For many years, the legendary match known as War Games had disappeared from the world of pro wrestling, and that was too bad. This spectacle was a tremendous concept, featuring two sides going into battle in not only a steel cage, but two rings side by side as well, which allowed for ample opportunities for mayhem. Early versions featuring the likes of the Four Horsemen versus various Dusty Rhodes led troops became the stuff of legend and rightly so, as the matches delivered more often than not.
The rules of the match were complex, but not really needlessly so. Both sides would send one of their men into the cage and at the end of five minutes, one of the teams (determined by a coin flip, but with the heels nearly always winning) would be able to send a second participant in for the next couple minutes at which time the other crew could send in someone to even the odds. This back and forth would continue until all men were in the cage and “The Match Beyond” would begin, which signaled the ability to actually win the contest…by submission only.
It was the ultimate way to end a feud between two factions.
When WWE bought WCW in 2001, everyone wondered when we may see WarGames again. It took seventeen years (!!!!) for the match to resurface on the major league level showing up in NXT. Crazier still, despite owning the name and match itself, it has never appeared on as a WWE main roster encounter. There are tons of theories as to why this is of course, mostly centering around Vince never wanting to acknowledge that one of his competitors actually had a good idea.
Could be that.
Could also be he caught Fall Brawl 1995 and said, “Awwww heck no, we ain’t ever doing that.”
Which would, by proxy, mean Vince wasn’t a fan of the legendary DUNGEON OF DOOM.
As a bit of backstory. Hulk Hogan had come into WCW and was in need of opponents once he blew through the likes of the usual suspects such as Ric Flair and Big Van Vader. Knowing his penchant for overcoming the odds, the WCW booking team came up with the idea of not just one foe for Hogan to battle, but rather an entire legion he’d need to make his way through, a gang united with a common purpose: to end Hulkamania.
Led by the “Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan, the crew featured the likes of Meng (Haku) and Kamala, as well Brutus Beefcake as Zodiac, who painted his face black and white and screamed “yes! no!” for no discernible reason. We also got my old friend John Tenta, best known as Earthquake, but turned into a Shark here. Even the almighty Hulkster couldn’t combat such a crew solo, so he got together with Randy Savage, Sting, and a newly turned babyface Lex Luger. The two teams would collide at the Fall Brawl PPV in War Games.
But not before we got some totally insane promos by Kevin Sullivan.
You know it’s personal when the camera zooms in not only on a man’s eyes, but to the point it appears to go straight down his throat…
…or when dead flowers are presented as gifts as a recital of “I love you, I love you not, in fact I hate you” is on display.
But do you know how you can really tell who truly despises Hulk Hogan and wants him gone forever?
That guy beats his action figure over the head with a shovel.
And he does this during a lightning storm.
That, my friends, is true HATRED.
OH! And you also run over his “prized motorcycle” with a monster truck.
Seriously, look at the poor Hulkster, looking as though he’s going to lose his mind.
Which I’m pretty sure he did, as he tells us he had his Hulkamaniac team, and I am just quoting here, “drink a couple gallons of agent orange.” I’d say that’s total BS, but he also tells us that he saw Andre the Giant’s son show up (part of a ridiculous tangent where WCW was referring to Giant Paul Wight (Big Show) as such) so maybe it was involved.
Finally, he puts his men through the paces in what appears an actual war zone.
That or maybe the set of the Indiana Jones stunt show at Disney World, take your pick.
Considering WCW used to tape shows there, I’m going with the latter.
Mean Gene shows up right before the match and tells us we need to “pull up our socks and get ready”, which can mean only one thing: the drugs in WCW in 1995 were OFF. THE. CHARTS.
We’re going to war.
With that, the cages begin to slowly lower from the roof and we get more fireworks than I saw the entire Fourth of July weekend this year. They shoot off any more and the whole building may go up in smoke.
The Dungeon makes their way to the ring, looking quite stoic and rather imbalanced you may say. Considering Michael Buffer tells us that Meng is weighing in tonight at 315 pounds (!!!!!), that may make sense.
Hogan and his crew are out next, with camouflage face paint and waving old glory as we get even MORE fireworks going off. Memo to Tony Kahn: if you ever try to do another exploding barbed wire death match, you might want to give these guys a call.
(Oh, and yes – that induction is coming. So save the snarky comments for something else please.)
The match finally begins, and we lead off with Sting vs. Shark. I know a lot of folks bag on Sting’s work for whatever reason (although a lot fewer do today than back then), but he works pretty well with Tenta here, giving him a body slam and doing having a decent match.
I mean, aside from the fact poor John is supposedly a shark and starts gnawing on Sting’s arm.
And there there was this unfortunate move where Shark looked to leap over the ropes and somehow got caught between the rings.
I think John must have seen Free Willy one time too many.
Zodiac is in next, and Sting swings off the top of the cage and into a kinda sorta let’s pretend it’s a dropkick. God bless Sting and Tenta, but things are already starting to completely fall apart at this point. Just as I am thinking that, Tony Schiavone tells us “we have seventeen minutes to go before this match can even end!”
That’s less commentary and more warning, I think.
Savage in next, and he goes right after Tenta, attempting to give him a vertical suplex. Shockingly, that doesn’t work and he starts to get manhandled. He winds up over by the side of the cage, and somehow Meng grabs his leg and starts pulling him out from under the cage.
That makes like zero sense, but it is unique if nothing else.
Kamala joins the fray, and Heenan explains to us he’s home in the cage. Also, he’s happy to be back in the jungle. I love Bobby, he’s my all-time favorite wrestling personality, but pretty sure those two statements completely contradict each other. Meanwhile, Tony exclaims that “Macho Man and Sting are getting wasted!”
Mid match? That sounds like a terrible idea.
I mean, unless you’re watching at home. Then I’ll condone it.
Heck, with this one I might even encourage it.
Luger in next. He clobbers Shark and Kamala then accidentally hits Savage and they start fighting each other. This drama of whether Luger could be trusted, which was built up in the weeks leading into the match, lasts approximately 45 seconds and then Hulk’s team are all working together again.
Meng is the last guy in for the Dungeon, and there’s not much to report here other than when he kicks Luger, Lex screams “OHHHH!!” in the most robotic and emotionless manner possible. And he does it over and over again. It’s so bizarre it rounds the corner of being ridiculous and hits the home plate of awesome.
Hogan finally comes in and being a role model for the youth of today, immediately throws salt in everyone’s eyes.
Actually, scratch that – Heenan tells us “that smells like napalm or gun powder!” So it’s even worse.
He follows that up with the lethal combination of back rakes AND chest rakes, which everyone reacts to as if they’re being sliced open with a chainsaw. And SPEAKING OF COMICAL SELLING…
We get THIS.
I might get a seizure if I keep watching this.
Who ever thought I’d need to post an epilepsy warning on an induction?
Apparently such a beating was nearly life-ending for Zodiac, as Hogan traps in a good old fashioned Camel Clutch. At this point the ref asks Zodiac if he wants to quit. Care to guess what he said?
Remember what I wrote above about that spot with Savage being pulled out from under the ring being unique?
THIS was unique.
And maybe, just possibly, the most WCW thing I’ve ever seen.
And just for clarification, that’s not meant as a compliment.
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