The SmarK Rant for WWE Tribute to the Troops 2009 – 12.19.09
Apparently I did the 2008 show last year on Remembrance Day, so might as well carry on with the 2009 show because they’re short and inoffensive anyway.
Taped from a military base in Iraq
Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler, who don’t even pretend to be there.
Rey Mysterio & Mark Henry v. Carlito & CM Punk
I was thrown off by Mark Henry being a babyface WHO LOVES TO HAVE FUN, KING, but then I realized this was BEFORE the Hall of Pain and his epic heel run. Unlike the 2008 show, we’re in full 16×9 HD here this year on the WWE Network. Punk asks for silence and takes Rey down with a wristlock, but Rey pops up with a sunset flip for two. Punk puts him down with a shoulderblock and declares himself to be the strongest, so that brings in Mark Henry and Punk goes flying all over for him. Rey comes off Mark’s shoulders with a splash on Punk for two, and the heels manage to bump into the ropes for a double 619, and the West Coast Pop finishes Punk at 3:04. Carlito didn’t even tag in and there was nothing to this. *
Meanwhile, we get a montage of WWE Superstars Having Fun With The Troops, and I’m pretty sure the generic guitar riffs playing must have been swapped out from something licensed at the time.
R-Truth joins us while dressed as Santa, before he got entertaining as the conspiracy theory heel, and brings out the Divas to throw out presents.
Meanwhile, President Obama gives us holiday wishes, back before his second career as a stand up comedian who scores off MAGA nutbags.
Meanwhile, more propaganda with the troops. I know anyone outside of the US isn’t the audience for this, but it’s REALLY tiresome to watch.
The Miz v. John Morrison
Miz was US champion at this point and JoMo was IC champion, although of course neither title is on the line. Also this was taped before Drew won the title at TLC 2009, which the announcers point out. Also this was in the strange time before “I Came To Play”, back when Miz was using a generic entrance song. Morrison hits a standing moonsault for two, but he goes up and Miz shoves him to the floor to take over. Back in, that gets two. Miz with the corner clothesline and he makes the mistake of talking shit to the troops, which allows Morrison to bring him off the top with a superplex for two. But then Miz rolls him up and pins him in with his feet on the ropes at 3:00. They put a HEEL over on this show? I don’t think I’ve ever seen them do that on one of these. Felt like this was probably longer live in the “arena”, but it was another nothing match here. ½*
Meanwhile, John Cena really loves the troops. Well at least we know he’s being 100% sincere.
WWE title: John Cena v. Chris Jericho
Jericho was also tag team champion with Big Show at the time this show was taped, but again the announcers have to point out that they lost the belts to D-X at TLC 2009. And also John Cena lost the title to “young up and comer” Sheamus at that show, so apparently that PPV really screwed up their booking for this show. Jericho quickly beats on Cena in the corner, but Cena replies with a fisherman’s suplex for two. Jericho boots him down for two and chases him to the apron for the springboard dropkick as we take a break for more propaganda. Re-enlistment is so beautiful that the Bellas cried! Back to the match with Jericho trying for the Walls, but Cena reverses him into the STF. Jericho quickly makes the ropes. He goes up for something, but Cena follows him up, and Jericho fights him off. Jericho with a crossbody, but Cena catches him and finishes with the AA at 4:54. Yeah, again, there was maybe two minutes in the ring here. 1/2*
And we finish with another montage of troops meeting wrestlers.
Like, I guess the show is mostly inoffensive as far as matches go, but there’s just NOTHING to these in between all the RAH RAH AMERICA stuff. I think they start expanding to 2 hours with the next one, so hopefully that means time for better, or at least meaningful, matches in the ring. Guess we’ll find out next year.