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What is a WarGames match and how do you win?

NXT will utilize the WarGames match concept for a fifth year in a row this Sunday. Here’s an explainer of how it works.

WWE Announces Matches With Tyson Fury And Cain Velasquez At Crown Jewel Event Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

NXT will return to pay-per-view on Sunday with NXT WarGames taking place live from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. It will officially mark the first ppv since the show rebranded as NXT 2.0 this past September and it will also be the fifth straight year that the brand will employ the WarGames gimmick for one of its end-of-year specials.

Some of you may be wondering what exactly is WarGames. Don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered.


Created by the late Dusty Rhodes, WarGames debuted in 1987 and became a staple gimmick of Jim Crockett Promotions and later on, WCW. The match itself featured two connected rings surrounded by a steel cage with a roof on top of it and would go on to house some of the most iconic moments in WCW history.

31 WarGames matches would take place until WCW went out of business in 2001. Laying dormant for over a decade, WarGames was resurrected by NXT in 2017 with a few tweaks, including no roof on top of the steel cage.


NXT’s WarGames usually features two teams of four men/women duking it out inside of the two rings. The match starts off with one member of each team facing each other for five minutes before a member of the team with the numbers advantage enters to momentarily make it a 2-on-1 handicap match. In recent years, the team who has the advantage has been determined by a ladder match in the shows leading up to the ppv.

After a three-minute period, a member of the other team enters the match to even the odds. From there, alternating members of each team will continue to enter every three minutes until all eight combatants have officially entered the ring. At that point, the match officially “begins” and a team can win by pinfall, submission, or surrender.


WarGames matches in NXT have been used as a way to blow off several escalating feuds on the show at once while also serving as a showcase piece for up-and-coming stars.

This year’s show has a distinct flair with the two matches. On the men’s side, the story is old vs. new, as the old guard of NXT (Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dune, and LA Knight) will face the new guard of NXT (Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, Tony D’Angelo, and Grayson Waller).

On the women’s side, the story is of the faces (Raquel Gonzalez, Io Shirai, Cora Jade, and Kay Lee Ray) trying to take down the champion stable of Toxic Attraction, who have aligned themselves with Dakota Kai for this matchup.