Tribute to the Troops 2014

Tribute
to the Troops 2014
Date: December 17, 2014
Location: Columbus
Civic Center, Columbus, Georgia
Attendance: 17,000
Commentators: John
Bradshaw Layfield, Michael Cole
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s that special time
of year when WWE gets to put in very little effort and bang their
chests to brag about how amazing they are for doing something for the
troops. Ignore the fact that they no longer go across the world to
do these shows or even hold them in a military base anymore and enjoy
meaningless matches, unnecessary musical performances and recorded
cameos by celebrities who aren’t actually appearing in person. Did I
mention this show has lost its shine for me in the last few years?
Let’s get to it.

Will Ferrell, the
Osbornes, Rachel Maddow, the Muppets, Michael Strahan, Kelly Ripa,
Aaron Rogers, Bruce Willis, Stephen Colbert, a bunch of wrestlers and
celebrities that I either don’t recognize or go too fast to type love
the troops.
Here’s
Hulk Hogan with an American flag, walking between some troops to open
the show. Really, is there anyone else that should be doing
something like this? He talks about how great it is to live in this
country but gets cut off by Miz and Mizdow (minus Slammys and
titles). Miz says you’re welcome to everyone here for portraying a
marine in his signature role. When you think pillar of strength of
the military, you think Miz.
This
brings out John Cena to apologize for Miz, who is either drunk or has
amnesia. When Cena thinks of toughness, he thinks of the armed
forces. When he thinks of Miz, it’s something a whole lot more
metrosexual. Like Ryan Seacrest for example. The Miz compares
himself to Bob Hope and says dying children ask people to win one for
the Miz. Cena of course doesn’t believe it and polls the fans on
whether or not Miz is a big deal.
Miz laughs it off and
says that it’s Hogan in the ring with Miz instead of him being in the
ring with Hogan. He brings up the Wrestlemania XXVII loss and says
he played a more convincing soldier than Cena ever could. The brawl
is on and Mizdow ie left alone for his team. He mimes getting beaten
up by Cena and dives over the ropes on his own in a funny bit.
This
brings out Team Authority minus Rusev but plus Big Show because even
specials need to have long opening segments. The beatdown is on but
Ryback, Rowan and Ziggler come out for the save. Team Cena and Hogan
stand tall in an actual feel good moment. Hogan has been the Real
American for over thirty years and you have to have him here for
something like this.
Angelina Jolie loves
the troops and plugs her new movie Unbroken.
Goldust/Stardust vs.
Usos
Goldust
talks trash to Jey to start and eats an uppercut for his efforts.
Off to Stardust who gets punched in the face as well before it’s off
to Jimmy for a slam. Goldust gets in a cheap shot from the apron but
Jimmy stops to dance. The Usos knock the Dusts to the floor for some
big dives as we take a break. Back with Jey being sent to the floor
for a stomping from Stardust as Cole talks about how amazing Fort
Benning is.
Stardust works on an
armbar before kicking Jey in the face for two. Goldust gets the same
off a powerslam and we hit the chinlock. Jey fights up and makes the
hot tag to his brother for some house cleaning. The Umaga attack
stuns Stardust and the enziguri sends Goldust to the floor. There’s
a big dive from Jey but Jimmy takes the Disaster Kick for two. Jimmy
pops back up with a corkscrew dive for two more. Jey superkicks
Stardust down and the double superkick sets up Superfly Splashes for
the stereo pin at 10:38.
Rating:
C.
The match was fine but it’s the same one we’ve seen half a dozen
times now. The Usos continue to have great rhythm together which you
can only find in actual brothers. The Dusts on the other hand are
still falling apart, even though they’re staying sharp in the ring.
I’d assume we’ll get to the split eventually, which I don’t hate as
much as I used to.

Lester Holt loves
the troops.
The cast of the Voice
loves the troops.
Florida Georgia Line
performs.
Tom Brokaw loves the
troops.
Divas Battle Royal
All
of the Divas are here in either Christmas themed attire or at least a
Santa hat. It’s a brawl to start with Emma quickly being eliminated.
Rosa and Summer have a dance off as the rest of the match just
stops. Thankfully they get together and eliminate the pair but
Cameron stops to check her compact. Naomi takes it away and holds it
out, making Cameron stop to look at herself again, giving Naomi the
easy elimination.
The Bellas throw Alicia
out, leaving us with the Bellas, Paige, Naomi and Natalya. Paige
busts out some mistletoe but the Bellas kick her to the floor. Naomi
tries to jump over Nikki in the corner but gets planted with an
Alabama Slam. Brie eliminates herself by missing a baseball slide,
allowing Naomi to dump the other two out for the win at 3:45.
Rating:
D+.
This is there so the girls can look good in their outfits and nothing
more. It wasn’t entertaining for the most part but thankfully they
kept this very short. This is a tradition for the show and at the
end of the day, it’s one of those things there for the fans and
nothing more.
Video of the roster
visiting the troops.
Sgt. Slaughter tells us
to stick around.
Dean Ambrose vs.
Bray Wyatt
This
is a Boot Camp match, meaning a military themed street fight. Sgt.
Slaughter does the introductions for old times’ sake. Ambrose comes
out in a camouflage hat to really suck up to the fans. It’s a brawl
to start of course with Dean hitting his dropkick against the ropes.
Bray comes back with a slam as we’re waiting on the weapons to come
into play. Dean comes back with what looked like a bulldog to send
Bray outside, setting up the suicide dive.
They head to the
camouflaged posts before Dean hits him with what looked like a tool
box. Since there aren’t enough weapons in the ring, Dean goes
underneath to find some chairs, one of which he wedges in the corner.
Bray comes back with a kendo stick shot and hammers away on Dean’s
ribs. Some right hands get two on Ambrose as the announcers debate
G.I. Joes.
We
take a break and come back with Dean fighting out of a cravate but
eating a right hand to the face. A big kendo stick shot gets two and
Bray slowly kicks away. Bray misses a big shot though and Dean takes
the stick away. Wyatt seems to like the idea but doesn’t like the
beating Ambrose gives him as much. A White Russian legsweep and
middle rope elbow with the chair get two for Dean so he starts
looking for more toys. He picks a table but takes too long setting
it up, allowing Bray to Rock Bottom Ambrose through the table for
two.
Wyatt busts out another
table but stops to get in Slaughter’s face, allowing Dean to get a
breather. Slaughter takes off his boot as Dean comes back with the
rebound clothesline. The steel toed boot comes into the ring and
goes upside Bray’s head to knock him onto the table. Dean heads up
top for the elbow through the table for the pin at 14:30.
Rating:
C+.
This was violent enough to be entertaining but the gimmick was just
there to tie things together. In other words, this was a basic
street fight with nothing special other than the last spot of the
match. Nothing much to see here, but these two have done so much
that it’s hard to find something new.
We recap the opening
segment.
Jamie Fox and Cameron
Diaz love the troops and plug their new movie Annie.
The Kardashians love
the troops.
Here
are Lana and Rusev to what should be better heat. She says the fans
are lucky to be in the presence of the greatest US Champion of all
time to make them a bit angrier. The fans shout Rusev down with the
USA chant so Lana puts up the Putin photo. She issues something like
an open challenge and here’s Daniel Bryan to interrupt and fire up
the crowd all over again.
Bryan
says the thing the Russians don’t understand about Americans is that
they never back down. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5’5 like Bryan
(that’s a bit low) or 7’2, Democrat or Republican, we fight no matter
what. If Rusev and Lana don’t like that, they should go back to
Russia. Lana laughs him off and Rusev invites Bryan out to the
floor. Daniel asks if Rusev wants to do all this right in front of
the troops. The thing about Americans is they’ll come from anywhere
to defend their freedoms. A few troops start jumping the barricade
and two repel from the ceiling to surround Rusev. Bryan gets in the
ring but Rusev bails.
The vast of the Today
Show loves the troops.
Larry the Cable Guy
loves the troops.
Florida Georgia Line
performs again.
Team Cena goes over
their game plan (an actual piece of paper labeled “game plan”).
Video on Hire Heroes.
Ryback/John
Cena/Erick Rowan/Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane/Luke Harper/Big Show/Seth
Rollins
Ryback
and Rollins get things going with Seth being powered back into the
corner. We hit the wristlock on Rollins before it’s off to Rowan for
a big (red) slam. The good guys keep their control until Seth decks
Ziggler with a right hand. Dolph is able to escape a delayed suplex
from Harper though and tags in Ryback for a delayed suplex of his
own, complete with FEED ME MORE, for two. Ziggler comes back in with
a dropkick but it’s off to Rollins to take over again. The running
DDT gets a quick two on Seth but everything breaks down with the bad
guys standing tall as we take a break.
Back
with Big Show throwing Ziggler around before it’s off to Kane. The
announcers talk about Kane attacking the Bunny with JBL talking about
how great a moment it was. Instead of letting the potential new fans
say “what are they talking about? That sounds kind of
interesting.”, Cole is right there to explain that it’s just a guy
in a bunny suit to kill the idea dead.
Rollins comes back in
and stomps away but Ziggler gets in a shot and DIVES over for the tag
to Cena. Harper comes in as well to take the finishing sequence but
Rollins breaks up the AA attempt. Kane breaks up the STF and it’s
secondary finishers a go-go. The AA plants Show and Cena AA’s Harper
onto Big show, but makes sure to shove Show out of the way so he can
pin Harper at 13:37.
Rating:
D+.
You know, they almost had me here. They had me buying into this for
just a second but then I lost the little hope I had. I can’t believe
it, but for a second I thought Big Show might actually do a job here.
Thankfully reality set in as Cena made sure to shove Big Show out of
the way after the AA and having Harper land on him so harper could
take the pin. I was getting worried there for a second.
Hogan comes out to
celebrate to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
D+.
I didn’t get as annoyed with this show as I have in the past but it’s
still not really necessary. Back in the day when the actually went
to Iraq and Afghanistan, the show felt like something special and
unique. Now it feels like a star (pre-recorded cameo) studded house
show with four matches and little effort. It also doesn’t help that
this makes eleven hours (counting Sunday’s pre-show) of WWE in four
days. If you watch all the shows like WWE implores you to do, the
burnout hit somewhere around the middle of Smackdown last night. The
show wasn’t bad, but it came and went and I won’t think of it again.
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