Tribute to the Troops 2009 – It’s Hard Not To Smile At These

Tribute to the Troops 2009
Date: December 4, 2009
Location: Holt Memorial Stadium, Balad Air Base, Iraq
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

So back in 2003, WWE started doing an annual Christmas show for the troops stationed in Iraq (why did they never go to Afghanistan?). This was an awesome idea and they’ve run the same idea every year until 2010 when they started having the shows in America so people didn’t have to fly around the world for a few days. I’ve done a few of these so I figured I’d do the rest of them and since I can’t find a full copy of the first one right now, here’s the one from 2009. Let’s get to it.

Oh and before I forget: not all of the card is televised. There were eight matches on the card but only three aired on the broadcast. That would be changed I think next year. Lawler and Cole did commentary on tape from Connecticut later on.

One other note: the matches here are going to be lower quality than usual and there is nothing wrong with that. I’m going to be very lenient with my ratings on this show because the wrestling isn’t for the TV audience here.

The opening video talks about the USO’s history of taking care of the troops in combat.

Rey Mysterio/Mark Henry vs. CM Punk/Carlito

The arena is unlike anything you’ll ever see. It’s outside and everyone is in camouflage. Punk and Rey start things off in a feeling out process. They go to a test of strength with Punk easily putting Rey on the mat. Rey fights up but can’t hit the 619. Punk does the Hogan muscle pose so Rey tags in Henry. Mark runs him over a few times and drops him out of a gorilla press position. We get the Andre/Snuka splash but Carlito makes the save. Rey hits a double 619, followed by a World’s Strongest Slam on Carlito and a springboard splash to Punk for the stereo pins. Carlito was never in and this was a squash.

We get photos of the WWE guys and Divas visiting troops set to a Bob Dylan song.

Here’s Eve Torres to introduce R-Santa who introduces the Bellas, Layla, Alicia and Kelly in sexy Santa outfits to give gifts to the crowd.

Barack Obama thanks the troops for doing this.

More troop visits, including Morrison and Eve singing We Wish You A Merry Christmas. This runs for a LONG time but it’s just wrestlers shaking hands with soldiers.

General David Petraeus thanks us some more and we hear about all the cool stuff the troops do in Iraq.

The Miz vs. John Morrison

Miz is US Champion and Morrison is IC Champion, although he’s lost the title to Drew McIntyre since the show was taped. Morrison hits a fast dropkick to take over and get two as Cole talks about some commander who missed the show so he didn’t miss his anniversary for the seventh straight year. Smart man. Miz sidesteps Morrison to send him to the floor and the fans are all over Mikey. Back in and Miz goes up and gets crotched, giving Morrison a superplex for two. Starship Pain misses and Miz rolls him up for the pin with his feet on the ropes. Another short match but that’s fine.

We get a speech from Cena from after the match that’s up next. He talks about how he’s been here six years now and everyone knows how he feels about the troops. We get a highlight package set to Never Gonna Be Alone by Nickelback.

Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Chris Jericho

Cena is defending even though he already lost the title to Sheamus at TLC. Jericho would be a tag champion here (no belt for some reason) but he also lost at TLC. Bad show for champions that. We get some abbreviated big match intros and it’s time to go. Jericho immediately takes him into the corner and pounds away but Cena comes back with a release fisherman’s suplex for no cover.

Jericho gets in a kick to the face to knock Cena to the floor for the springboard dropkick. We take a break (with more videos of the soldiers) and come back with Jericho putting on the Walls. Cena finally rolls through into the STF but Jericho grabs the rope. While the hold is on we cut to a shot of the crowd and you see a fighter jet flying through the shot. That’s awesome.

Cole thanks the staff here and apparently one of the big shots is named Ned Flanders. I played that back to see if it was right and that’s the exact name he says. Jericho tries an AA off the middle rope but Jericho headbutts him down. Jericho tries a middle rope cross body but Cena rolls through into the AA to retain.

Rating: C. This was fine even though we barely saw most of the match. Jericho never beating Cena is almost a running joke at this point but I don’t think it was ever brought up. This was a very quick match which apparently ran less than eight minutes in full. To be fair though it’s like 100 degrees so the lack of endurance is acceptable.

A three minute highlight package of the while trip ends the show.

Overall Rating: N/A. I know that’s kind of cheap but we had one rateable match and a ton of the show was just clips of the guys with the troops. Still though, what in the world do you want me to say? This is about a special Christmas show and giving the troops who get shot at every day something fun. The full show versions of this we would get starting next year would be much easier to grade. It’s really hard to not smile when you watch one of these though.

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