense but this is, in my opinion, the best of the bunch. This is a lesson on how to book a multi wrestler match, it is action packed from the first second to the last. The whole match lasts around 23 minutes but the time absolutely flies by. I can’t see WWE ever reviving the Wargames concept but they could learn a great deal for MITB, Survivor Series and The Royal Rumble by watching this match. Please watch it too, it’s awesome!

You can read all ‘Matches from History’ pieces here

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