Monday, 1 July 2013

WWE DVD Review: War Games - WCW's Most Notorious Matches

WWE DVD Review: War Games – WCW's Most Notorious Matches

Cage matches have been part of wrestling for a long time now. More modern viewers of course be aware of such structures as the 'Hell in a Cell' and 'Elimination Chamber' cages. But long before they saw the light of day there was the formidable feud ending 'War Games' match. Up until then the cage match was a rather clunky affair that offered up blood, but no real excitement.

War Games changed all of that. Created by WWE hall of famer Dusty Rhodes this was a match that took the traditional cage environment and put a unique spin on it.

Hosted by Rhodes himself this three disc set takes a look at each and every War Games encounter ever made. The design of the match was simple and yet very effective, WCW took two rings and encased them in a steel cage. Two teams would face off in the match, but as per the stipulation two men started and then after an allotted time members of each would enter alternately.

In the majority of these scraps the heels would always hold the advantage (even though a coin toss was supposed to make that a random thing). This of course added to the atmosphere and made us the fans cheer on the faces.

For the most part the matches here are above average. There are a few duds, but fair play to the WWE for including them all and letting us make the decision as to what works and what doesn't.

Highlights for me are the original match (1987) featuring Rhodes, The Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff and Paul Ellering versus The Four Horsemen (Lex Luger, Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson) and JJ Dillon. Which set the standard for this type of match and really does stand the test of time.

Another stand-out match is the 1991 Wrestle War bout between The Four Horsemen (Flair, Sid Vicious, Barry Windham, Larry Zbyszko) and the unit of Sting, Brian Pillman and The Steiner Brothers. This was a very brutal and hard-hitting affair and one that showed all involved at their best.

Other worthy additions are the ones involving Stings Squadron and The Dangerous Alliance, the Tower of Doom match and of course the first time we saw Hulk Hogan enter the structure in 1995.

On the minus side some matches, as stated previously are less worthy of repeated viewing. They still possess some interesting moments. The N.W.O. Make an appearance or two and some work better than others. The infamous Shockmaster turns up too (the former Fred 'Tugboat' Ottman) making a very bad first impression on WCW fans.

War Games was a wonderful concept and one that I do hope the WWE resurrect even for a one-off event.

Yes we have Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber and other similar matches, but there will only ever be one truly exhilarating cage match and it is War Games.

This set is slickly produced (as expected) and will most certainly appeal to many fans of WCW and those who long to explore the history of the industry beyond the WWE. Newer fans may find it less interesting, but to be perfectly honest everyone who says they like wrestling should give this. The matches here are (mainly) from an era where the action spoke for itself and storylines were more of an afterthought. Which is something we do not see as much these days. The matches themselves are also predominantly stiff and at times bloody. They are also unbelievably inviting and innovative at the same time.
Blu-ray buyers get a match Rage in the Cage match from Smoky Mountain Wrestling (1993), the Ultimate Jeopardy scrap from ECW's December to Dismember (1995) and a similar encounter from ECW's Cyber Slam 1999.

War Games: WCW's Most Notorious Matches in available now from all good retailers.

RRP £29.99 (DVD), £39.99 (Blu-ray)
By Phil Allely

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