The 6 best WWE 'Tribute to the Troops' matches

Around the holidays, World Wrestling Entertainment always puts on a show specifically for the troops, WWE Tribute to the Troops. For a time, wrestlers would travel overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan to duke it out, live, in front of the troops. The wrestlers spent a few days hanging out with the deployed troops, interacting with them and sending messages to their families back home before putting on the actual event.

Since 2010, the event has been held domestically on or near military installations. Being stateside has opened the door for more celebrities to join in on the event. This year, the WWE will put on a show at Naval Base San Diego in a two-hour special, airing Thursday, Dec. 14th on the USA network.

WWE Tribute to the Troops 2017

As far as wresting back drops go, that’s pretty cool. (Image via WWE)

6. The Usos and Rey Mysterio defeat The Shield — 2013

In 2013, The Shield was a dominant heel (villain) stable. They arrived in what, to this day, is still one of the most bad-ass entrances in WWE history: The team stepped out of a Stryker and into the ring.

They still lost to the face (hero) team of Rey Mysterio and the Uso Brothers, but still — they arrived in a Stryker!

WWE tribute to the troops

DX still has them beat. They showed up on a tank. Twice. (Image via WWE)

5. Rey Mysterio defeats Mark Henry — 2007

There’s just something special about rooting for the underdog in a fight. Watching a 5’6″, 175lbs luchador take on a 6’4″ 399lbs power-lifter is akin to watching someone defy gravity. The fact that the match took place during the heights of both of their careers and in front of troops in Tikrit, Iraq made it that much more awesome.

Okay, yeah. People who can’t suspend disbelief enough to enjoy what is essentially a physically demanding theatrical performance can at least enjoy the effort and dedication of the performers.

WWE TttT 2007

A 619 to the face would hurt, no matter how “fake” you say it is. (Image via WWE)

4. John Cena retains WWE Championship against Chris Jericho — 2009

The only time WWE Championship matches were held during Tribute to the Troops was at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Fairly short in comparison to the rest on this list, the match was fast-paced and packed with many of the superstars’ trademark moves.

Whether you love the guy or hate how he’s booked, Cena is still one of the most patriotic superstars in pop culture.

John Cena WWE TttT

He leads in most Make-a-Wish wishes and has been honored by the USO for his contributions. He’s actually a really good guy. (Image via WWE)

3. John Cena, CM Punk, and Daniel Bryan defeat The Wyatt Family — 2013

This match technically counts as three, but the buildup lasted the entire show. Daniel Bryan was fighting Bray Wyatt until the match was disqualified due to the outside interference of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. So, Daniel Bryan brings in friend, CM Punk, to fight the two newcomers. The match is again disqualified when Bray Wyatt shows back up in the ring.

It all culminates in Daniel Bryan joining CM Punk and John Cena to fight off the entire Wyatt Family.

WWE TttT 2013

Plus, we got to see the three best wrestlers of the time on the same tag-team. (Image via WWE)

2. Shawn Michaels defeats Triple H in a “Boot Camp” match (No Holds Barred) — 2005

This is the type of match that everyone associates with the WWE.

These former-best friends were both powerhouses in the “Attitude Era” of 90’s wrestling. The chaotic match spilled out of the ring and into a TOC. Since it was technically a “no holds barred” match, they hit each other with whatever they felt like — everything from sandbags to a mop was fair game.

WWE TttT 2005

You know, just typical wrestling stuff. (Image via WWE)

1. John Cena defeats Big Show — 2003

This match is ranked at the top for one reason and one reason only: After the match, we got Stone Cold Steve Austin in Baghdad, Iraq on Christmas Day.

It was one of his final appearances in the ring and the only time we got to see Stone Cold give his finishing move, the Stone Cold Stunner, to John Cena.

Stone Cold WWE TttT 2003

Too bad Stone Cold couldn’t share a beer with the troops. (Image via WWE)