War Games: WCW’s Most Notorious Matches (DVD) Review
War Games is the ultimate collection of the WCW event. With famous wrestlers like Rick Flair and Hulk (and Hollywood) Hogan making their mark in the most chaotic, action filled wrestling style that ever existed.
War Games matches generally work in the following way. Inside a giant cage two rings are placed side by side where wrestlers can hop from one into the other. Two teams have one man inside at first and as time passes more and more wrestlers join them. Depending on a coin toss one team can have more people inside than the other so it becomes even more intense until finally both full teams are in full force battling until one wrestler surrenders and his whole team loses. An average War Games event lasts about 20 minutes.
The collection on DVD is three discs filled with classic match upon classic match. The way the materials are joined together is with interview segments with War Games originator WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes talking for an average of two minutes a time on a single topic with the notable exception of six minutes on how the sport came to be. The interview does have some standout moments but the best is right at the start. The War Games idea was first shared in a parking lot with nothing but a flashlight and the pavement and it was considered crazy to even consider lowering a cage from the ceiling at the start not building it in place. Little stories like that are great and anyone can find those both educational and informative.
The early War Games start off brutal. Indeed the first few are a lot more adult than the polished later materials which turn into standard wrestling fare only with a lot more chaos in the rings, people being thrown into the cage, attacked on mass. For anyone who doesn’t have significant wrestling knowledge there will be moments and incidents that will cause confusion. In one match a wrestler attacks his own side before claiming “I told you I’m no traitor.” Which may mean something back in the day or to those who know the history behind it but for the purposes of this set having no supplementary materials about who the wrestlers are, why they are popular or hated is a missed opportunity.
Hulk Hogan who has a few War Games appearances makes for a great example to this. As ‘Hulk’ Hogan he was a hero to the people, but for a while changed his persona to ‘Hollywood’ Hogan, with a bad attitude that would make The A-Team’s B.A. take notice even though it wasn’t able to shine here. There are many documentaries around about his turn from one side to the other and back again including interviews with Hogan so if one of those would have been included it would’ve made things much better overall for anyone not in the know wanting a complete package. Even adding a few text biographies on the disc of the wrestlers about to take place in a match and where their stories were at the time would’ve been enough for new people wanting a little clarity and maybe some historic perspective but a full length documentary about War Games would’ve been icing on the cake.
Both on the Blu-ray and DVD the contents visual quality is true to the source materials (4:3) age but all presented in the best possible way. For 4:3 content a dark wallpaper image fills the void on either side of the screen. The Blu-ray release does include some additional matches not found on the DVD so for true fans buying the Blu-ray whenever possible is recommended but not essential for War Games.
War Games works as a complete collection for the event type from it’s start right to the end of the format. For War Games fans it is the ultimate collection, for wrestling fans there’s enough here to keep you busy till the release making an essential shelf filler and for everyone else it’s the most action packed wrestling style that ever existed. So if you want to see Hulk Hogan back in his prime consider this release the only thing knocking it down is the lack of background materials. It would be impossible to comment on each individual match included so below is the full official list of content.
**DVD Disc 1**
*Creating the War Games
*War Games Match:Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff & Paul Ellering vs. Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard & J.J. Dillon (Great American Bash 4th July, 1987)
*Great American Bash On Tour
*War Games Match: Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff & Paul Ellering vs. Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard & The War Machine (Great American Bash 31st July, 1987)
*A Different Type of Animal
*Tower of Doom Match: The Road Warriors, “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, Ron Garvin & Jimmy Garvin vs. Kevin Sullivan, Mike Rotunda, Al Perez, Russian Assassin & Ivan Koloff (Great American Bash 10th July, 1988)
*War Games Match: Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger, Nikita Koloff, “Dr. Death” Steve Williams & Paul Ellering vs. Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard & J.J. Dillon (Great American Bash 16th July, 1988)
*War Games Match: The Road Warriors, The Midnight Express & “Dr. Death” Steve Williams vs. The Fabulous Freebirds & The Samoan Swat Team (Great American Bash 23rd July, 1989)
**DVD DISC 2**
*War Games Match: Ric Flair, Sid Vicious, Barry Windham & Larry Zbyszko vs. Sting, Brian Pillman, & The Steiner Brothers (WrestleWar 24th February, 1991)
*War Games Match: Sting’s Squadron (Sting, Nikita Koloff, Dustin Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat & Barry Windham) vs.The Dangerous Alliance (Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Steve Austin, Larry Zbyszko & Rick Rude). (WrestleWar 17th May, 1992)
*The Almighty Dollar
*War Games Match: Sting, Davey Boy Smith, Dustin Rhodes & The Shockmaster vs. Sid Vicious, Vader & Harlem Heat (Fall Brawl 19th September, 1993)
*A Really Special Night
*War Games Match: Dusty Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes & The Nasty Boys vs. Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, Bunkhouse Buck & Colonel Robert Parker (Fall Brawl 18th September, 1994)
**DVD DISC 3**
*Pride in Their Product
*War Games Match: Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Lex Luger & Sting vs. Kamala the Ugandan Giant, The Zodiac, The Shark & Meng (Fall Brawl 17th September, 1995)
*Glimmer of a Fire
*War Games Match: “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & A Mystery Partner vs. Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger & Sting (Fall Brawl 15th September, 1996)
*Pulling Out Every Stop
*War Games Match: Kevin Nash, Buff Bagwell, Syxx & Konnan vs. Ric Flair, Steve McMichael, Chris Benoit & Curt Hennig (Fall Brawl 14th September, 1997)
*The Talent Made The War Games
*War Games Match: Diamond Dallas Page, Roddy Piper & The Warrior vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, Stevie Ray & Bret Hart vs. Kevin Nash, Sting & Lex Luger (Fall Brawl 13th September, 1998)
*The End of the War Games
*War Games 2000 Match: Sting, Booker T, Goldberg & KroniK vs. Kevin Nash, Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner & The Harris Brothers (Monday Nitro 4th September, 2000)
*The Main Event
BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE CONTENT:
*Rage in the Cage Match: Brian Lee, Jimmy Golden, Ricky Morton, Robert Fuller & Robert Gibson vs. Kevin Sullivan, Killer Kyle, The Tazmaniac , Stan Lane & Tom Prichard (Smoky Mountain Wrestling May 1993)
*Ultimate Jeopardy Steel Cage Match: Tommy Dreamer, Public Enemy & The Pitbulls vs. Raven, Stevie Richards, The Eliminators & The Heavenly Bodies (ECW December to Dismember 9th December, 1995)
*Ultimate Jeopardy Steel Cage Match: Buh Buh Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley & Mustafa Saed vs. New Jack, Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney (ECW Cyberslam 3rd April, 1999)
*War Games Fantasy Booking with Dusty Rhodes