Rob Van Dam Recalls Thinking Post 9/11 WWE SmackDown Was A Terrible Idea
The episode is seen as a landmark in WWE history
In the wake of the terrorist attacks on New York on September 11 2001, WWE found themselves in a unique position, airing SmackDown on September 13, the first mass public gathering of its size since the attacks.
The event is now considered a landmark in WWE history, but as revealed to Kenny McIntosh of Inside The Ropes, WWE Hall of Famer Rob Van Dam didn’t think it was a wise decision at the time:
“I think WWE was anxious to get on with it. I remember thinking that it was a horrible idea. These terrorists really want to strike America in its heart, what better way than a stadium full of people on live TV watching pro-wrestling, which is as American as it gets? I was thinking it’s quite likely that we are not going to be the safest out in front of people. I thought that, and also, when we flew home. Teddy Long was the first one to fly home, I thought he was crazy. I couldn’t believe that he did it.
“We drove out of there, a lot of people did, and for the longest time, it was something that went through your mind and every time you get on an aeroplane, you think, ‘Man, I’m not sure if it’s going to land where I want it to or not.’”