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Tribute to the Troops 2012
December 20, 2012

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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Happy, uh, Wednesday everyone! Man, I haven’t written a recap on a Wednesday since Byte This! was a thing.

Nothing has really happened to me in the past 24 hours, as expected. I’ve been off my day job today, so I’ve just been going all-out for my last IGN Entertainment assignment of the year. I’m so behind… this game came out last month, which is entirely too long of a time lapse in today’s Internet.

Wait… didn’t I talk about this in a recent precap already? Well, while I’m on the subject of subjects I’ve already subjected, how about reminding you that I did an interview with Pure Gold just a couple hours ago? If you missed it and were interested, you can check it out by visiting the episode archive here.

All right, I’m past the ad box, so let’s get to this year’s Tribute to the Troops. Now, we all know that TTTT isn’t really a “canon” episode. There probably won’t be any “stories” here, and the matches probably don’t count and won’t be mentioned in the future, but hey: maybe there will be something on tonight worth checking out on YouTube, right? That’s what I’m here for! And maybe, just maybe, some Rosa Mendes skin to make the troops (and me) happy.

Let’s roll…

Opening: We’re starting off with a nice flag-waving speech from President Obama on the Titantron, as well as an animated slideshow of some snapshots from the warzones of the soldiers and their kids, interspersed with comments from some of the superstars. Apparently Tribute to the Troops was JBL’s idea a decade ago, and he’s pretty humble about it, giving the credit to WWE to making it happen.

Our main event is John Cena vs. Antonio Cesaro, which just makes all the sense in the world. Also: classic red, white, and blue ropes. Hell yes!

Segment 1 [Tag Match]: Sheamus & Randy Orton defeat Big Show & Dolph Ziggler by pin. Good match, formulaic in the good way.

We started off with the faces absolutely dominating Dolph, soon chucking him from the ring. Show tried to get involved to salvage some momentum, but Sheamus saw him coming and went for a Brogue Kick. Show ducked it but wasn’t having this mess, so he and Dolph just up and left. The referee ordered the bell to sound only about sixty seconds into the match to give the faces the win by countout.

Immediately, Booker T’s music fired up, and the SmackDown GM hit the stage. He said that that crap wasn’t happening in front of our military, so we’re restarting the match, and implying that we’re making it no-DQ/no-countout, or at least we’ll do this until there’s a decisive winner… once the commercials finish airing.

Back from that, and it’s a standard tag match. Dolph is basically doing the heel beatdown on Sheamus, but Sheamus starts to come back. Dolph wants to tag out, but there’s something so totally wrong with Big Show’s boot, so the giant hops off the apron to fix it. Dolph cries, then gets beheaded by Sheamus’s clothesline.

Sheamus can’t close the deal though, and winds up tagging out. Orton then becomes in the face in peril as Big Show finally decides to play along. They target that INJURED~! shoulder that took damage from The Shield, but he manages to get the hot tag to Sheamus. Sheamus goes house of fire, and he simply can’t be stopped, hitting everything he’s got including the Brogue Kick on Show. Pin, done.

Segment 2: Fergie from the Black Eye Pees and the five American gymnasts who won team gold at this year’s Olympics send their wishes and messages to the military.

Segment 3: Layla is getting ready for presumably a match in the back, and then Gonzo and a couple other Muppets appear to put WWE over. Gonzo runs off, but the other two stay around to eye-hump Layla. She flirts with them and leaves, soon to be chased by them, because pro wrestling.

Segment 4: Flo Rida “sings.”

Segment 5: Josh Mathews interviews John Cena, who talks about how important the night is and the how much the whole Tribute to the Troops thing means to him. It’s a nice sentiment, but not really something that can written down without looking silly.

Pre-Segment 6: Alberto Del Rio hits the ring for a match. He gives a shoutout to the troops, which is his first face kinda-promo, I guess. Then he wants to sing “Happy Birthday” to Ricardo Rodriguez, who still gets booed. The thing is, ADR sings in Spanish, drawing more boos. I’d wager most people aren’t exactly on board with a face ADR yet; tweener, maybe, but not a face.

Anyway, the last line is interrupted by Ryback, who hits the ring much to ADR’s fury. Let’s get it on!

Segment 6 [Singles Match]: Ryback squashes Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) by disqualification. Ryback did about thirty seconds of offense, completely obliterating his reserve energy. To keep the show from slowing down, RR hit the ring and did a shitty (which made sense) rear naked choke.

Post-Segment 6: But Ryback is invincible to everyone but The Shield, so he no-sold it and beheaded RR with his super clothesline, then followed up with the Shellshock. Then he Shellshocked ADR for the hell of it.

Segment 7: Kid Rock “sings.” Actually, that song wasn’t too bad, so… we’ll say Kid Rock sings.

Segment 8: Mathews interviews Fozzie the Bear, which then segues to the two old dude movie critics whose names I can’t remember. I… I have no soul.

Segment 9: It’s time Miz TV, this time on the stage. Why? Because it stars the Muppets!

Kermit starts off with some shout-outs to the military, then pimps a song single. But Miz wants the hard answers: what’s up with him and Miss Piggy? What exactly is the nature of their relationship? Kermit doesn’t want to answer—“For me, that policy is still ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.’ ”—but Miz just won’t let up. Kermit goes ahead and breaks the fourth wall by insisting that Miz shouldn’t be asking those kinds of questions since he’s a good guy now.

Miz says he’s not good or bad… he’s awesome! And he’s so awesome, he’s got Miss Piggy as a second guest. She pops up behind the conveniently placed table on the stage, and she tells the troops to get a good look at her, because she’s what they’ve been fighting for. Cute.

So Kermit gets cold feet, and he says that they’re simply they’re just a “simple frog and lovely pig who care about each other.” Really? Well fine, then marry her right the hell now!

Piggy is all for that, but Kermit totally isn’t. The crowd wants to see it, but Damien Sandow pops out because he’s got other ideas. He’s sick of this crap, because Miz was so much better, an interspecies marriage is gross, and the troops certainly don’t want anything to do with Miss Piggy. His calculations, which are always so totally right, state that 78% of the soldiers have already replaced pictures of loved ones from their wallets with pictures of Sandow himself.

And anyway, no one would want to marry Miss Piggy. Except maybe The Miz, because they’re so much alike: they’re both obnoxious and overrated hams. Nice!

Miss Piggy isn’t having any of that, and she’s about to totally karate chop Sandow. Miz stops her… she’s a guest of his show, after all, so “allow me!” Miz throws a punch to Sandow’s face, which he sells like a he was just hit with a wrecking ball. Fun times!

Segment 10 [Singles Match]: The Miz defeats Damien Sandow by pin. Standard match, decent but nothing special. Sandow with main offense, signaling the end sequence with a Spear of all things. Sandow follows it up with a running twisting neckbreaker, but when goes for the pin, Miz reverses leverage and pulls off the win out of nowhere. Kermit and Miss Piggy are ecstatic, but Sandow… well, Sandow isn’t so happy.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Sandow have another promo with the Muppets. The comedy pretty much writes itself.

After the match, Miss Piggy offers her cheek for Miz to smooch. Kermit is fine with it, so Miz kneels and goes for the kiss… and Miss Piggy tries to suck his face off. Miz looks like a child as he tries to recover from that and holds his arms in celebration. JBL makes an astute observation that Miss Piggy just pulled an AJ.

Segment 11: Three members of the Miami Heat and Katie Couric give their well wishes to the military.

Segment 12: Flo Rida “sings” again.

Segment 13: Video montage of all 10 years of Tribute to the Troops.

Segment 14: Daniel Bryan and Kane are chatting in the back. Apparently, they’ve got a six-man tag match tonight, and they were told that they needed to choose a third man for their team. DB knows that neither he nor Kane want anyone else coming in to ruin their relationship… so he’s found the perfect “partner”… Little Jimmy! Kane solemnly nods and says that he’s on board.

But here comes R-Truth with some good news and bad news. Turns out that Little Jimmy’s cousin, Ugly Freda, is finally getting married! So Little Jimmy is at the wedding, but R-Truth will totally do it instead! And after their match, they can do it all: go clubbing, do some karaoke, or even kill some spiders! Can I get a what’s up!!!

Kane looks… concerned. But Truth says they’re clearly just saving up their energy for tonight, so let’s get out there and win our match!

He takes off, and Kane just looks at DB and deadpans “I blame you for this.” Kane leaves as DB pulls a Snitsky and declares it’s not his fault, followed by a hundred “No!” screams.

Then a voice counters “Yes! Yes!” DB turns around, and it’s Animal (the Muppet, not the wrestler). They get into a yes/no argument for a second, but Animal is too cool to deal with this stupidity, so he just calls DB a goatface and leaves.

DB insists he does not have a goatface, so he turns to leave… and runs into a goat Muppet, who looks at him and just says “Cousin Daniel?”

Very funny, but you have to see it, you know?

Segment 15 [Six-Man Tag Match]: R-Truth & Team Friendship defeat 3MB by pin. Standard match, nothing special. DB was the face in peril as the “heels” cut the ring in half. DB got the hot tag to Kane, who absolutely dominated by himself. During Kane’s momentum, he wanted to hit both Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater with simultaneous chokeslams, but they pushed him away.

The problem is, they pushed him directly to R-Truth’s spot on the apron. Kane bounced off the ropes, but Truth tagged himself in. Kane grabbed Jinder’s throat, big booted Slater, then hit the chokeslam on Jinder anyway. Truth came in and immediately hit the Little Jimmy on Slater, then pinned him for the win.

Truth’s music played, but he wanted an explosion, so he encouraged Kane to blow his corner pyros. Kane looked confused but did it anyway, though Truth immediately covered his ears. As the three of them left the ring, they stopped on the ramp so Truth could mime blowing the corner pyros a few times. He then led them up the rest of the way as he Broadly gestured how much they’re going to totally tear up the town.

Segment 16: Kid Rock sings. It’s one of his trademark songs, but damned if I know the title.

Segment 17: Mathews has been busy, as now he interviews Antonio Cesaro. Cesaro wonders why we’re not holding the Tribute to the Troops in Switzerland, his home town, because they’re neutral. Unlike the US, the Swiss don’t “stick their noses in places they don’t belong,” and that’s why Switzerland is the best country ever. Every country wants to be Switzerland, including the United States, just like how every superstar wishes they were him, including John Cena.

What a jerk! I hope Cena kicks his ass! Go America!

Segment 18: Sharron Stone and some douche from the Twilight movies give the troops their well wishes.

Segment 19 [Singles Match]: John Cena defeats Antonio Cesaro by pin. If you really needed me to type that match header, you really need to pay attention to WWE more.

It was as standard of a Cena match as you can possibly get, with Cena getting his ass kicked for 95% of it until he hit his Five Moves of Doom, ending with the FU. The crowd was very pro-Cena, and we even heard a “Let’s go Cena!” chant that didn’t have much of a “Cena sucks!” to back it up.

Post-Segment 19: Cena grabs a mic and puts over the whole show, and the troops… and the Muppets and everyone else who was on it, too. Good stuff… except it may have been a little better if he hadn’t been blown up at first. Heh.

As all the troops stand up and take the cheers of the crowd, the whole locker room appears on the stage to give them all a standing ovation. Good stuff.

But they’ve got one more thing… and from the stage, we’ve got Santa Clause in a sleigh being pulled by reindeer… “reindeer,” in this case, meaning Tyson Kidd, Zack Ryder, Santino Marella, the Prime Time Players, the Usos, and Yoshi Tatsu.

As they come to ringside, everyone who was on the stage—face and heel alike—come down to the front row and start mingling with everyone. Even Eve pulls a “turn” as she sucks up everyone. My Rosa Mendes kisses some old dude, which means I need to join the Army and gain about thirty years for next year. There’s my New Year’s Resolution!

Final Thoughts: Good show. I wasn’t exactly happy with how up its own ass WWE was with some of those slideshows, but I liked it. All wrestlers’ entrances (other than Antonio, who didn’t get one) were interspersed with some pictures of them mingling with the military, which was pretty cool.

A fun watch, pure entertainment, and totally harmless. What’s not to love? It’s a good end to the main part of WWE Week, which apparently ends tomorrow (Thursday night) on USA. Don’t worry, we won’t have another show or recap for you; it’s because Big Show will be guest starring on Burn Notice, a.k.a. the only other show on USA Network worth your time. I’ll be checking that out, though I would have checked it out anyway.

No episode grade: if you watch it, just enjoy it! Rick tells me OO won't bother giving all the taped TV shows full treatment over the next two weeks... he do some bare bones reappage, probably on a slightly delayed basis, so check that out. But I won't be back until the big-ass January 7 RAW with Punk vs. Ryback and the return of The Rock.
Happy holidays, and see you then!



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