WWE Tribute to the Troops
|WWE Tribute to the Troops|
|Created by||Vince McMahon
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||11 (as of December 28, 2013)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original channel||USA Network (Raw: 2005–2007) (2010-Present, 2 hours)|
|Original run||December 25, 2003 – present|
WWE Tribute to the Troops is an annual event held by WWE together with Armed Forces Entertainment in December around Christmas since 2003 as a way of honoring the men and women of the United States Armed Forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Selected WWE wrestlers and employees travel to the said countries and interact with the members of the U.S. Military for at least three days. The WWE wrestlers regularly visit military camps, bases, and hospitals, including the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital, during their travels to bolster the morale of the troops.
WWE then holds a special wrestling show with the troop members in attendance for free. The show features matches involving selected Superstars and Divas from both Raw and SmackDown. The company then airs the matches, as well as videos highlighting their interaction with the members of the military, in a special televised program of the same title.
WWE first held the event in December 2003. Select WWE wrestlers (including Layfield and McMahon) held a wrestling show at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq and was aired on Christmas Day as a special episode of WWE SmackDown. The main event of the show saw John Cena defeating Big Show, with Stone Cold Steve Austin coming out after the match, hitting a Stone Cold Stunner on both men, and finally inviting all the talents and Vince McMahon to the ring to celebrate. For this show and all Tribute to the Troops shows until 2011, commentary recorded at WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut was used in the shows as the announcers were not present at ringside.
In December 2004, WWE traveled to Camp Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq. The wrestling show, dubbed Christmas in Iraq, aired on December 23 as another special SmackDown episode. Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio defeated Kurt Angle and Luther Reigns in the main event.
In 2005, Superstars held the event in Bagram, Afghanistan. The wrestling show taped there on December 9, 2005 was dubbed Tribute to the Troops and was aired on December 19 on WWE Raw. For the main event, Shawn Michaels beat Triple H in a Boot Camp match. In 2006, it was another Raw episode that aired on Christmas Day. The show was taped in Baghdad, Iraq, and had Carlito pin Randy Orton for the win at the main event. A day before the show's taping in Camp Victory, a mortar attack happened near the camp. Michael Cole reported from the scene minutes after the attack, which injured 14 soldiers.
In 2007, they returned to Tikrit, Iraq. D-Generation X members Triple H and Shawn Michaels defeated Umaga and Mr. Kennedy in the main event of the wrestling show, which aired on Christmas Eve on WWE Raw.
2008's Tribute to the Troops was not aired on any regular WWE programming. Instead, for the first time, the wrestling show in Camp Liberty, Baghdad, Iraq aired on NBC on December 20 as a one-hour special. In its main event, John Cena, Batista and Rey Mysterio defeated Chris Jericho, The Big Show and Randy Orton in a six-man tag team match.
WWE again travelled to Iraq in 2009, and hosted its seventh Tribute to the Troops. In the main event, John Cena retained his WWE Championship against Chris Jericho. The event aired on December 19, 2009 on NBC.
In 2010, WWE announced that there would not be an overseas Tribute to the Troops. It was later noted that a 2010 Tribute to the Troops would in fact be held and was taped on December 11, at Fort Hood in Texas, USA. It aired on NBC on Saturday, December 18, at 9/8 CT for one hour, with a message from former president George W. Bush. WWE also announced on the December 13, 2010 airing of Raw that a 2-hour version of the 2010 Tribute to the Troops would air on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 8/7 CT on USA Network.
Awards and honors
- In 2004, the United Service Organizations (USO) of Metropolitan Washington awarded WWE with the first-ever Legacy of Hope award "for its extensive support of our troops and the USO's Operation Care Package program."
- In 2005, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service awarded WWE the first-ever Three-Commander Coin Award "for WWE's support of its partnership with AAFES to improve the quality of life for our troops by supporting service members and their families worldwide."
- During the fourth Tribute to the Troops wrestling show on December 8, 2006, WWE received the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service Award. The award was presented to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon by the Director of Air Force Services, Art Myers. McMahon immediately presented the honor to John "Bradshaw" Layfield, the brainchild of holding such events for the troops in Iraq.
- In 2007, the WWE became the recipient of the inaugural Corporate Patriot Award at the annual GI Film Festival in Washington, D.C., "in recognition of its ongoing support and appreciation of the U.S. military and their families, particularly its annual holiday Tribute to the Troops tour to entertain troops in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan."
- In 2008, President George W. Bush issued a special message in thanks to the WWE for giving America's Troops the gift of entertainment every Christmas. He did so again in 2010.
|1||The Acolytes Protection Agency (Faarooq and Bradshaw) defeated The World's Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas)||Tag team match|
|2||Rikishi defeated Rhyno||Singles match|
|3||Eddie Guerrero defeated Chris Benoit||Singles match|
|4||Torrie Wilson defeated Dawn Marie and Sable||Santa's Little Helpers contest|
|5||John Cena defeated Big Show||Singles match|
|1||Booker T defeated René Duprée||Singles match|
|2||The Undertaker defeated Heidenreich by countout||Singles match|
|3||Hardcore Holly defeated Kenzo Suzuki||Singles match|
|4||Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio defeated Kurt Angle and Luther Reigns||Tag team match|
|1||Big Show defeated Carlito||Singles match|
|2||Good Santa defeated Bad Santa||No Holds Barred match|
|3||Snitsky defeated Shelton Benjamin||Singles match|
|4||John Cena defeated Chris Masters||Singles match|
|5||Ric Flair (c) defeated Jonathan Coachman||Singles match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship|
|6||Candice Michelle and Maria defeated Trish Stratus and Ashley Massaro||Tag team match|
|7||Shawn Michaels defeated Triple H||Boot Camp match|
|1||John Cena defeated Edge||Singles match|
|2||CM Punk defeated Shelton Benjamin||Singles match|
|3||The Undertaker defeated Johnny Nitro (with Melina)||Singles match|
|4||Bobby Lashley defeated Hardcore Holly||Singles match|
|5||Umaga defeated Jeff Hardy||Singles match|
|6||Carlito defeated Randy Orton||Singles match|
|1||Chris Jericho defeated Randy Orton by disqualification||Singles match|
|2||Jeff Hardy defeated Carlito||Singles match|
|3||Mickie James and Maria vs. Kelly Kelly and Layla ended in a no-contest||Tag team match|
|4||Rey Mysterio defeated Mark Henry||Singles match|
|5||D-Generation X (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) defeated Mr. Kennedy and Umaga||Tag team match|
|1||John Cena, Batista and Rey Mysterio defeated Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and Big Show||Six-Man Tag match|
|2||Jeff Hardy, CM Punk and R-Truth defeated John Layfield, John Morrison and The Miz||Six-Man Tag match|
Note: Jeff Hardy, John Morrison, and the Miz were the WWE and World Tag team Champions, respectively. However, they did not take their belts to the ring with them.
December 19, 2009 in Joint Base Balad, Iraq. WWE Diva Eve Torres served as ring announcer. Despite Cena defending his WWE Title against Jericho at the event, at the time it aired, Sheamus had already won Cena's title at TLC.
|Dark match||Montel Vontavious Porter defeated Chris Masters||Singles match|
|1||Rey Mysterio and Mark Henry defeated Carlito and CM Punk||Tag team match|
|2||The Miz defeated John Morrison||Champion vs. Champion match|
|3||John Cena (c) defeated Chris Jericho||Singles match for the WWE Championship|
The 2010 event was taped on December 11 in Fort Hood, Texas. This was the first Tribute to the Troops event not to be held in Iraq or Afghanistan. Diddy, Sherri Shepherd, Miss USA Rima Fakih, Trace Adkins and Cedric the Entertainer appeared as celebrity guests. Modern Family cast member Ariel Winter sang The Star-Spangled Banner (though the performance did not air). Two versions of the program aired: a 60-minute version on December 18, 2010 on NBC and a 2 hour version on December 22, 2010 on USA Network. The NBC broadcast only included the tag team and 6-man tag team matches listed below.
|Dec 18||Dec 22|
|N/A||1||Mark Henry won by last eliminating Sheamus. Also involved:John Morrison, Ezekiel Jackson, Chavo Guerrero, Daniel Bryan, Chris Masters, Cody Rhodes, Vladimir Kozlov, Santino Marella, David Otunga, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris||15-man battle royal|
|1||2||Big Show and Kofi Kingston defeated Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler||Tag team match|
|N/A||3||R-Truth (with Eve Torres) defeated Ted DiBiase (with Maryse)||Singles match|
|N/A||4||Natalya, Kelly Kelly, and The Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki) defeated Lay-Cool (Layla and Michelle McCool), Alicia Fox, and Melina||Eight-Diva Santa's little helper tag team match|
|N/A||5||Kane fought Major General Will Grimsley to a no contest.||Arm Wrestling contest|
|2||6||John Cena, Randy Orton, and Rey Mysterio defeated The Miz (with Alex Riley), Alberto Del Rio, and Wade Barrett||Six-man tag team match|
On December 1, 2011, NBC and WWE announced the 2011 edition of WWE Tribute to the Troops would air December 17, 2011 on NBC. On the December 5 edition of Raw, it was also announced the show would also air on the USA Network on December 13, 2011. The event was taped December 11, 2011 in Fayetteville, North Carolina at the Crown Coliseum (though WWE said on-air that they were actually at Fort Bragg), the taping was performed in front of U.S. military service members from the nearby Fort Bragg military base and their families. This is also the first Tribute to the Troops that was taped indoors rather than outdoors. Lilian Garcia's performance of The Star-Spangled Banner was edited out of the USA Network broadcast.
The event featured a pre-recorded message from President Barack Obama. Nickelback performed the clean version of "Burn It to the Ground", the theme song of Raw, and "When We Stand Together". Sgt. Slaughter made a special appearance, supporting Zack Ryder ringside. Maria Menounos also made a special guest appearance, teaming with Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, and Alicia Fox to defeat Divas of Doom (Beth Phoenix and Natalya) and The Bella Twins in an 8 Divas Tag Team Match, in which she pinned down Phoenix for the victory. George Wallace performed some stand-up comedy. Mary J. Blige performed "Need Someone" and "Family Affair".
|Dec 13||Dec 17|
|1||1||Randy Orton fought Wade Barrett to a no-contest.||no disqualification match|
|2||N/A||Zack Ryder (with Sgt. Slaughter) defeated Jack Swagger (with Dolph Ziggler)||Singles match|
|3||N/A||Alicia Fox, Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos defeated The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie) and The Divas of Doom (Natalya and Beth Phoenix)||8-Diva Tag team match|
|4||N/A||Daniel Bryan defeated Cody Rhodes||Singles match|
|5||N/A||Primo and Epico (with Rosa Mendes) defeated Air Boom (Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne)||Tag team match|
|6||N/A||Sheamus defeated Drew McIntyre||Single match|
|7||2||Big Show, CM Punk and John Cena defeated Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez), The Miz and Mark Henry||6-man tag team match|
The 2012 edition of the special was taped at The Scope in Norfolk, Virginia, although referred to on-air as Naval Station Norfolk, on December 9. The broadcast began with a pre-recorded message from President Barack Obama, featured musical performances from Flo Rida and Kid Rock, and a special "Miz TV" segment with Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. USA Network aired a two-hour version of the show on December 19, 2012, while NBC aired a one-hour version three nights later.
|Dec 19||Dec 22|
|1||1||Randy Orton and Sheamus defeated Big Show and Dolph Ziggler||Tag team match|
|2||N/A||Ryback defeated Alberto Del Rio by disqualification||Singles match|
|3||N/A||The Miz defeated Damien Sandow||Singles match|
|4||N/A||Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan) and R-Truth defeated 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, and Jinder Mahal)||Six Man Tag team match|
|5||2||John Cena defeated Antonio Cesaro||Singles match|
The 2013 edition of the special was taped on December 11 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and aired on NBC December 28, 2013. The official theme songs for WWE Tribute to The Troops are "Here's To Us" by Kevin Rudolf, "People Back Home" by Florida Georgia Line and "Waiting For Superman" by Daughtry. Daughtry and Jeff Dunham performed, with Michelle Beadle hosting.
|1||Daniel Bryan defeated Bray Wyatt (with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan) by disqualification||Singles match|
|2||Daniel Bryan and CM Punk defeated Erick Rowan and Luke Harper (with Bray Wyatt) by disqualification||Tag team match|
|3||John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and CM Punk defeated The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan)||Six Man Tag team match|
|4||The Prime Time Players (Titus O'Neil and Darren Young) defeated 3MB (Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre)||Tag team match|
|5||Rey Mysterio & The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) defeated The Shield (Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose)||Six Man Tag team match|
|6||Brie Bella eliminated AJ Lee||Divas battle royal|
|7||R-Truth defeated Fandango (with Summer Rae)||Singles match|
|8||Kofi Kingston defeated Dolph Ziggler||Singles match|
|9||Big Show defeated Damien Sandow||Singles match|
- "About WWE's Support of Our Troops...". WWE. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- Cawthon, Graham. "Tribute to the Troops results". Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2005". WWE. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2006". WWE. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2007". WWE. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2008". WWE. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- Clayton, Corey (2009-11-11). "Tribute to the Troops airs Dec. 19 on NBC". WWE Universe. Archived from the original on November 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
- K, T (2010-11-07). "No 2010 Tribute to the Troops". Sports Entertainment Scoops/sescoops.com. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
- K, T (2010-11-07). "Tribute to the Troops airs Dec. 18 on NBC". WWE Universe. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
- Cole, Michael. "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2007". WWE. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "WWE Tribute to the Troops Date Revealed". IGN. December 1, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-01.
- James Caldwell (2011-12-11). "WWE News: Tribute to the Troops taping Sunday - who's advertised, celebrity scheduled for match". PWTorch. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
- "The music of WWE's Tribute to the Troops 2013". WWE. Retrieved 2013-12-26.