For the 10th Annual WWE Tribute to the Troops, wrestling stars John Cena and Sheamus joined Rear Admiral Tim Alexander to talk about the special event and its impact on military personnel.
This year’s WWE Tribute to the Troops it will feature performances by musical guests Kid Rock and Flo Rida along with wrestling superstar John Cena, WWE Champion Sheamus, and the WWE’s biggest Superstars and Divas for thousands of military personnel and their families at the Scope Arena in Norfolk, VA.
Airing December 19 on USA Network and Saturday December 22 on NBC, WWE Tribute to the Troops will also feature appearances by Disney’s The Muppets and NBC Sports’ Michelle Beadle and more.
This trip marks the 10th consecutive year that WWE will entertain service men and women as a show of gratitude for their commitment to the country and recognition of their sacrifices.
Ahead of the 10th Annual WWE Tribute to the Troops, The Deadbolt went inside the event with John Cena, Sheamus, and special guest Rear Admiral Tim Alexander, Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, who is responsible for all of the Navy shore installations in the Region, which runs North Carolina to Maine.
THE DEADBOLT: John, since you’ve contributed to Tribute to the Troops over the past nine years, do you find that you learn something new from being involved with the troops?
JOHN CENA: The recurring theme you see, regardless of where you go, everywhere from Afghanistan to Iraq, Fort Hood, Fort Bragg – I’ve been separately to Camp Pendleton, Walter Reed, and Naval Station Norfolk – is upside down. All of the troops want to say thank you to us, but to me that’s backwards.
We’re there to let them know that we completely support them and we want to say thank you. Also to give them a weekend of basic downtime. They get to meet and greet us over the weekend but the final day we set up and perform for them. So the whole weekend is built around thanking them.
But literally everyone we meet wants to thank us for supporting them. It’s extremely humbling and flattering. It just goes to show the resolve of the men and women in uniform and how they do not, under any circumstances, put themselves first.
THE DEADBOLT: Sheamus, since you’re originally from Ireland, this must be a really unique experience for you. What does it mean to be part of Tribute to the Troops in another country?
SHEAMUS: Well, absolutely. This is my third year doing it and I never in my life imagined myself having the opportunity to experience this on the aircraft carrier and the submarine Boise.
The thing is, I may be from Ireland but I reside in the United States of America. This country has given me the greatest of opportunities to give me a chance to live my dream with the WWE. All of these men and women make sure that my life and home is protected. So anything I can do to give back to them face-to-face and tell them thank you for all that they do.
They’ve sacrificed so much. They’re overseas for great chunks of the year, years on end, and their families are at home waiting for them. For the sacrifices they go through, it’s a great way for us to say thank you.
THE DEADBOLT: Rear Admiral Alexander, in your view, what type of impact does an event like this have on the troops and their families? Can you put that into words for me?
REAR ADMIRAL TIM ALEXANDER: It’s very easy to put into words, the impact. Fantastic is a good one! The sailors, Marines in the Hampton Roads area and their families were absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to meet the members of WWE and to show them around the bases and then to attend the main event downtown in Norfolk.
It was a real treat for us to host this group of wonderful people and we look forward to doing it again whenever they’re ready.
THE DEADBOLT: Throughout your career in the Navy, what did events like this mean to you as a young officer?
REAR ADMIRAL ALEXANDER: Well, they’re always important. Whether you’re at home or you’re deployed, it’s always nice to have somebody stop – who doesn’t really have to, frankly – and say, “Hey, thanks for what you do. We recognize you make some sacrifices and we appreciate that.”
So, we’re very, very grateful to WWE for taking the time to come down and spend some time with us in Hampton Roads and making us the subject of the 10th Tribute to the Troops.
WWE Tribute to the Troops airs Wednesday, December 19 at 9 p.m. EST on USA Network and Saturday December 22 on NBC at 9 p.m. EST.