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World Wrestling Entertainment will not do a “Tribute to the Troops” event this year
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For the past several years, World Wrestling Entertainment has brought their world-wide brand of entertainment to military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other war-laced countries. They produced a yearly special called "Tribute To The Troops" and it would air on the NBC network. However, that will apparently not be the case this year.
WWE announced earlier this week that they will not be doing the overseas trip, as both the "Raw" and "SmackDown!" brands have live events scheduled across the United States during the time they would normally be traveling to visit the military bases and visit with troops for a week-long adventure.
The entire idea was brought about by former WWE star John "Bradshaw" Layfield, who pitched the idea to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. Several superstars and company employees were then dispatched to Camp Pendleton, Iraq, in December 2003 for the debut event that aired on Christmas Day. It aired as a special presentation of their' Friday Night SmackDown!" weekly television broadcast.
After seven years of making the annual trip, several of the WWE stars have said they are relieved that the event will not be taking place. Although they enjoyed and cherished the week they spent there every year, they also cited the wear and tear on the body with the long flights and abnormal conditions that they were not used to on a daily basis. Below are some of the highlights of the specials:
2003 - WWE Hall of Fame inductee "StoneCold" Steve Austin made a surprise appearance and delivered a StoneCold Stunner to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon in the middle of the ring.
2004 - Troops saw the final appearance of Eddie Guerrero before his tragic death just a year later, as he and Rey Mysterio defeated the team of Kurt Angle and Luther Reigns.
2005 - It was the "Battle of Santas" as Good Santa (Mick Foley) defeated Bad Santa (John "Bradshaw" Layfield). Also, Shawn Michaels defeated Triple H in a Boot Camp Match.
2006 - John Cena defeated Edge and Carlito pulled an upset win over Randy Orton.
2007 - D-Generatioon X (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) defeated Mr. Kennedy and Umaga.
2008 - There were two 6-Man Tag Team matches that year. John Cena, Batista, and Rey Mysterio defeated Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, and The Big Show. The main event saw Jeff Hardy, CM Punk, and R-Truth defeated John "Bradshaw" Layfield, John Morrison, and The Miz.
2009 - Former partners collided, as The Miz defeated John Morrison, and John Cena successfully defended the WWE Championship with a win over Chris Jericho.
While there are no plans to do a special this year from an overseas base, WWE management has tossed the idea of possibly visiting a base here in the United States and doing a similar-style event. Nothing has been set in stone, although WWE will more than likely make an announcement on the subject sometime in the coming weeks, as to whether they have any plans to visit any stateside bases this year during the holiday season. Information about the history of "Tribute To The Troops" can be found on Wikipedia, and further information about World Wrestling Entertainment can be found by logging onto their official website.