WWE Tribute to the Troops 2022 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
For WWE, no show is more important than its annual Tribute to the Troops and Saturday afternoon, the company celebrated its 20th event of the sort, headlined by an explosive six-man tag team match pitting Sheamus, Drew McIntyre and Ricochet against Imperium.
Who triumphed in that battle and which other matches awaited viewers as WWE paid tribute to those brave enough to defend the United States?
Find out with this recap of the Fox broadcast.
- Drew McIntyre, Sheamus and Ricochet vs. Imperium (Intercontinental champion Gunther, Giovanni Vinci and Ludwig Kaiser)
- Braun Strowman vs. LA Knight
- Tamina and Emma vs. SmackDown Women's champion Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler
Braun Strowman vs. LA Knight
LA Knight made the mistake of poking the proverbial bear in Bray Wyatt and Friday night on SmackDown. He was presented with the haunting imagery of Uncle Howdy live and in person. Saturday, he was confronted with a monster of a different sort.
The Monster Among Monsters, Braun Strowman.
Knight tried to cut Strowman down to size, focusing his attack on the big man's tree-like legs. It worked, momentarily, with the braggadocios heel targeting the left leg of the former Universal champion.
Strowman fought back, though, and used his power advantage to muscle Knight up for a powerbomb and score the pinfall victory.
Like most matches on this card, there was not a ton to the in-ring action but it was interesting to see Knight beaten so decisively here when he is currently involved in such a high-profile feud with Wyatt.
Of course, management likely realizes that the die-hard fans are not likely to tune in and thus, a loss will mean nothing to his credibility. New eyes watching the show, though, will see that he was just destroyed by someone who is clearly superior and if they stick around for a few weeks, it may minimalize the effect his ongoing program has on them.
Strowman pinned Knight
- A stirring rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner by Chief Warrant Officer Dennis White kicked off the show, followed by a celebration of WWE's two decades of saluting the troops.
- A video package paid homage to Midshipman Morgan Prigmore and her family's commitment to service.
Emma and Tamina vs. Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler
SmackDown Women's champion Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler have reunited to form a seemingly unstoppable tandem that will look to wreak havoc on the blue brand women's division for the foreseeable future.
Just 24 hours after a sneak attack on Raquel Rodriguez that may very well have left her unable to compete in next Friday's No. 1 contender's match, they sought to continue their streak of dominance against the makeshift tandem of Emma and Tamina Saturday afternoon.
Rousey and Baszler asserted themselves early and often, working over Emma and isolating the Aussie from her tag team partner. A hot tag to Tamina sparked a brief comeback for the babyfaces but an alert Rousey cut the second-generation star off on the top rope with a big boot and set her up for the Karifuda Clutch from Baszler for the win.
Unlike the opener, this was a perfectly acceptable outcome.
Rousey is among the biggest stars in wrestling and her team with Baszler is one that Triple H is heavily focusing on creatively on SmackDown.
Booking them to go over Tamina who, in the immortal words of Damian Leigh from Mean Girls, "...doesn't even go here!" and Emma, who is just recently returned and has not had a chance to build up equity with the audience, is a no harm, no foul choice.
Rousey and Baszler defeated Emma and Tamina
- Tamina receiving the hot tag instead of Emma was an interesting choice, especially given the fact that the latter has had more television time and a bigger role on SmackDown of late, making her seem the better option to highlight.
- Michael Cole framing Rousey's kick of Tamina as something Baszler needed to prevent the referee from seeing, despite the champion's actual involvement in the match, was certainly a choice.
- A video package highlighted Major Sergeant, and Medal of Honor recipient, Matthew Williams.
Drew McIntyre, Sheamus and Ricochet vs. Imperium
Ricochet came within a second of defeating Gunther for the Intercontinental Championship Friday night on SmackDown in one of the best matches the blue brand has produced all year.
Saturday, he recruited backup in the former of Drew McIntyre and Sheamus for a gigantic Six-Man Tag Team Match showdown against The Ring General and Imperium teammates Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci.
He found himself on the receiving end of a concentrated beatdown at the hands of Imperium, punished physically and cut off from McIntyre and Sheamus. The former WWE champions made their presence felt down the stretch, with The Celtic Warrior punishing his opponents with the 10 Beats of the Bodhran to Kaiser and White Noise to Vinci.
McIntyre teed off on Gunther, trading chops with him and getting the best of the Intercontinental champion. The Scottish and Celtic Warriors delivered a Brogue and Claymore Kick combination before Ricochet launched off the top rope with a Shooting Star Press for the win.
This might have been the best match in the history of Tribute to the Troops.
The show is rarely known for its in-ring quality but the talent involved would have nothing less. This was a banger of a match that saw the right team go over without hurting Gunther's credibility in the process.
McIntyre and Sheamus have both had an extraordinary 2022 while Ricochet has surged late as part of what appears to be a renewed push from Triple H. Setting them up to be the core, top-tier babyfaces on the blue brand is the right call and beating Imperium, but not Gunther, is the right way to go about it.
McIntyre, Sheamus and Ricochet defeated Gunther, Vinci and Kaiser
- McIntyre and Gunther exchanged chops in a bit of good, old-fashioned rasslin' violence.
- Ricochet scoring the pinfall victory was a great touch and helps him further establish himself as a main event-level guy on Fridays.