Hulk Hogan/ Miz / John Cena
Hulk Hogan opened the show by thanking the US armed forces. Miz interrupted to say “You’re welcome”, since he starred in the Marine 4.
Then Cena joined the party and the segment dissolved into Miz’s obnoxious narcissism vs. Cena’s over-the-top patriotism. Predictably, Cena punched the Miz out of the ring and then Mizdow reenacted the situation meticulously.
Then Seth Rollins w./ J&J Security, Kane, Luke Harper and Big Show came out to attack Hogan and Cena. Ryback, Dolph Ziggler & Erick Rowan rushed to the rescue. This set up the stage for yet another Team Cena vs. Team Authority main event.
I understand that the show is a tribute to the troops but booking everything under that presumption makes the show predictable. Do the soldiers really prefer it this way?
The Usos vs. Gold & Stardust
The Usos and the Cosmic Brother – it’s an old, tested pairing that is guaranteed to deliver in the ring. The WWE went down the safer route and put up those two old rivals against each other, instead of using the New Day.
The focus was more on entertainment and less on the fight. The Usos were showing off with dance moves and Stardust was playing with the audience, hissing.
The match stopped being all about fun and laughs when Gold & Stardust got Jey in their hands. Stardust was particularly violent and Jey’s t-shirt paid the price.
One of the nicer spots in the match was when Jimmy did a corkscrew from the ropes to Stardust. After that, for the end of the match, we had Usos doing their splash off the top rope simultaneously. No one really checked who was legal and who wasn’t. The Usos just picked up the win.
Divas Battler Royal
The match was Christmas themed. The divas participating were: Brie, Nikki, Natalya, Naomi, Emma, Cameron, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, Alicia Fox & Paige.
The “fight” started in the most ridiculous fashion possible – Emma lifted Rosa’s skirt and in response, Rosa took Emma’s hat. Who writes those things?!
1. Rosa Mendes eliminated Emma
Rosa celebrated by dancing and Summer got jealous, so the two did a dance off. The other divas found it as annoying as I did and all attacked at the same time.
2. All eliminated Rosa
3. All eliminated Summer Rae
This was followed by an even worse spot. Naomi stole Cameron’s mirror so Cameron was mad until Naomi opened the mirror and held it for her. At this point I was watching through my fingers with my palm over my face.
4. Naomi eliminated Cameron
The Bellas ganged up on Alicia Fox and
5. Nikki & Brie eliminated Alicia Fox
Nikki and Brie then moved on to Paige. Paige wanted to get out of it by pulling out a mistletoe and asking for a kiss from Brie but “girls love” wasn’t meant to happen.
6. Nikki & Brie eliminated Paige
Brie launched herself at Natalya but Natty moved away and Brie flew out of the ring.
7. Brie eliminated herself
Nikki attacked Natalya and while the two were busy with each other Naomi took her chance.
8. & 9. Naomi eliminated both Nikki and Natalya
It seems like Naomi is getting a renewed push for the Divas Title. Hopefully, this time around no one will put a knee in her eye socket to take her out of the game.
Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
The Lunatic Fringe tried to make this match look serious by starting it with one of his dramatic lines – “I’m ready to go to war!”. However, seeing Sargent Slaughter sitting at ringside, not even on commentary made it blatantly obvious that Ambrose was going to win with Sargent’s help.
Wyatt and Ambrose used chairs, tables and kendo sticks. It was a brawl as usual. What made an impression on me was that both times the Lunatic Fringe got caught, it was because he was way too preoccupied with setting up his props to look at his opponent. Ambrose got carried away, turned his back to Bray twice and paid for it both times.
Bray, on the other hand, got distracted by Sargent Slaughter’s presence and dared him to attack. So Sargent took his boot and gave it to Dean Ambrose, who used it to knock down Wyatt and put him through a table for the win.
The very nature of the event, made this match underwhelming. It wasn’t the competitors’ fault but the outcome was way too predictable to be exciting. Also, if two men use props every time they fight, those props gradually become less and less entertaining.
Rusev/ Daniel Bryan
Rusev and Lana were out to trash talk the USA again. The heat they got was as strong as expected.
The Russian duo was confronted by none other but Daniel Bryan. Bryan called out to the US soldiers and four men in uniforms surrounded the ring. Two of them came from the audience and two descended from the ceiling on ropes. Only then Daniel Bryan entered the squared circle.
Rusev gave way to Lana and then retreated himself. The audience celebrated with DB, chanting YES.
I see why the WWE would want to use Bryan’s pull in an event like this one but we knew he wasn’t going to wrestle Rsuev, since he’s not cleared to compete. This made the segment a tad less powerful.
John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan & Ryback vs. Seth Rollins, Luke Harper, Kane & Big Show
How many times is the WWE going to make Team Cena vs. Team Authority matches? I honestly don’t know how many more of those I can take. Next time I might just skip the main event if it’s that.
What made the difference this time around was the audience. Tribute to the Troops is probably the only show where you’ll hear WE WANT CENA chants and the CENA SUCKS chant is a taboo.
In an average match between 8 competitors who are probably bored by having to face each other every week, 3 times a week for the past month and a half, Cena played the hero, saved the day and won the fight with an impressive display of power. He first gave an AA to the Big Show and then delivered a second one to Luke Harper on top of Show, before pinning Harper.
After the match Hulk Hogan came out, waving the American flag and celebrated with the winners.
The part that I cut out from this review was the musical breaks by Florida Georgia Live and the celebrity pre-recorded Christmas wishes that aired between the matches.
Overall, I didn’t enjoy Tribute to the Troops. Knowing exactly what will happen in a show from beginning to end is not entertaining to me.
What did you think about the show? Share your thoughts in the comment section, on FB or Twitter!