Tribute to the Troops 2014
Date: December 17, 2014
Location: Columbus Civic Center, Columbus, Georgia
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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