TONIGHT: WWE’s 5th Annual Tribute to the Troops, this year, in Tikrit, Iraq.
-Tonight: “The World Begins Again....” video package.
(1) Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are your announcers for this evening. Crowd likes Jericho. Lock-up and a stalemate. Jericho got an arm-drag in. Orton missed a corner charge and Jericho followed with some more arm-drags. More work on the arm/shoulder area by Y2J. Roll-up by Jericho into a Walls of Jericho attempt, but Orton got to the ropes. Baseball slide by Jericho put Orton into the barricade. Jericho then went flying onto Orton on the outside. Jericho then took a camera from one of the troops and took a pic of Orton doubling over in pain for the soldier. Orton caught Jericho coming into the ring and then hit the DDT with Jericho’s legs hung on the ropes. Break time.
Jericho was fighting out of a chin-lock out of break (phew, we missed it!). Orton hit a knee-lift to send Jericho back down. Both men back on their feet, and Jericho hit some chops. He ran into a sleeper though. Aw, back to a chin-lock. Dang. “Orton may be the only guy over here that will get shot at by both sides” said Lawler. Too soon? Jericho lit Orton up with more chops, then nailed Orton with a flying forearm. Another forearm and a near-fall. Missile dropkick for two. Jericho held the ropes on an attempted Orton dropkick and then went for the Walls of Jericho. Orton reversed it with a roll-up for two. Lionsault by Jericho for two. Orton regains momentum with a back-breaker. He then began stalking Jericho, who countered the RKO attempt with another Walls of Jericho try. He locked it in, but JBL’s music began. He had a mic as he walked down the aisle. JBL said people came to see him, then enteredt he ring for a DQ.
Winner: Jericho by DQ at 14:12.
JBL’s distraction was enough for Orton to hit the RKO. Orton then left Jericho alone with JBL, who hit the clothesline from hell.
-Footage of the wrestlers visiting troops.
(2) Jeff Hardy vs. Carlito Hardy stomped at Carlito in the corner after taking him down. Shoulderblock by Hardy, then a kind-of spinebuster after catching Carlito. Face-buster by Hardy. Carlito kicked out of a pin attempt after Hardy hit the double-leg drop to the groin area. Hardy was whipped into the ropes but slid outside and shook hands with all the troops instead. He then went inside after Carlito came out after him and kicked Carlito, then hit a clothesline off the apron onto Carly on the outside. Hardy missed his signature dropkick on a seated Carlito in the corner. Whisper in the Wind by Jeff. He was able to connect on that corner dropkick, but got only two on the cover. Twist of Fate countered by a swinging neckbreaker by Carlito for two. Carlito retrieved his apple from ringside, but before he could spit, Hardy hit a jawbreaker and the Twist of Fate. Swanton followed for the win.
Winner: Hardy at 6:33.
-They talked to troops about the conditions in Iraq, then some art that the soldiers have done.
-Another video package, with one soldier discussing the death of 19 soldiers from a suicide bombing at a dining area in 2004.
-“No Chance” brought out the chairman himself, Vince McMahon. Let’s see if he brought his soapbox this year. He told the troops WWE supports them no matter where they are in the world. Vince turned his attention to the divas match.
-The divas made their entrance for the tag team match, which is next.
(3) Kelly Kelly & Layla vs. Mickie James & Maria We’re underway with Maria clotheslining Layla, then rolling around in a catfight. Kelly tagged in and Maria caught her boot and kicked her in the gut. Tag to Mickie, who hit a double-axehandle from the top. Kelly missed her handspring elbow and was sent face-first into the mat. Mickie then rode Kelly around the ring. Neckbreaker by Mickie. All four women in the ring now. Kelly and Layla were down in the corner and Mickie and Maria each did the bronco buster. Vince then interrupted on the mic. “I think you’ve seen enough of this, how about that?” Vince said. Classic. Vince then said Santa Claus wasn’t coming to Iraq this year. Of course, Santa’s music hit (“Jingle Bells,” if you’re wondering). Santa, curiously, had his arm in a sling. If that didn’t give it away, nothing will. Santa claimed Vince tried to sabotage his sleigh, but his sleigh was built “Army strong.” Apparently, Vince has always hated Santa because he’s always been a bad boy. He said Vince stole something from a convenience store once- a magazine, apparently. A very naughty one. Vince claimed this guy wasn’t the real Santa. His proof: A letter written by a young Vince McMahon to Santa Claus. “Read it” chants from the crowd. Santa said the letter was almost 100 years old, which led to a “old as dirt” chant. Vince asked for two things in the letter: A rooster and a Red Rider BB gun. Vince ripped off the hat and beard of Claus and revealed Cena, who gave Vince an FU. Match? What match?
Winners: No contest (no bell), about 3:00.
Cena got back on the mic and did a dirty double entendre, then had the ladies pass out some gifts from the sacks he brought.
-A video aired of the troops and their interaction with the local Iraqi people.
-Some stills of the wrestlers meeting with the troops were shown.
-Footage aired of the building of the ring, this year, inside a former Iraqi soccer stadium.
(4) Rey Mysterio vs. Mark Henry Henry shoved Rey down to start. Rey tried fighting back to no avail. Henry powered Rey into the corner and rained blows down on him. Rey’s dropkick did nothing, and Henry caught Rey by the throat and press slammed him. Non-chalant cover allowed Rey to kick out. Bearhug by Henry. Rey bit out of it, but came off the ropes and was met with a clothesline. Big Mark missed a splash and Rey got a kick to the jaw. Seated senton by Rey got two. 619 by Rey was hit, but Rey avoided a Henry splash in the corner and rolled-up the big man for the pin.
Winner: Rey at 4:18.
-Some of the troops discussed their biggest threats, including IED’s.
-John Cena gave the camera a tour of a base.
-Raw Rebound aired.
-A sort of video diary for Chris Jericho was shown.
(5) Triple H & Shawn Michaels vs. Umaga & Mr. Kennedy Trips pretended to be serious on the mic, but then asked “are you ready?” Yes, another one-night reformation of DX. They went through the whole spiel. All four men were introduced, with the match to start after break.
Michaels was working over Kennedy, as the match started during the break. Michaels dropped an elbow from the top and wanted sweet chin music, but Umaga came in illegally to clothesline HBK. Kennedy put a knee to the back of Shawn then tagged in his partner. Umaga was in control while he was in the ring. Kennedy came back in and received a “Kennedy sucks” chant from the troops while he had Michaels in an arm-bar. HBK got some chops in but a thumb to the eye turned the tide back to the heels. When Umaga was in, he put the nerve-hold on. Michaels got back to his feet but was headbutted down. Rolling Samoan drop by Kennedy for two. Triple H broke up the pin attempt. Umaga missed a second-rope headbutt and both men were down. Both men made tags and Triple H cleaned house. Trips set up Kennedy for the pedigree, but Umaga broke it up. He was going for the Samoan spike, but HBK hit the superkick on him. Kennedy then got superkicked and Trips pedigreed him for three.
Winners: D-Generation X, 8:20 shown.
-HBK and Trips invited troops into the ring to celebrate as Cole and Lawler thanked the artists whose music was used tonight.
Angle getting injured would be a disaster, to say the least. Not just for WrestleMania, but also for the next entire year of WWE's business. This would also seem to mean that any hope Kurt had of wrestling in the 2004 Olympics might be shot, too.