WWE Tribute To The Troops 2016 Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Genrally, WWE’s annual “Tribute To The Troops” is holiday filler with little storyline impact.
2016’s was somewhat different, as they took advantage of Raw’s Roadblock: End Of The Line Pay-Per-View four days away and shaped the main event around it, also in a way that allowed the “patriotic faithful” theme to stay relevant.
Either scenario, no going back now.
– The SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon/Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon backstage promo saw the rival siblings announce that their differences would be put aside to show solidarity for America, or something lame like that. At least this would be a unified effort to keep the two hours interesting.
– The opening video concentrated on the fact that it was the 14th annual edition, as we looked back to the 2003 edition, which began the tradition. At one point, they performed the show overseas strictly in front of military before they moved their way to military bases. This show came from Washington, DC, the nation’s capital. We guess that makes sense. Lillian Garcia even sang the national anthem to give things a patriotic flavor.
– The WWE United States Champion Roman Reigns/WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens/Rusev/Lana/Big Cass/Raw General Manager Mick Foley in-ring segment set the show’s tone, as it was “Americans Vs. Foreigners” yet again, but with a purpose to hype Roadblock: EOTL. Of course they started with Reigns, because America. He had a mixed reaction at best. Owens was good in his portion as he called himself the reason why people tuned in and that the troops needed to thank him. He also threatened to take the United States Title and rename it the Canadian Championship. Rusev was in there to speak about Bulgaria, which led Reigns to make some personal insults about his kissing skills. As expected, the heels came down to the ring to beat down Reigns, before Cass saved him since he feuded with Rusev. Foley’s portion made things official – a tag team match. The crowd sounded slightly disappointed since it seemed they expected Enzo Amore too.
– The WWE Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Fatal Four-Way Tag Team match between Cesaro/Sheamus, The Shining Stars, Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson and The Golden Truth was about right on paper. The thing that sucks about Raw’s Tag Team Division is that it’s the same teams getting opportunities. Lazy booking. Obviously, we pulled for Sheamus/Cesaro since they came close two other times to winning the belts, so it only made sense to showcase their momentum. Shining Stars and GT were surely there to add to the party. We secretly hoped Shining Stars would somehow pull it out just to change up the formula a bit. Decent action, as Gallows worked some stiff right hands and R-Truth was more enthusiastic than usual. A fine finish where Sheamus Brogue Kicked both Shining Stars members after a late offensive tear from Cesaro. They’ve faced WWE Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day so many times they’ll probably be the ones to uncrown them at this point.
– The WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz-Apollo Crews match built off the previous night’s segment when Crews and his new BFF comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias had fun at his expense. Miz had the right heel move as he called himself an inspiration for the troops because of “The Marine” franchise and issued an open challenge, which set up Fluffy to appear and cut a surprisingly great promo on how the Champ wore bedazzled underwear and was ridiculous. His delivery was almost Owens-like. Yup, that good. Anyways, he introduced Crews to be the one to answer. The match wasn’t anything special besides for Crews’ fancy athletic spots, as Fluffy took selfies at ringside to anger the heels. Crews took advantage of the distraction and pinned Miz. The Champ took the time to note that the belt wasn’t on the line, but we assume that Crews will get a Title shot in the future by SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan.
– The Six-Man Tag between Dolph Ziggler/American Alpha and WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Wyatt Family was interesting on paper, since given the show’s theme, the faces would likely go over. It was filler, but some nice action. Wyatt hit a Yurinagi for the ages on Chad Gable and that set up the Sister Abigail pose into the RKO for the win. We were actually surprised they opted to have the heels go over Team America there.
– The Bayley/Dana Brooke/Charlotte backstage segment set up the Bayley-Brooke match as the heels walked in on Bayley making friends with a dog named Charlie. Some lame dog metaphors were used as Bayley implied Brooke was one, which called for Brooke to get the last word about “her bite being bigger than her bark.” Our attention was more on the fact that Charlotte/Brooke were on screen together again.
– The Bayley-Brooke match was standard filler, which saw Bayley win with the Bayley-To-Belly after she canceled out Charlotte as a ringside factor when she shoved Brooke into her. It must be tough for Bayley to stay positive these days, but she can rest assured that she’s above Alicia Fox and Brooke on Raw’s pecking order.
– The Six-Man Tag between TJ Perkins/WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann/”The Extraordinary Gentleman” Jack Gallagher and Tony Nese/Drew Gulak/Brian Kendrick was a way to get the Cruiserweights on the show and hype the Roadblock Swann/Perkins/Kendrick Triple-Threat. Fast, pleasing action from the Perkins/Swann duo, while Gallagher delivered his own double axe handle from the apron after a tease of an aerial maneuver. Awesome. Gallagher balances out the other duo and at least there were specific heel-faces here. The finish saw Swann get the pin after a spinning heel kick on Gulak. The Champ heads into Roadblock with the momentum, but would he walk out with the belt? That’s the question, kids.
– The ND/Club/Shield backstage segment was probably the show’s most fun part for long-term viewers who got the faction references. This was a first time in a while The Club appeared together on screen. The Shield’s appearance when ND brought up the discussion of greatest teams in history was fun to see, although a bit unbelievable. Did Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose ever sort things out? Either way, fun for nostalgic purposes and the rumors will probably fly about something happening with the teams down the road, like say SummerSlam or Survivor Series 2017.
– The Cass/Reigns-Owens/Rusev main event began with a pre-match promo from Enzo/Cass that was patriotic, of course. Glad they brought out Enzo for this. The fans waited a while. Anyways, okay action as Owens purposely avoided Reigns when it didn’t work in his favor. Owens’ trolling levels were at an all-time high throughout the match and it actually helped build the babyfaces’ comeback. Good tease when we saw a Rusev kick/Owens frog splash almost get the win over Cass, but he had the hot tag for Reigns and it wasn’t long before he hit a Superman Punch on Owens on the apron and Speared Rusev to get the win. Standard stuff for a television special while it also hyped Roadblock: EOTL.
- WWE Raw Tag Team Championships #1 Contender’s Fatal Four-Way Tag Match – Cesaro/Sheamus def. The Shining Stars, The Golden Truth and Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows via pinfall
- Apollo Crews (w/Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias) def. The Miz (w/Maryse) via pinfall
- Six-Man Tag – The Wyatt Family def. American Alpha/Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
- Bayley def. Dana Brooke (w/Charlotte) via pinfall
- Six-Man Tag – Rich Swann/TJ Perkins/”The Extraordinary Gentleman” Jack Gallagher def. Tony Nese/Drew Gulak/Brian Kendrick via pinfall
- Roman Reigns/Big Cass (w/Enzo Amore) def. Rusev (w/Lana)/Kevin Owens via pinfall
Posted on February 25, 2017, in WWE and tagged American Alpha, Apollo Crews, Bayley, Big Cass, Brian Kendrick, Byron Saxton, Cesaro, Charlotte, Dana Brooke, Dolph Ziggler, Drew Gulak, Enzo Amore, Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias, Jack Gallagher, JBL, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Lana, Luke Gallows, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Rich Swann, Roadblock: End Of The Line, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Shane McMahon, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, The Club, The Golden Truth, The Miz, The New Day, The Shield, The Shining Stars, The Wyatt Family, TJ Perkins, Tony Nese, Tribute To The Troops. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.