Tribute to the Troops

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December 19, 2005

This week, Monday Night RAW emanated from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan as RAW presented a special Tribute to the Troops. Throughout the night, videos were shown of the WWE Superstars' visit to the Middle East, highlighting their visits to several operating bases and military camps.

To begin the show, Mr. McMahon came out and addressed the Armed Forces in the crowd. Mr. McMahon said that RAW would spread a little holiday cheer, and even Santa Claus would make an appearance. Mr. McMahon said that RAW would tell the stories of the troops that seem to have been forgotten, because they are true stories with happy endings. He then brought out Lilian Garcia, who sang a stirring and emotional rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.

Santa Claus did in fact make an appearance, as Coach brought out a Santa Claus dressed in camouflage fatigues. "Santa" said that if Afghanistan were any better, it would suck, and he wished the troops a rotten Christmas. Another Santa Claus then came out, this one much jollier than his predecessor. Coach wondered which the impostor was, and the new Santa suggested a "No Ho-Ho-Holds Barred Match" to determine the impostor.

The match began, and the Santas were quickly revealed as Mick Foley and JBL. After using anything and everything to subdue JBL, including his bag of toys, Foley hit the Double-Arm DDT. He then brought out Mr. Socko, applied the Mandible Claw to JBL, and got the victory.

The Divas also helped the troops get in the Holiday spirit, as Trish Stratus & Ashley took on Candice Michelle & Maria. During the match, Candice spent nearly as much time crowd surfing with the troops than she did in the ring, but in the end it would not matter. After nearly securing the victory for her team, Ashley got caught in the corner, and Candice grabbed her in a roll-up. Candice grabbed a handful of Ashley's Santa suit tights, and was able to hold her down for the pin.

In the main event, Shawn Michaels took on Triple H in a Boot Camp Match. The rules were simple: there were none. HBK worked Triple H's arm early in the bout, but The Game hit an elbow to send HBK crashing to the floor. They fought up the entranceway, where HBK backdropped his way out of a Pedigree, and nailed The Game with a sandbag. They eventually brawled back to the ring, where Michaels hit his opponent with a wet mop.

Back in the ring, an errant clothesline from HBK knocked out the referee, and Triple H hit a DDT. A new referee came in for the two count, and The Game confronted the referee. After referee Chad Patton backed The Game down by showing him the Army patch on his shirt, Triple H saluted him, then nailed him with a clothesline. Triple H then went to the top, but Michaels got a boot up and began his comeback. He warmed up the band, but Triple H ducked and set up for a Pedigree. HBK reversed that into a slingshot into the turnbuckles, and then nailed Sweet Chin Music to get the victory over The Game.

In additional action, WWE Champion John Cena defeated Chris Masters in a non-title match, Intercontinental Champion Ric Flair defeated Coach in an impromptu challenge match for the Intercontinental Championship, Big Show defeated Carlito and Snitsky defeated Shelton Benjamin.

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