For wrestling fans, December is more than just Christmas season. Every year around the holidays, WWE puts on the Tribute to the Troops show, where they perform for members of the United States military and their families.
The show is unique, because it does not follow up on any storylines, and just features superstars facing off and putting on their best performances. This year’s show, set to air on Dec. 19 on NBC as an hour-long special, featured the United States Champion Antonio Cesaro losing to John Cena, according to NoDQ.
This is a big move up the card for Cesaro, who debuted earlier this year and has been steadily rising up the midcard since. This is his first true main event level match, against the 10-time WWE Champion, and even though he lost, his performance at the top of the show will show officials what he can do in the future.
Cesaro is the perfect choice for a show closer. He is a heel wrestler, holding the US Title and claiming that he can’t be beaten by an American. Conversely, Cena is the face of the company and has been playing up the patriot character since starring in “The Marine” in 2006.
The audience has the classic American vs. Foreigner angle to get behind, and WWE lives up to the no storyline requirement for the show. The people backstage have been high on Cesaro since his debut and this is just the next step towards superstardom for the rookie performer.
After the match, Cena thanked the military members and their families, as a Santa Claus came out with several wrestlers in costumes as a Christmas sendoff to the crowd.
Below are the other results:
Sheamus and Randy Orton defeat Dolph Ziggler and World Heavyweight Champion The Big Show
Ryback defeats Alberto del Rio by disqualification following intereference from Ricardo Rodriguez. The Mexican Aristocrat and his person ring announcer were both hit with Shell Shock.
R-Truth and Tag Team Champion Kane and Daniel Bryan defeated 3MB in a six-man tag team match
The Miz hosted a MizTV segment with the Muppets before defeating Damien Sandow
Layla defeated Dvias Champion Eve Torres in a non-title match
Brodus Clay, Sin Cara, The Great Khali and Hornswoggle defeated Primo, Epico, Tensai and David Otunga.
The show also featured multiple musical performers. Kid Rock performed 5 songs for the live audience and Flo-Rida performed 4 songs. The WWE’s own Lillian Garcia sang the national anthem at the opening of the show.