Ever since 2003, "WWE Raw" has made it a holiday tradition to air the "Tribute to the Troops" wrestling event. Typically held outdoors, past events have taken place in Iraq, Afghanistan and Fort Hood, Texas. This year, the WWE will travel to Fayetteville, N.C., and WWE fans have two chances to see it, on the USA Network and in prime time on NBC.
History of "Tribute to the Troops"
The original "Tribute to the Troops" special was an idea from former WWE star JBL. The shows not only presented high-quality matches, but they also focused on the soldiers and the experiences they go through during the war and overseas. Several big WWE names have made appearances at these events including Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena, The Undertaker, Rey Mysterio and Shawn Michaels. The wrestlers give huge praise to the soldiers and the dedication they give to the USA. The holiday theme of the show makes it that much more special. The first couple of years aired right around Christmas, and that trend still continues. As soldiers are away from loved ones overseas, the WWE Superstars still try to spread holiday spirit during tough times.
Moving to the USA
Logistics and budget have forced the WWE to move the "Tribute to the Troops" to bases in the United States. This allows the WWE more time to prepare a better show, but has expanded the possibilities of guest appearances. Former President George W. Bush appeared twice in pre-taped messages to congratulate the WWE, and in 2010 they had performers such as Trace Adkins and Diddy there live to entertain the troops.
2011 "Tribute to the Troops"
On the 2011 edition of the show, expect matches and appearances from WWE stars such as Mark Henry, John Cena, CM Punk, Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, The Miz and R-Truth. The show doesn't do much story line wise, but they provide quality matches and a variety of events such as Battle Royals, Street Fights and Tag Team matches.
The 2011 WWE "Tribute to the Troops" airs on NBC Dec. 17 at 9 p.m. E.T. It will air a longer version of the show on USA at a different date.