By Graham "GSM" Matthews
League of Nations Interrupted Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and The Usos
This was a pretty paint-by-numbers segment with everyone making an entrance and setting up the 16-man tag team main event for later on in the show. Only Reigns and the League of Nations got mic time with the League of Nations talking about how much better they are than the United States to elicit heat. It was Wrestling 101 yet effective. On a side note, it was wise for WWE to not have anyone come out with their championships. They would have spoiled the title changes from TLC and Raw if they had the new champions wear their belts and it would have been awkward if the old champions were wearing them. Better to avoid that whole mess by having no one come out with gold.
Jack Swagger def. Rusev in a Boot Camp Match
I likely wouldn't have cared less about this match any other time of the year, but it was fitting to rekindle this rivalry at Tribute to Troops. It also helped that Swagger has meant a little more as of late. Granted, he's still a glorified enhancement talent, but at least his recent feud with Alberto Del Rio has legitimized him to the point where he didn't feel too out of place against Rusev. The annual Boot Camp matches are always a blast and this bout was no exception. Swagger forcing Rusev to tap out truly was a Christmas miracle, but because it's Tribute to the Troops, it's almost as if it never happened.
Mark Henry def. Bo Dallas
Dallas coming out dressed as Uncle Sam got a chuckle out of me, but wasn't he supposed to be the heel? He acted like one before and during the brief bout, but you'd think the casual fans would want to cheer him dressed like that. Nevertheless, this was a standard squash match as it should have been and the first time in many months I can recall Henry actually winning a match. But as I said in the previous paragraph, the win technically never happened because this was Tribute to the Troops.
Ryback def. Kevin Owens by Count-out
While I didn't particularly enjoy their encounter at Hell in a Cell, Ryback and Owens have worked well otherwise and this was a decent match from them. It was a little silly to have Ryback work two matches in the same night, but maybe they were low on talent (then again, the main event did feature 16 men after all). I was at least glad they didn't have him beat Owens like they did with Rusev. If nothing else, Owens talking about how healthcare in Canada is superior to the United States was hilarious.
Paige and Team B.A.D. def. Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Brie Bella and Alicia Fox
For eight-woman tag team matches, WWE usually has them end within mere minutes, so I was happy that wasn't the case with this match. You had plenty of talented women involved and all of them were able to showcase their skills at one point or another. But let's address the elephant in the room here: Why the hell were Brie Bella and Alicia Fox teaming with Charlotte and Becky Lynch? Again, these shows don't affect anything in storyline, but it goes to show how few true babyfaces they have right now if they had to have Team Bella be on the babyface side.
Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, The Usos, The Dudley Boyz, Ryback and Kane def. League of Nations and The Wyatt Family
I love a good old fashioned mutli-man tag team main event. Yes, they're predictable and yes, they're formulaic, but I'd be damned if they weren't fun. It was cool to see The Wyatt Family and League of Nations team up, and while it wouldn't be as big of a money match as Wyatt Family vs. Shield was back in 2014, seeing them clash down the road would surely be interesting. Everyone got their signature spots in down the stretch and the crowd was engaged for the final few minutes of the matchup with the babyfaces going over and sending the crowd home happy.
Perhaps it's because we're so close to Christmas and I'm already in the Christmas spirit, but I really enjoyed this event. As I always say, Tribute to the Troops is about showing gratitude to those who serve our country more than anything, but this was a solid show even from a wrestling standpoint. Don't tune in expecting to see anything must-see, but the two hours are a treat if you have the time (in between wrapping gifts, of course). Merry Christmas, folks!
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