‘This is War Games,’ as we dive into 1987 we hit our first five-star match which would feel at home in the world of sports entertainment. War Games sees two rings sit side by side with a giant cage covering both. Two teams of five go head to head, taking it in turns to have a man enter the structure until all ten men are in the ring at which point the match ends when someone is knocked out, surrenders or submits.
We start off with Dusty and Double-A as Dusty takes control and uses the lack of ref to his advantage with a low blow. It’s incredible to think that in 1987 Dusty is already in his 40s but is still a huge deal as the arena is buzzing right from the beginning.
He controls Arn for the opening five minutes, busting him open and locking on a Figure Four to damage the knee. The coin toss goes the way of the Horsemen (who are up to five men with Dillion fighting), though, and Tully Blanchard hits the ring. Dusty has a brief flurry of offence but the number game catches up with him, and it’s his turn to sit in the Figure Four.
I don’t know if it’s just the version of this match that I’ve found, but when Animal evens up the numbers, and the faces take control, the crowd goes absolutely insane. There are periods where the commentary is being drowned out by the noise coming from the stands.
As more and more men fill the ring, the match settles into as close to a pattern as ten men taking lumps out of each other can. The momentum shifts to the heels when they have the extra man and then back to the babyfaces when it is evened up. It’s a classic formula but it works and while there is nothing truly spectacular going on there is a hell of a lot of talent in that ring.
What becomes apparent is that War Games is a spectacle. By the time all ten men are in the ring, this is chaos, and there are bodies littered everywhere. It is also where the two rings come to the fore. It allows the talent space to work and that’s what makes this more than just a big cage match.
Despite that chaos, you never lose the sense of the flow of the match. Your aware that The Horsemen focusing on Koloff’s neck has given them an advantage and that the introduction of JJ Dillion – despite making it five on four – does the exact opposite. There’s a story told here in among the madness.
The finish takes advantage of Dillon’s inadequacies compared to his more illustrious teammates, as he taps following a botched Doomsday Device that sees him land on his shoulder and a submission on the same part of his body. It’s a smart finish that keeps the feud alive as the injured manager is the one taking the loss.
This fight is entertaining as hell. It actually bears some resemblance to this year’s Raw vs. SmackDown Survivor Series Tag in that it has the biggest stars in the company (if not the world) beating the hell out of each other for a while. Is it the impeccable wrestling that a lot of Meltzer five-star picks are? No, but it sure is fun.