WWE Tribute to the Troops
Location: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
Date: December 28, 2013
Commentators: Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler
This year’s “Troops” special opened with a shot of the Air Force Base-turned WWE arena and Daniel Bryan’s music playing. Bryan emerged through the mouth of a fighter jet serving as the entranceway and loud “Yes!” chants greeted Bryan in his home state. As Bryan completed his ring entrance, WWE faded to a video package on 10 years of “Tribute” specials.
Back in the arena, Bryan’s music continued to play as Michael Cole and JBL welcomed everyone to the show from ringside. Cole listed tonight’s special guests as Bryan threw his t-shirt into the crowd. The Wyatts’s theme then cut in, bringing out Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan. Cole introduced the audience to the Wyatt Family, then Bray entered the ring to face Bryan.
1 — DANIEL BRYAN vs. BRAY WYATT (w/Wyatt Family)
Bray Wyatt dominated early on as Cole quickly moved into plugging social media. WWE quickly cut to Bryan making his comeback, culminating in Yes! kicks to the chest and a roundhouse to the head. Bryan climbed to the top rope for a diving headbutt and connected, but the Wyatts hit the ring to cause a DQ.
WINNER: Bryan via DQ at 1:39.
Post-match: Harper and Rowan stared down at Bryan to inflict more punishment, but Cult of Personality played to bring out C.M. Punk, who charged down to the ring. Punk ducked Rowan, dropped Harper, and flew at both men with a suicide dive. Punk then entered the ring to celebrate with Bryan.
Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero then walked out and demanded that the match re-start as a tag match. But, not with Bray Wyatt. Instead, it will be a tag match featuring his henchmen. Of note, apparently it was so cold in the hangar that you could see her breath as she talked. Cole slipped in a plug for WWE’s App before they cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 8:08]
2 — DANIEL BRYAN & C.M. PUNK vs. ERICK ROWAN & LUKE HARPER (w/Bray Wyatt)
The match was in-progress back from break with Bryan and Punk lighting up Rowan with rapid-fire kicks. But, Rowan came back on Bryan and tagged in Harper. Cole and JBL discussed past trips for “Troops” before WWE cut to a shot of the military airplane serving as the entranceway tonight. Cole acknowledged the cold temperature in the hangar before Punk hot-tagged and knee-smashed Rowan. Spinning neckbreaker, then Punk called for the GTS, but Wyatt interfered to cause another DQ.
WINNERS: Punk & Bryan via DQ at 2:49.
Post-match: The Wyatts tried to put a beating on Punk and Bryan, but John Cena’s music played. As the crowd roared, Cena stormed down to the ring and cleared the heels from the ring. Cena then stood tall with Punk and Bryan, firing up the crowd.
And, Vickie Guerrero is back. Vickie excused herself back onto the broadcast to demand this match re-start. Now as a six-man tag match. Bray wiped his face in frustration ringside as the faces excitedly played to the crowd.
[Commercial Break at 8:15]
3 — JOHN CENA & DANIEL BRYAN & C.M. PUNK vs. THE WYATTS (BRAY WYATT & LUKE HARPER & ERICK ROWAN) — six-man tag match
The match was in-progress back from break with Bray Wyatt doing his upside-down corner pose. Punk was in trouble as Cena and Bryan tried to encourage him from ringside. Luke Harper alligator-rolled Punk before WWE cut to a wide-shot of troops standing on a military chopper in the back of the “arena.”
Punk eventually broke free after nailing a cross-body splash from the second rope on Wyatt. Cena ran up and down the ring apron begging for a tag, then Punk reached Cena for a tag as Luke Harper also tagged in. Cena dropped Harper with a sit-out slam before delivering a Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena wanted an AA, but Harper blocked. So, Cena went for a drop toehold into the STF. Rowan broke it up, though.
The action broke down with all six men in the ring. Bodies started flying, then Harper found himself alone for a GTS, Bryan running knee, and AA from Cena to complete the triple-play. Cena covered Harper for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Cena, Bryan, and Punk at 4:00 even. House show-style, feel-good sequence of events arriving at the top three babyfaces standing tall in the ring.
Celebrity Message: Bruce Willis. Then, Ryan Seacrest.
Still to come: A comedy routine by Jeff Dunham.
Up Next: Daughtry performs.
[Commercial Break at 8:25]
Back from break, Santino Marella was power-marching to the ringside area. Santino marched around the ring before WWE cut to NBC Sports reporter Michelle Beadle in the crowd talking to an Army representative, Colonel Charles Hodges, Jr. Beadle then sent it to Santino. In the ring, Santino gave a formal ring introduction for Daughtry.
On-stage, Daughtry performed their “Waiting for Superman” song. After they finished, Santino returned on-stage to thank Daughtry for their performance.
To ringside, Cole and JBL shouted out to the military. Fandango’s music then played to bring out Summer Rae, followed by Fandango, who took advantage of the cold weather by blowing his breath into the air. Fandango in action next.
[Commercial Break at 8:36]
Back from break, R-Truth was on the way to the ring, described as “fun-loving rapper extraordinaire” by Cole. WWE then cut to a photo gallery on Vince McMahon, Truth, Big Show, Eva Marie, and Alicia Fox visiting troops in Afghanistan last week for a goodwill tour. Back in the ring, Truth shouted out to the crowd before the bell sounded.
4 — FANDANGO (w/Summer Rae) vs. R-TRUTH
Truth and Fandango locked up as JBL talked up the “Troops” concept that he came up with over a decade ago. Cole then plugged this Monday’s Raw when Fandango faces Big E. Langston for the Intercontinental Title. Back to the match, Truth scored a close nearfall as Summer sold concern ringside. Cole was in the middle of some trivial commentary when WWE cut to Truth delivering his What’s Up finisher center-ring. Truth made the cover for the win.
WINNER: Truth at 1:45.
Celebrity Message: Alec Baldwin. Next, Will Ferrell. Ferrell quoted himself from “Anchorman” in shouting out to the military. “Stay classy, U.S. Armed Forces,” Ferrell closed.
Up Next: Jeff Dunham comedy show.
[Commercial Break at 8:45]
Back from break, the Bellas’s music played. Introduced as representing “Total Divas” on E!, Brie and Nikki Bella came out on-stage to welcome Jeff Dunham to the show.
On-stage: Jeff Dunham did a comedy routine for the troops, complete with his “Peanut” puppet. Dunham tried to read from “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” but his puppet “interrupted” with Obamacare, NSA, Miley Cyrus, Toronto mayor Rob Ford, and other “pop” jokes.
Big Show’s music then interrupted to bring out Big Show dressed to wrestle. Show approached Dunham and “Peanut” for a conversation. Show said he’s been waiting all day to perform for the troops, had a “conversation” with Peanut, then kept on walking to the ring for the main event. Cole narrated a photo gallery of Show and other WWE stars in Afghanistan, then Damien Sandow’s music played.
Sandow walked out on-stage with mic in-hand to address matters. Sandow spoke over his theme music that they have seen a bearded dwarf, a weird family, a ballroom dancer, an underachieving rapper, and now a giant who needs to be chopped down by the Superstar whose New Year’s Resolution is to be the Champion of Champions.
5 — BIG SHOW vs. DAMIEN SANDOW
Show “performed” early on by delivering a butt smash in the corner. Show followed with a frying pan-like chop to the chest. Sandow, angry and embarrassed, tried to retaliate with rapid-fire chops, but Show no-sold with hands on hips. Sandow tried to apologize, but Show chopped him across the chest. Corner splash, then a running shoulder tackle.
Show called for the end, then grabbed Sandow for a “USA” chokeslam. Show wasn’t done, asking the crowd if they want his fist. Show made a fist, then KO Punched Sandow in the mouth. Odd background noise edit with the crowd going silent. Show then covered Sandow for the win.
WINNER: Show at 2:05.
Post-match: Daniel Bryan’s music played to bring out Bryan, Cena, and Punk. More babyfaces followed the Top Three Trio to the ring, then heels joined the faces “out of character” doing Bryan’s “Yes!” chant for the troops. Cole and JBL joined in ringside as WWE cut to crowd shots and clips of the wrestlers greeting troops ringside.
Cole closed with a shout-out to troops serving around the world to keep them safe. Booker T made a cameo, Sandow continued to sell the pain of Show’s KO Punch ringside, and Cena got the final image with a victory lap ringside.