The complete history of WarGames

Page 2 of 5
September 18, 2012

The Early Battles

Dusty Rhodes takes on The Four Horsemen in WarGames

The stage was set for the first WarGames matches, held during the 1987 Great American Bash. At the time, The Bash was a tour of live events throughout the Southeastern United States, rather than a singular pay-per-view.

“The Match Beyond” would open and close the tour, and neither night went well for The Horsemen. The first WarGames was contested, fittingly, on July 4, 1987, at the Omni Coliseum in Atlanta. Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Lex Luger and manager JJ Dillon were pitted against The Super Powers of Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff, The Road Warriors and their manager, Paul Ellering. 

The Horsemen had some luck, winning the coin toss to get a one-man advantage in the early goings, with Blanchard and Anderson beating down “The American Dream.” The original WarGames was a brutal battle, with most of the competitors donning crimson masks by the time the smoke cleared.

In the end, though, the wild cards were the managers. No one had any idea how Dillon and Ellering would fare in the vicious battle. Dillon’s fate was decided as soon as he stepped into the cage. The WWE Hall of Famer struck Road Warrior Hawk with an elbow. The blow looked like it affected the monstrous Hawk as much as much as a mosquito bite. Then, the Road Warrior laid into Dillon, leading an unrelenting offensive by the heroes on the legendary manager. The strategy of focusing on Dillon paid off for The Road Warriors and The Super Powers. A Doomsday Device dumped Dillon shoulder-first into the canvas, injuring the Horsemen’s caretaker. The Road Warriors continued attacking the injury until Dillon had no choice but to submit.

The brutal ending to the first match forced Dillon out of the rematch on July 31 at Miami’s Orange Bowl. In his place, the mysterious, masked monster called War Machine joined The Four Horsemen in facing The Super Powers, The Road Warriors & Ellering. With Dillon out of the equation, The Horsemen seemed to have an advantage over their opposition. However, Rhodes’ team proved that they could outthink Flair’s crew. The Road Warriors, Rhodes & Koloff isolated War Machine in one ring, taking the monster off his feet with repeated clotheslines. Somehow, Animal was able to sneak in one of his trademark spiked wristbands, which he used to scrape at the monster’s face until he surrendered, teaching The Horsemen that they weren’t the only crew that be vicious when the time was right. (WATCH)

WarGames was contested several more times throughout 1987, including at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., in November of that year.  One of the greatest tag team rivalries in sports-entertainment history was taken to a new level as The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express teamed up with Rhodes, Barry Windham & Ronnie Garvin to face Jim Cornette’s Midnight Express, Big Bubba Rogers, Anderson & Blanchard.

The following year, the gigantic cage was brought out of storage as a special attraction for the 1988 Great American Bash tour. Nearly a dozen WarGames Matches were contested over the summer, pitting different combinations of Rhodes, The Road Warriors, Koloff, Ellering, Sting, Lex Luger and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams teaming to take on The Four Horsemen. (WATCH)

By the end of 1988, the landscape of Crockett Promotions was changing as new stars emerged and Ted Turner slowly took over the company, molding it into what would become WCW. The Four Horsemen were no more, as Anderson and Blanchard left for WWE, along with Dusty Rhodes. This left plenty of space for hungry talent eager to ascend to the top of sports-entertainment.

The Road Warriors and “Dr. Death” found new soldiers to enter WarGames with in The Midnight Express, Stan Lane and Bobby Eaton. They stood across the steel battleground from The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin & Terry Gordy) and Paul E. Dangerously’s vicious Samoan Swat Team. The experience of the three bruisers, along with the wiles of Eaton and Lane, paid off, as Hawk forced Garvin to submit to a hangman’s neckbreaker. (WATCH)

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