Hi-diddly-ho, you unbelievable bastards! It’s the first of three brand-new columns from yours truly this week, and I’ll be recapping the annual Tribute to the Troops show from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
We kick things off with a video package highlighting the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Say what you want about the WWE, but their promos are phenomenal. I love how the heels always break kayfabe for this show. This should be a fun couple of hours.
Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler welcome us to the 9th annual Tribute to the Troops and announce tonight’s main event: a six-man tag pitting the team of CM Punk, Big Show and John Cena against The Miz, Alberto del Rio, and Mark Henry. President Obama delivers a holiday message to the troops via video tape.
Randy Orton vs Wade Barrett
Are we seriously getting this match for free, sans tables? I don’t sense a clean win here. Orton starts things off with a series of right hands and traps Barrett in the corner. Barrett whips him into the opposite turnbuckle but Orton comes back with a stiff clothesline. Lawler says Orton pulled a “Tim Tebow” and I’m stuck imagining Randy dropping to his knees in reverence to Jeebus a la Tebow. Barrett gains control and chokes Orton in the ropes. He nails a big boot that drops Randy to the apron. Pin attempt gets a 2. Chokehold turned into a back suplex by the Viper. Barrett nails a sick side kick and hits a pumphandle slam! Barrett climbs the turnbuckle but Orton is back on his feet for the first big spot of the night: a superplex! Barrett kicks out at two. Orton is whipped off the ropes but hits a stiff clothesline, followed by his powerslam. Orton backbreaker leads to the set up for the RKO but Barrett escapes the ring. Barrett sends Orton into the barricade and the ref counts them both out. Regardless, the two brawl until Orton is whipped into the steps. Barrett tries to put Randy through a table but Orton counters with a messy-looking dropkick. Orton tries to power bomb Barrett through the table but David Otunga attacks! Looks like he’s the jobber going through the table to protect Barrett. RKO from Randy! “You can’t do that! He’s a lawyer!” quips Michael Cole. Devastating power bomb through the table!
Nicole Kidman reads off a teleprompter as we head to commercial.
Anybody else catch Kane’s return last night? Apparently this kid achieved an orgasm over it.
We’re back and now it’s Jake “I Just Can’t Quit You” Gyllenhaal (did I spell that right?) reading off a teleprompter.
Josh Mathews asks Barrett backstage how he feels, blah blah blah.
And now it’s Andrew Wheeler’s personal worst nightmare: Nickelback singing the Raw theme song live! Ironically it’s called “Burn It to the Ground,” which is how many people seem to feel about Nickelback.
Video package for the Golden Knights, the Army’s parachute team. The WWE Superstars talk about who’s chickenshit. Eve, Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston, CM Punk, and Alberto del Rio participated and it looked like a lot of fun.
Jack Swagger vs Zack Ryder
Dolph Ziggler accompanies Swagger to the ring for this match. Ryder has a mic and insults Ziggler for trying to represent the country as United States Champion. He brings out Sergeant Slaughter as his own “G.I. Broski.” Oh God. Slaughter is wearing a Ryder headband. I predict a Cobra Clutch! Swagger forces Ryder into the corner and beats the holy hell out of him. Swagger hits a running powerslam as the crowd chants “USA.” Are they cheering for the All-American American? I’m always confused by “USA” chants when both participants are Americans. Where was I? While I was ranting, Ryder hits the Broski Boot but Swagger regains control. Ziggler interferes and Slaughter clotheslines him over the announce table! Swagger attacks Slaughter and both faces are down. Ryder is sent back into the ring and the running Swagger splash is countered with a boot to the face! Rough Ryder ends it! Slaughter locks in the Cobra Clutch on Swagger as my prognosticating abilities are as sharp as ever.
Rey Mysterio, Big Show, and Eve promote Slim Jim, announcing that for every two Slim Jims you buy, they’ll donate one to the troops.
Hugh Jackman sends a fun little message to the troops.
The Bellas are at the West Point campus attempting the Indoor Obstacle Course that all cadets are required to pass.
The Bella Twins, Natalya, and Beth Phoenix vs Maria Menounos, Kelly Kelly, Eve, and Alicia Fox
Kelly wears a stunning ammo belt outfit. Maria’s looking to be in awesome shape. Brie Bella and Maria start things off and Eve gets the tag after a few seconds. Eve is trapped in the heel corner as Phoenix gets the tag. Eve manages a kick that allows her enough time to tag in Kelly. Airplane spin into the turnbuckle followed by a facebuster forces everyone to get in the ring for a clusterfuck. Maria is left in the ring with Beth but manages to reverse a push into the turnbuckle into a flip-over roll-up pin!
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy pay tribute to the troops. Out of all the celebrity cameos, theirs seemed the most sincere.
No, I didn’t miss a commercial break. They actually went about a half hour, complete with two matches AND a Nickelback performance.
Celine Dion pays tribute and doesn’t sing. Because this is not…HER SHOW! (Anybody get that SNL reference?)
Comedian George Wallace shows up at the ramp. When was the last time he was relevant? He talks about kids with their pants on the ground (lookin’ like a fool), holiday memories, and people saying stupid things (phrases like “12 noon” and “build it from the ground up”). He says that all military get into his Vegas show for free in 2012.
Video package for Triple H and Kevin Nash’s Ladder Match this Sunday.
Here comes Booker T on commentary.
Daniel Bryan vs Cody Rhodes
Rhodes is sporting a shiner courtesy of Booker T. Classic lock-up leads to an arm drag from Bryan. Rhodes goes right to the injured ribs and press slams DB onto the top turnbuckle. Knee to the midsection only gets a two. Cody applies a stretch to Bryan and when they get to their feet, DB fights back. Unfortunately, Rhodes is right back on the offensive. Stomps to DB in the corner forces the ref to get involved. DB pulls off his flip off the corner into a running clothesline.Bryan is in control and sends Rhodes out of the ring. He attempts a flip over the top rope but Rhodes nails a knee to the ribs! They fight on the outside and Booker gets involved. Rhodes sends Daniel Bryan into the ring but a distraction from Booker allows Bryan to win with a roll-up! Rhodes is livid and asks for Booker to get in the ring. King Booker wallops Cody and sends him packing as the crowd chants for Booker. Cody runs back in and Booker drops him again! The troops get a Spinaroonie as well.
Carson Daly actually stares at the camera when he gives his tribute.
Mary J. Blige comes out to sing her brand new single. It’s one of those heartfelt slow dance songs.
Miss USA Alyssa Campanella does the “Boom Boom Boom” backstage with Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston. Wait, that sounded dirty.
Robin Williams sends his own tribute, complete with obnoxious “generic pro wrestler” voice.
Jeebus! I feel like I haven’t had a chance to breathe! Finally, a commercial break! Never thought I’d ever say that.
Eve asks Dancing With the Stars Champion J.R. Martinez to judge some of the WWE Superstars on their dancing ability and presents him with his own Spinner Belt.
Air Boom vs Epico and Primo
Hornswoggle is special guest ring announcer for this next tag team match and Rosa Mendes accompanies the rudos to the ring. Kofi starts with Primo and, after some quick offense, tags in Bourne. Epico is tagged in and Bourne nails a spinning heel kick off an Irish Whip. Standing moonsault gets a two count. Kofi is tagged back in and a distraction by Primo allows Epico to pull Kingston off the top rope. Kofi makes the hot tag and Evan nails a beautiful hurracanrana as he gets back in the action! Bourne is in control but the heels distract him long enough for Epico to nail the Backstabber and get the victory.
Matthew McConaughey gives his tribute.
Nickelback is, well, back. Wheeler, I’m sorry if you’re watching this. This time, we get their Tribute to the Troops theme song as a montage of photos from the WWE’s visit to the troops is shown on the ‘Tron.
Christina Aguilera sends her thoughts to the troops and I can’t help but stare at her rack as it’s practically bursting out of her top. Sorry.
Christian hobbles out to give a shout-out to Canadian troops and Sheamus interrupts, scaring him off.
Sheamus vs Drew McIntyre
Holy crap! McIntyre is on my television!!!! Drew nails a kick to the gut out of a corner squabble but the Great White is quick to counter with headbutts in the corner, followed by a clothesline. Sheamus attempts the Celtic Cross early but Drew rolls to the apron. Thumb to the eye turns the tables in Drew’s favor. Sheamus gets angry and just drives his knees into the back of McIntyre’s head. Brogue Kick to a woozy Drew ends it.
Jimmy Fallon sends his love with a fake Irish accent, which brings out Sheamus to drop him with a knee to the stomach.
Do you have ANY IDEA what it’s like to post live updates WHEN THERE ARE NO COMMERCIAL BREAKS?!
Regis Philbin takes a moment from his busy retirement schedule to thank the troops and offer fond memories of wrestlers who have been guests on his show.
Mary J. Blige is back to sing “Family Affair.” I’m sure you know the song, folks. She’s a bajillion times better than Nickelback, hands down.
Bradley Cooper gives us his thoughts next.
John Cena, CM Punk, and Big Show vs Alberto del Rio, The Miz, and Mark Henry
The troops go batshit for Cena, understandably. Punk starts with Miz as we get a shoulder block off the ropes to Punk. Punk shows Miz how it’s done and takes Mizanin down, dropping a leg for a one count. Punk tags in Cena, who pulls off a double team with Punk involving a leap frog/dropkick combo which ends hilariously with Punk going for the cover illegally! Miz is stuck in the face corner and Show tags in. The crowd goes silent for a BLISTERING chop to Miz’s chest. Miz rushes to tag in del Rio, who is NOT a happy camper. He gets chopped too, so Henry gets tagged in. Henry takes Show down and body slams the giant! Big Show kicks out at two. Henry tags del Rio back in. He kicks Show in the head repeatedly and covers but Wight does the overpowering kick out that sends Alberto flying across the ring. Miz tags in and the heels treat Show like the babyface in peril. Definitely not a position I’d ever think I’d find Big Show in. Bear hug from legal man Mark Henry. The crowd fuels Show’s escape and he nails a kick to Henry. Double clothesline takes both men off their feet. Punk and Miz get tagged in and Punk nails the running knee bulldog! Punk climbs on Big Show’s shoulders for a SUPER MACHO MAN ELBOW DROP! Del Rio interrupts an Anaconda Vise, which allows Miz to tag in Henry. The World Heavyweight Champion abuses Punk and attempts a World’s Strongest Slam, but Punk avoids it and kicks Henry in the head! Cena gets tagged in and it’s time for a Five Knuckle Shuffle! Miz and del Rio rush the ring, so Big Show choke slams del Rio as Punk hits the GTS on Miz! Big Show KOs Henry into an Attitude Adjustment and the crowd goes home happy, as they always should when it’s Tribute to the Troops.
Cena is alone in the ring as the entire roster stands at the ramp. He thanks the troops for giving their blood, sweat, and tears for all of us.
I suppose it’s my turn to thank the troops here in the U.S. and overseas, as well as those who have given their lives in the name of freedom. You guys are truly extraordinary!
That’ll do it for me tonight. Catch me Thursday for an all-new Stomping Ground and this weekend for my Smackdown Report as well as my Roundtable picks for TLC.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Tags: alberto del rio, alicia fox, barack obama, Bella Twins, Beth Phoenix, big show, christian, cm punk, Cody Rhodes, David Otunga, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Epico, evan bourne, Eve, Hornswoggle, Hugh Jackman, jack swagger, Jerry Lawler, john cena, Josh Mathews, Kelly Kelly, Kofi Kingston, Maria Menounos, Mark Henry, Michael Cole, Mike Gojira, Natalya, Primo, randy orton, rey mysterio, Rosa Mendes, sheamus, The Miz, The Muppets, Tribute to the Troops, Wade Barrett, WWE, zack ryder