Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Tribute To The Troops 2006
Date: December 25, 2006
Location: Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
It’s time for a pretty cool tradition as this is the annual Tribute To The Troops show. This time around they are over in Iraq for a show where the wrestling does not mean a thing and we get to see a bunch of wrestlers and celebrities talk about how great the military is. This may or may not be your cup of beverage but let’s get to it.
The opening video looks at the history of the USO and others helping to entertaining the troops. Tonight, WWE will be doing exactly the same.
John Cena vs. Edge
Non-title. Cena takes him down with a headlock takeover but Edge gets to his feet and takes it into the corner. That earns him a hiptoss and slam for two but Cena misses a charge and walks into a DDT. Some right hands in the corner keep Cena in trouble until he gets dropped face first onto the top turnbuckle. A clothesline cuts Cena off again and he heads to the apron, meaning it’s time for a slugout. Cena gets knocked off the top and out to the floor, setting up the baseball slide as we take a break.
Back with Edge working on a bodyscissors to stay on the ribs but Cena fights up. The Throwback drops Edge again and it’s time for a double breather. There’s a big boot to give Edge two but he takes too much time grabbing a chair, allowing Cena to get two off a rollup. A spinwheel kick sets up a quickly broken camel clutch on Cena, who starts the expected comeback. The FU is countered into the Impaler though and Edge goes up top….where he gets caught by Cena, only to counter into an electric chair to put Cena down again. The spear hits corner though and the FU finishes Edge.
Rating: C+. Pretty much a house show main event here, which these two have had probably a hundred times by now. Granted this isn’t a show where the wrestling itself is going to matter whatsoever. You aren’t going to have the All American Boy losing here though and it isn’t like anyone losing to Cena is hurt whatsoever. Is there a reason they didn’t make this a title match though?
A General gave a nice speech about WWE and giving the soldiers some Americana.
Video on wrestlers interacting with troops.
CM Punk and Shelton Benjamin wish the troops and their families a happy holidays.
CM Punk vs. Shelton Benjamin
Shelton jumps him to start but the threat of a right hand sends him outside as we get some credits for the military people who helped air the show. Back in and Punk is sent shoulder first into the post, setting up a rather logical shoulder breaker. Punk fights out of an armbar but a hair pull puts him right back down. That means a second armbar for Punk to fight out of, setting up some kicks into a bulldog. A military helicopter flies by as Shelton jumps the corner to grab a superplex for two. The Stinger Splash misses though and Punk grabs a rollup for the pin.
Rating: C. Much quicker match here and it worked well enough. Punk winning by fluke is the right way to go as he isn’t ready for a dominant win over Benjamin, but you can see that WWE has some plans for him. Good enough match here with the arm work and Punk won, meaning there isn’t much to complain about.
Some troops say hi and one gets pinned.
Johnny Nitro vs. Undertaker
Melina is here too and this could be interesting. Undertaker’s entrance doesn’t work as well in the light, but the lack of hat and coat is understandable in the desert. Nitro dodges around to start and gets in a few right hands in the corner. That earns him a quick toss into the same corner and some much bigger right hands as the dominance begins. Undertaker starts cranking on the arm and Old School connects. Nitro slips out of the Last Ride though and hits an enziguri but Undertaker clotheslines him down. Snake Eyes into the big boot sets up the chokeslam and it’s a Tombstone for the fast pin.
Rating: C. Another short and to the point match here with Undertaker’s appearance alone giving the soldiers a thrill. I believe this is the only singles match that these two would ever have, which is kind of surprising as you would think they might have met each other down the line at some point. Still though, just a quick near squash here and for a show like this, that’s the right idea.
Undertaker poses for a good while.
Earlier today, Lilian Garcia sang the National Anthem, which as usual, is great.
Wrestlers and troops say seasons greetings.
Video on wrestlers interacting with troops and doing military things when mortar attacks went off. Everyone had to go and take cover, which is quite the moment. Fourteen soldiers were injured.
Bobby Lashley vs. Hardcore Holly
Non-title. Lashley drives him into the corner to start and busts out the gorilla press, which always looks good. A shoulder puts Holly down again and a snap suplex gets two. There’s the delayed vertical suplex for the same and they go outside, where Holly sends him hard into the steps. Back in and Holly sends the shoulder into the post, setting up the armbar. Lashley fights up and slaps on a torture rack, which he drops down into a backbreaker for another two. Holly gets in his own suplex but Lashley grabs a running powerslam for the pin.
Rating: C-. Another short and to the point match here with Lashley, the ex-military guy, getting to look pretty dominant in the win. Lashley is the next big thing in ECW and it is making him feel like a much bigger deal, even if he is stuck beating up people like Holly and Test every so often.
An Iraqi Army captain explains some of what the two militaries are doing.
Wrestlers meet troops and do stuff.
Umaga vs. Jeff Hardy
Non-title. Hardy hammers away to start but gets knocked down without much effort. The sitdown splash misses though and they head outside with Umaga sending him into the post. Another ram into the barricade keeps Hardy in trouble and they head back inside for a kick to the spine. The nerve hold goes on to keep Hardy down but Umaga’s top rope splash misses. Hardy is back up with the Whisper in the Wind for two and there’s the Twist of Fate. The Swanton only hits knees though and Umaga unloads in the corner. The running hip attack sets up the Samoan Spike to put Hardy away.
Rating: C. Ok then. I’m not sure what the point was in having the champion lose here but again, it isn’t like it matters. Umaga is on a roll at this point and we are going to be getting a heck of a showdown with Cena at the pay per view. Going over Hardy makes Umaga look good, though it is kind of weird to see a champion getting mostly squashed.
The Director of Armed Forces Entertainment gives a lieutenant the 2.6 millionth letter the military has received.
Carlito vs. Randy Orton
Carlito’s headlock doesn’t last long to start so he goes with the left hands in the corner instead. An armdrag sets up an armbar but Orton pokes him in the eye and hits a dropkick. A swinging side slam gives Orton two and we hit the chinlock. Carlito fights up for the slugout and the springboard elbow to the face gets two. The RKO is countered into the Backstabber but Orton grabs the ropes to save himself. A rollup with feet on the ropes gets two so Carlito rolls him up and grabs the trunks for the pin.
Rating: C-. They couldn’t have had Carlito lose to Umaga and have Hardy win here? Anyway, Carlito continues to not be the most inspiring guy and having him beat Orton feels a bit out of place. The fans seemed to like the cheating win at the end though and it’s nice to give the soldiers something to cheer.
Santa meets some of the women, who have been naughty this year.
Some troops worked in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces.
And now, JBL Claus (pull your beard up man). Santa talks about how great the troops are and brings out Krystal, Maria and Torrie to meet some troops. Santa: “Does Santa Claus rock or what?” We get some jokes about how the women look and then Santa has them throw out some gifts. This goes on for a good bit until Chris Masters comes out to interrupt.
Masters says he hates Christmas and doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. He doesn’t like the way the troops drool over Santa’s helpers, so let’s have a Masterlock Challenge for one of the troops. Well hang on a second, as first he is challenging Santa to the Masterlock Challenge. The hold goes on and JR thinks Rudolph needs to make a save. Santa is out and Masters wins, saying there is no Christmas (because Masters doesn’t get that Santa has already done his work for the year).
Masters looks for a soldier to take the challenge and picks one of the smallest around. The Masterlock goes on again and this time JBL comes in to break kick Masters in the back….which is enough to break the hold and the soldier wins. JBL and the women say Merry Christmas to wrap it up.
One more long video on the trip ends the show.
Overall Rating: C. I never know how to rate a show like this but this is the very basic version compared to what the show would become. What we got here was good enough though as the wrestling was fine enough and it still felt special. Above all else, the idea of going over to Iraq makes the show come off as important. WWE putting in some effort is nice and this worked out rather well for a Christmas night special.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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