Tribute to the Troops 2018
Date: December 20, 2018
Location: Fort Hood, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Byron Saxton
This is one of the most unique shows that the company does every year as we’re at a military base this time around. As you can probably guess, the idea here is all about the troops and that changes some things. This isn’t going to be a storyline driven show whatsoever and it’s all about a fun night with a lot of celebrity cameos. Let’s get to it.
As you might expect, we open with the National Anthem.
The show is in a hanger, which is at least looking like they’re trying instead of a few years ago when they just did a house show and called it Tribute to the Troops.
Video on how important this show is.
Here’s New Day, with Big E. as Santa, Kofi as an elf and Woods as a reindeer with R-Truth and Carmella throwing out gifts. New Day talks about how important the troops are and mention some traditions, like watching your favorite New Day match on a loop until your wife says “KOFI GET OUT HERE SO THE KIDS CAN OPEN THE PRESENTS!” As for the troops away from home, send them a letter or a present but keep them away from the milk and cookies. The USA chants wrap us up.
Ronda Rousey/Natalya vs. Riott Squad vs. Tamina/Nia Jax
The troops are rather pleased with Rousey here as she starts with Logan. It’s quickly off to Morgan, who gets thrown down just as fast. Natalya comes in and shrugs off a slingshot bulldog attempt, setting up the discus lariat for two. The threat of a Sharpshooter is enough to bring Tamina in to take over, followed by Nia coming in for the big elbow on Natalya. Tamina gets in a few more shots before it’s back to Logan for a chinlock. Natalya fights up and makes the hot tag off to Ronda to clean house. The first armbar attempt is broken up so Ronda flips Logan and Morgan over for a double armbar and the double tap at 6:56.
Rating: C-. As usual, the ratings are going to be on a sliding scale tonight because the wrestling isn’t the point whatsoever. This is all about letting the fans have some fun and that’s what they got with Rousey. The fans got to have a good time and Rousey won with a cool looking finisher. That’s perfectly fine and all it needed to be.
Post match Rousey thanks the troops for everything they do and for giving us our freedom as the greatest gift of all.
Video on Jon Stewart getting to meet the troops.
Morgan Wallen performs Whiskey Glasses.
Elias/Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley/Drew McIntyre
Lashley cleans house to start with a shot to knock Balor off the apron and a drive to send Elias into the corner. McIntyre and Lashley take turns beating on Elias and we take an early break. Back with McIntyre getting two off a suplex to Balor and it’s back to Lashley for a chinlock. Lashley drops Elias off the apron with a right hand and it’s Balor caught in the corner again.
As usual, the hot tag goes through almost immediately thereafter so Elias can clean house. Lio Rush offers a distraction so the chase is on, allowing Lashley to plant Elias with a spinebuster. Balor breaks up the near fall with a Coupe de Grace and there’s the big flip dive onto McIntyre. A sunset flip finishes Lashley at 8:45.
Rating: C. Just a formula tag match here and that’s fine. Balor’s flip dive is always going to get a reaction and Elias, who probably sang something like, is worth a look for something like this. As you can probably guess, there’s no reason to believe the heels are going to win anything big, and there’s nothing wrong with that in this case.
Some wrestlers thank the troops.
It’s time for MizTV, with Miz thanking the troops, who are the really awesome ones. His guests this time are Charlotte and Becky Lynch and Miz gets straight to the point: they used to be best friends and then it all fell apart. Maybe it’s because Charlotte isn’t used to standing in Becky’s shadow after being the top dog for so long. Charlotte says queens cast shadows instead of standing in them.
Miz apologizes for overshadowing Becky in the latest Marine movie, which Becky says is big of him. Becky: “That’s probably the first time anyone has ever said that of you.” Becky says she’s the man and here are Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville to cut them off. Mandy should be the face of the division (Mandy: “I mean, look at me.”) and Sonya hits harder than Nia Jax. A match seems imminent.
Charlotte/Becky Lynch vs. Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville
Sonya and Charlotte start things off with Charlotte sending her outside for a slingshot dive. Mandy comes in to a not exactly surprising big pop and gets two off a rollup. It’s back to Sonya for some right hands as JBL sounds rather into the Charlotte vs. Becky rivalry. Mandy gets in a few more shots to slow Charlotte down before it’s back to Sonya for the heavy lifting. Charlotte gets close to the corner so Mandy comes in for a distraction, meaning the hot tag isn’t seen. Of course Charlotte chops her way to freedom and brings Becky in for the Disarm-Her and the tap at 5:55.
Rating: C-. Just a quick match here without any drama about the winners. Becky is the biggest thing in the company right now so getting her on the show was about as much of a requirement as you could have had. Mandy was there as eye candy and there’s nothing wrong with that in a show like this.
Earlier today, New Day had breakfast at Denny’s with some troops.
Here’s Jon Stewart for some jokes. Stewart talks about a rather uncomfortable trip to Afghanistan. Apparently flying in military helicopters and planes is rather rough.
Clips of some wrestlers meeting troops.
Morgan Wallen performs Up Down.
Daniel Bryan/Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins/AJ Styles
The villains jump Seth to start but AJ makes a save, allowing Seth to hit a suicide dive on Dean to get us to the opening bell. Seth and Dean start us off with a Sling Blade putting Ambrose down early on. Bryan trips Seth from the floor though and Dean slams him onto the mat to send us to a break. Back with Dean holding Seth in a Fujiwara armbar and setting him on top.
That goes badly as Seth slips out and hits a buckle bomb, allowing the hot tag off to AJ, who hits the drop down into the dropkick on Bryan. An enziguri cuts AJ off but he’s right back with the Calf Crusher. Dean makes the save but gets driven into the corner by Seth as everything breaks down. Bryan runs into Dean in the corner and Seth hits another suicide dive. AJ gets sent to the apron but comes back in with the Phenomenal Forearm to finish Bryan at 10:17.
Rating: C+. Match of the night here and that’s not surprising. As usual, this isn’t going to change anything from a storyline perspective so Bryan losing clean is perfectly acceptable. They didn’t even have the titles out here so it’s not like anything is affected. The action was good here and they sent the troops home happy, so it’s hard to complain that much.
Seth and AJ thank the troops and the locker room comes out for one more thank you.
One last video on the whole event wraps things up.
Overall Rating: C. Like I said, the wrestling wasn’t the point here and everything was watchable enough. It was nice to have some celebrities in there for some extra fun and it’s not like there was any reason to expect anything else. The atmosphere and venue help a lot as well as it actually feels like something different, which is supposed to be the case. Perfectly watchable show and that’s all it’s supposed to be.
Ronda Rousey/Natalya b. Tamina/Nia Jax and Riott Squad – Double armbar to Morgan and Logan
Finn Balor/Elias b. Bobby Lashley/Drew McIntyre – Sunset flip to Lashley
Charlotte/Becky Lynch b. Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville – Disarm-Her to Deville
Seth Rollins/AJ Styles b. Dean Ambrose/Daniel Bryan – Phenomenal Forearm to Bryan
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