WWE Tribute to the Troops

WWE Tribute to the Troops is an annual professional wrestling event held by WWE and Armed Forces Entertainment, which takes place during the month of December (specifically during the holiday season) since 2003, to honor and entertain United States Armed Forces members.

WWE Tribute to the Troops
Created byVince McMahon
John Layfield
StarringWWE roster
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes16 (as of December 20, 2018)
Running time120 minutes
Original networkUPN (2003–2004)
USA Network (2005–2018)
NBC (2008–2014)
Original releaseDecember 25, 2003 
External links

In the early years of the event, WWE put on shows for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, with performers and employees traveling to these countries and interacting with troops, as well as visiting military camps, bases and hospitals. In recent years, WWE has done the show in the U.S., promoting events at (and nearby) domestic military bases, as well as visiting sites such as Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital.[1]


The idea of the event is credited to wrestler John "Bradshaw" Layfield, who suggested it to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.

WWE first held the event in December 2003, from Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq and aired it on Christmas Day as a special episode of WWE SmackDown. In the main event, John Cena defeated Big Show, and Stone Cold Steve Austin came out after the match, performed a Stunner on both men, and finally invited all the talent backstage to the ring to celebrate.[2] For this Tribute to the Troops and all others until 2011, commentary was recorded at WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, as commentators were not at ringside.

In December 2004, WWE traveled to COB Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq. The TV show, Christmas in Iraq, aired on December 23 as another special SmackDown episode. Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio defeated Kurt Angle and Luther Reigns in the main event.[2]

On December 9, 2005, WWE held the event at the Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan. It aired December 19 on WWE Raw. In the main event, Shawn Michaels beat Triple H in a Boot Camp match.[2][3]

In 2006, the show was taped at Camp Victory in Baghdad, aired on Raw on Christmas Day, and had Carlito pin Randy Orton in the main event. A day before taping, a mortar attack happened near the camp, injuring 14 soldiers. Michael Cole reported details from the scene minutes later.[2][4]

In 2007, WWE returned to Tikrit. D-Generation X members Triple H and Shawn Michaels defeated Umaga and Mr. Kennedy in the main event, which aired on Christmas Eve on WWE Raw.[2][5]

2008's show from Camp Liberty, Baghdad was the first to air in a non-standard WWE timeslot, a one-hour December 20 special on NBC. In its main event, John Cena, Batista and Rey Mysterio defeated Chris Jericho, The Big Show and Randy Orton in a six-man tag team match.[2][6]

WWE again travelled to Iraq in 2009. In the main event from Joint Base Balad, John Cena retained his WWE Championship from Chris Jericho. It aired on December 19, 2009 on NBC.[7]

In 2010, WWE held its first domestically hosted Tribute to the Troops, from Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas on December 11. It aired on NBC December 18 for one hour, with a message from former president George W. Bush.[8] A two-hour version of the show aired December 22 on USA Network.

The 2019 edition marked the first time that the event would not be aired on television.[9][10]

Awards and honors

  • In 2004, the United Service Organizations (USO) of Metropolitan Washington awarded WWE with the first-ever Legacy of Hope award "for its extensive support of our troops and the USO's Operation Care Package program".[1]
  • In 2005, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service awarded WWE the first-ever Three-Commander Coin Award "for WWE's support of its partnership with AAFES to improve the quality of life for our troops by supporting service members and their families worldwide".[1]
  • During the 2006 show, Director of Air Force Morale, Welfare and Recreation Art Myers presented WWE Chairman Vince McMahon with the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service Award. McMahon immediately presented the award to John Bradshaw Layfield, who had the idea for the show.[1][11]
  • In 2007, the WWE received the first Corporate Patriot Award at the annual GI Film Festival in Washington, D.C., "in recognition of its ongoing support and appreciation of the U.S. military and their families, particularly its annual holiday Tribute to the Troops tour to entertain troops in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan".[1]
  • In 2008, then President George W. Bush aired a message during the show, thanking WWE for giving US troops the gift of entertainment every Christmas. He did so again in 2010.
  • In 2011 and 2012, WWE aired messages from President Barack Obama during the broadcasts, expressing his gratitude for the Armed Forces for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • In 2015, the WWE themselves began presenting a custom WWE Championship belt to the servicemen and women who have helped in hosting the event and for their continued service to the country. The custom belt features side plates that commemorate the year's event.[12] They have presented custom belts every year since.[13][14][15]



  1. "About WWE's Support of Our Troops..." WWE. Archived from the original on 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  2. Cawthon, Graham. "Tribute to the Troops results". Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  3. "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2005". WWE. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  4. "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2006". WWE. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  5. "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2007". WWE. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  6. "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2008". WWE. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  7. Clayton, Corey (2009-11-11). "Tribute to the Troops airs Dec. 19 on NBC". WWE Universe. Archived from the original on November 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
  8. K, T (2010-11-07). "Tribute to the Troops airs Dec. 18 on NBC". WWE Universe. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  9. "WWE Tribute To The Troops Reportedly Won't Air This Year - 411Mania.com". December 10, 2019. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  10. "WWE Hasn't Discussed Airing Tribute to the Troops As WWE Network Special - 411Mania.com". December 12, 2019. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  11. Cole, Michael. "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2007". WWE. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  12. Triple H [@TripleH] (December 8, 2015). "Honored to present a Troops WWE World Heavyweight Championship to Captains Stacey K. Wright and Scott Gray at US Navy" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  13. Triple H [@TripleH] (December 13, 2016). "This Championship is in recognition of all you do for our country. Thank you Cmd. Sgt Troxell, Elaine Rogers & Maj. Gen. Becker" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  14. Triple H [@TripleH] (December 5, 2017). "Thank you to Captain Roy Love, Commanding Officer of US Navy Base San Diego and his staff for hosting Tribute to the Troops and helping WWE honor our armed forces today and always" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  15. Triple H [@TripleH] (December 4, 2018). "Thank You to Major General Felix Gedney, Colonel Henry Perry, and all the servicemen and women at Ft. Hood for allowing us to host Tribute to the Troops this morning and for your continued service to our country" (Tweet) via Twitter.
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