WWE’s 18th annual Tribute to the Troops show was filmed this past week at the ThunderDome in Orlando, Florida featuring a series of matches while honoring the servicemen and women of the United States.
The show is always a feel-good event put forth by the company. After early editions saw the company embark overseas, the series has been filmed domestically over the past decade. With the ongoing pandemic, this year’s special was done without servicemen and women present, although they had a presence remotely as members of the ThunderDome audience along with various video packages mixed with WWE & FOX personalities.
It’s a simple show where the babyfaces triumph and shines a spotlight on the goodwill the company generates.
With the show sandwiched between NFL programming on FOX Sunday afternoon, this will be among the most-watched WWE programs of the year, although this isn’t a show about ratings nor angles and storyline progression.
Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, and JBL called the matches with JBL often credited with the initial idea behind Tribute to the Troops that led to its first incarnation in 2003 and the crew traveling to Baghdad, Iraq.
*The Street Profits, Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio & Jeff Hardy over Sami Zayn, King Corbin, Elias, Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler in 8:50
*Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair over Natalya & Bayley in 4:57
*Drew McIntyre over The Miz in 3:49
In the opening ten-man tag, The Street Profits teamed with Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio & Jeff Hardy defeating Sami Zayn, King Corbin, Elias, Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler.
It was noted that Montez Ford was in the U.S. Marines including a tour in Afghanistan and saw combat during his service.
There were a series of dives including Ford to set up the commercial break. Afterward, they had the heat on Bryan, who made the tag to Mysterio. Later, everyone hit their big move culminating with a 619 on Roode.
Angelo Dawkins hit Zayn with a spinning suplex and Ford landed From the Heavens pinning Zayn.
Throughout the show, FOX personalities shared messages including the NFL on FOX team comprised of Curt Menefee, Howie Long, Tony Gonzalez, and Michael Strahan. Later in the show, Troy Aikman, Joe Buck, and Erin Andrews also shared messages for the troops.
There was a segment filmed in San Diego at Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar hosted by Jay Glazer and Lacey Evans. The RAW women’s performer took part in a push-up contest with three servicemen while a marching band played. It was a light-hearted segment and Evans was very good in her role – and it was noted she was in the Marines.
HARDY performed his song “Give Heaven Some Hell” inside the Amway Center, which didn’t include any vocals from WWE’s Hardy.
Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair beat Bayley & Natalya after Banks submitted Natalya with the Bank Statement.
After the babyfaces cleared the ring, they returned from break and Banks hit a Meteora on Natalya followed by a handspring off the ropes into a standing moonsault by Belair onto Bayley.
Natalya went running over Banks’ back, who side-stepped and caught her in the Bank Statement.
There was a clip from the 2007 show in Iraq where Vince McMahon cut a heel promo stating Santa Claus wasn’t coming to Iraq this year. John Cena, dressed as Santa, came out and gave McMahon an AA.
Prior to the main event, there were messages recorded by Drew Brees, Terry Crews, and Rob Gronkowski.
The final match was a quick one where Drew McIntyre pinned The Miz. This match went less than four minutes and saw McIntyre hit his key spots with the tree of woe sit-up into a suplex on Miz.
John Morrison tried to rescue The Miz but was sent off the apron. After absorbing an eye poke, McIntyre hit the Future Shock DDT, 3-2-1, and Claymore for the pin in 3:49.