On This Day, July 4, 1987, one of the most creative matches in history was born at The Great American Bash. lt was the debut of WarGames. The match was invented by Dusty Rhodes and inspired in part by Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. The double-ring, single cage match was presented as the signature of the Four Horsemen. It’s a two-team match with participants joining in via staggered entry.
The Great American Bash is not just the patriotic pay-per-view WWE presented in the middle of the Ruthless Aggression era. It was conceived by Jim Crockett and was more of a multi-day event rather than a single show. Crockett thought there was no better time to debut such innovation, and he couldn’t be more right. The event exploded in popularity, and the match would become a fan-favorite for years to come.
The match begins with one member of each team in the cage. The rest of the team waits outside. After five minutes, the team that won the coin toss can send in a man immediately. The other team has to wait two minutes before sending in one of theirs. Teams alternate entering the match every two minutes until all participants are in the cage. The 1987 match included legends such as The Road Warriors (Animal & Hawk), Nikita Koloff, Dusty Rhodes, and Paul Ellering. It also included The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, Tully Blanchard, and JJ Dillon.
The match was brutal. The Horsemen were able to win the coin toss, and it gave them the advantage early. But in great baby-face fashion, Dusty would begin to fight back with his signature jabs. The way the crowd gets behind him is beautiful and is the type of reaction every good guy strives for today. Eventually, each man would enter the match, and chaos would ensue. They would throw their best high-impact moves at one another. The cage as a weapon was a given. They smashed each other into it, and the crowd reacted as though they knew how bad it hurt. By the end of the night, most of the competitors would dawn the crimson mask. 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. But Dillion’s fate was sealed once he attacked the Road Warriors. They hit the Horsemen’s manager with the Doomsday Device. It injured Dillion’s shoulder. So once Hawk and Animal began to attack, he had no choice but to submit.
Wargames has since been resurrected in NXT. Every year it provides us with some of the craziest content we’ve ever seen. Superstars jumping off the cage as Pat Macafee did a couple of years ago is a much-needed staple. We’ve gotten to see legendary moments from Adam Cole, Kevin Owens, and Richochet because WarGames was born On This Day, July 4, 1987.
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