WWE Tribute to the Troops

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

WWE Tribute to the Troops
Created byVince McMahon
John Layfield
StarringSmackDown roster
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes20[a]
Running time120 minutes
Original release
NetworkUPN (2003–2004)
USA Network (2005–2018)
NBC (2008–2014)
Fox (2020–present)
ReleaseDecember 25, 2003 (2003-12-25) –

WWE Tribute to the Troops is an American annual professional wrestling event held by WWE and Armed Forces Entertainment. Since 2003, the show airs as a television special during the month of December (specifically during the holiday season), with the exception of the 2019 event, which was a special non-televised event, and the 2021 event, which aired in mid-November. As its name implies, the show honors and entertains United States Armed Forces members. Since 2020, the event airs on Fox and features wrestlers primarily from the SmackDown brand.

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. Since 2010, the show has taken place in the US, with events typically promoted at and near domestic military bases, as well as visiting sites such as Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital.[1] The 2021 event was the first not to be held at or near a military base, and the first not to air in December.[2]


Series creator John Layfield interacting with soldiers

The idea of the event is credited to wrestler John "Bradshaw" Layfield, who suggested it to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.[3][4]

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 SmackDown!.[5][6][7] 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.[8] 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 television 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.[8]

Chris Jericho performs an enzuigiri on Randy Orton during the 2007 Tribute to the Troops

On December 9, 2005, WWE held the event at the Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan. It aired December 19, this time on USA Network as a special edition of WWE Raw. In the main event, Shawn Michaels beat Triple H in a Boot Camp match.[8][9]

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.[8][10]

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.[8][11]

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, Big Show and Randy Orton in a six-man tag team match.[8][12]

WWE again traveled to Iraq in 2009. In the main event from Joint Base Balad, John Cena retained his WWE Championship against Chris Jericho. It aired on December 19, 2009 on NBC.[13]

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.[14] A two-hour version of the show aired December 22 on USA Network.

The 2019 edition marked the first and so far only time that the event was not aired on television.[15][16]

The 2020 edition returned to television, this time being broadcast from Orlando's Amway Center, by way of the WWE ThunderDome bio-secure bubble. The one-hour special aired on Fox on December 6, adjunct to NFL coverage.[17]

The 2023 edition was broadcast live as a special episode of SmackDown on December 8, 2023, from Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence, Rhode Island.[18] To cross promote the Army–Navy Game occurring the following day at Gillette Stadium, CBS college football commentator Brad Nessler made a guest appearance.[19]

Awards and honors[edit]

WWE wrestlers during the 2003 Tribute to the Troops
  • 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][20]
  • In 2007, 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.[citation needed] He did so again in 2010.[21]
  • 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.[22][23]
  • In 2015, 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.[24][additional citation(s) needed] They have presented custom belts every year since.[25][additional citation(s) needed]


# Date Airdate Venue Location
1 December 20, 2003 December 25, 2003 Camp Victory Baghdad, Iraq
2 December 18, 2004 December 23, 2004 Camp Speicher Tikrit, Iraq
3 December 9, 2005 December 19, 2005 Bagram Air Base Bagram, Afghanistan
4 December 8, 2006 December 25, 2006 Camp Victory Baghdad, Iraq
5 December 7, 2007 December 24, 2007 Camp Speicher Tikrit, Iraq
6 December 5, 2008 December 20, 2008 Camp Victory Baghdad, Iraq
7 December 4, 2009 December 19, 2009 Holt Memorial Stadium (Balad Air Base) Balad, Iraq
8 December 11, 2010 December 18, 2010 Fort Hood Killeen, Texas
9 December 9, 2011 December 19, 2011 Norfolk Scope Norfolk, Virginia
10 December 11, 2012 December 13, 2012 Crown Coliseum Fayetteville, North Carolina
11 December 11, 2013 December 28, 2013 Joint Base Lewis-McChord Tacoma, Washington
12 December 11, 2014 December 17, 2014 Columbus Civic Center Columbus, Georgia
13 December 8, 2015 December 23, 2015 Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena Jacksonville, Florida
14 December 13, 2016 December 14, 2016 Verizon Center Washington, D.C.
15 December 5, 2017 December 14, 2017 Naval Base San Diego San Diego, California
16 December 4, 2018 December 20, 2018 Fort Hood Killeen, Texas
17 December 4, 2019 Not aired on TV Marine Corps Air Station New River
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
Jacksonville, North Carolina
18 December 2, 2020 December 6, 2020 Amway Center Orlando, Florida
19 October 15, 2021 November 14, 2021 Toyota Arena Ontario, California
20 November 11, 2022 December 17, 2022 Gainbridge Fieldhouse Indianapolis, Indiana
21 December 8, 2023 December 8, 2023[b] Amica Mutual Pavilion Providence, Rhode Island



  1. ^ a b c d e "About WWE's Support of Our Troops..." WWE. Archived from the original on 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  2. ^ Wolstanholme, Danny (November 8, 2021). "What date will WWE Tribute to the Troops 2021 be telecasted on TV?". www.sportskeeda.com. Archived from the original on November 12, 2021. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  3. ^ Mueller, The Doctor Chris. "Why WWE's Tribute to the Troops Is Their Most Important Event of the Year". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on 2021-10-25. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  4. ^ "WWE Tribute to the Troops Special Returning to Television". WWE. Archived from the original on 2020-11-25. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  5. ^ Featherstone, Chris (2016-11-12). "WWE News: Next WWE 'Tribute to the Troops' event announced". www.sportskeeda.com. Archived from the original on 2021-12-02. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  6. ^ "WWE Tribute to the Troops comes to Washington, D.C." WWE Community. Archived from the original on 2020-12-02. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  7. ^ "WWE stars grapple onto post for Tribute to the Troops". www.army.mil. Archived from the original on 2021-05-20. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Cawthon, Graham. "Tribute to the Troops results". Archived from the original on 2016-12-21. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  9. ^ "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2005". WWE. Archived from the original on 2017-08-17. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  10. ^ "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2006". WWE. Archived from the original on 2017-08-24. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  11. ^ "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2007". WWE. Archived from the original on 2017-08-17. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  12. ^ "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2008". WWE. Archived from the original on 2017-08-17. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ K, T (2010-11-07). "Tribute to the Troops airs Dec. 18 on NBC". WWE Universe. Archived from the original on 2017-08-17. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  15. ^ "WWE Tribute To The Troops Reportedly Won't Air This Year - 411Mania.com". December 10, 2019. Archived from the original on December 13, 2019. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  16. ^ "WWE Hasn't Discussed Airing Tribute to the Troops As WWE Network Special - 411Mania.com". December 12, 2019. Archived from the original on December 13, 2019. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  17. ^ "18th Annual "WWE Tribute to the Troops" to Air on FOX". The Futon Critic. November 11, 2020. Archived from the original on November 23, 2023. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  18. ^ McGuire, Colin (2023-12-08). "WWE SmackDown Tribute to the Troops live results: CM Punk returns". WON/F4W - WWE news, Pro Wrestling News, WWE Results, AEW News, AEW results. Retrieved 2023-12-09.
  19. ^ O'Neill, Robert (2023-12-09). "Brad Nessler appears on WWE Smackdown, calls match". Awful Announcing. Retrieved 2023-12-09.
  20. ^ Cole, Michael. "WWE: TV Shows > Raw > Tribute to the Troops 2007". WWE. Archived from the original on 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  21. ^ Vassallo, Colin. "US President George W. Bush Tapes Video Message for Tribute to the Troops Show". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on 2021-10-25. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  22. ^ "ShieldSquare Captcha". validate.perfdrive.com. Archived from the original on 2021-10-23. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  23. ^ President Obama addresses the WWE Universe, archived from the original on 2020-04-16, retrieved 2020-11-25
  24. ^ Triple H [@TripleH] (December 9, 2015). "Honored to present a Troops WWE World Heavyweight Championship to Captains Stacey K. Wright and Scott Gray at US Navy" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  25. ^ Triple H [@TripleH] (December 14, 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.


  1. ^ 21 shows have been produced, but only 20 have aired as the 2019 event was non-televised. From 2003 to 2007, Tribute to the Troops aired as pre-taped episodes of SmackDown! and Raw, before being established as a stand-alone special in 2008. The 2023 edition was held as a live special edition of SmackDown.
  2. ^ The 2023 edition was held as a live special episode of SmackDown.

External links[edit]