Country of origin
First episode date
25 December 2003
USA Network, NBC, UPN
Vince McMahon John Layfield
No. of episodes
14 (as of December 14, 2016)
NBC (2008–2014) UPN (SmackDown: 2003–2004) USA Network (Raw: 2005–2007) (2010-present, 2 hours)
Number of episodes
14 (as of December 14, 2016)
WWE SmackDown, WWE Raw, WWE Superstars, WWE Main Event, WWE NXT
WWE Tribute to the Troops is an annual event held by WWE and Armed Forces Entertainment in December during the holiday season since 2003, to honor and entertain United States Armed Forces members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. WWE performers and employees travel to these countries and interact with troops for at least three days, visiting military camps, bases and hospitals, including the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital.
WWE then holds a free show for the troops, which later airs along with videos of troop interaction and messages from soldiers to their families and friends at home, in a televised program of the same title.
The idea of the event is credited to wrestler John "Bradshaw" Layfield, who suggested it to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
WWE first held the event in December 2003, from Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq and aired it on Christmas Day as a special episode of WWE SmackDown. In the main event, John Cena defeated Big Show, and Stone Cold Steve Austin came out after the match, performed a Stunner on both men, and finally invited all the talent backstage to the ring to celebrate. For this Tribute to the Troops and all others until 2011, commentary was recorded at WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, as commentators were not at ringside.
In December 2004, WWE traveled to COB Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq. The TV show, Christmas in Iraq, aired on December 23 as another special SmackDown episode. Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio defeated Kurt Angle and Luther Reigns in the main event.
On December 9, 2005, WWE held the event at the Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan. It aired December 19 on WWE Raw. In the main event, Shawn Michaels beat Triple H in a Boot Camp match.
In 2006, the show was taped at Camp Victory in Baghdad, aired on Raw on Christmas Day, and had Carlito pin Randy Orton in the main event. A day before taping, a mortar attack happened near the camp, injuring 14 soldiers. Michael Cole reported details from the scene minutes later.
In 2007, WWE returned to Tikrit. D-Generation X members Triple H and Shawn Michaels defeated Umaga and Mr. Kennedy in the main event, which aired on Christmas Eve on WWE Raw.
2008's show from Camp Liberty, Baghdad was the first to air in a non-standard WWE timeslot, a one-hour December 20 special on NBC. In its main event, John Cena, Batista and Rey Mysterio defeated Chris Jericho, The Big Show and Randy Orton in a six-man tag team match.
WWE again travelled to Iraq in 2009. In the main event from Joint Base Balad, John Cena retained his WWE Championship from Chris Jericho. It aired on December 19, 2009 on NBC.
In 2010, WWE held its first domestically hosted Tribute to the Troops, from Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas on December 11. It aired on NBC December 18 for one hour, with a message from former president George W. Bush. A two-hour version of the show aired December 22 on USA Network.