Jim Ross remembers the first SmackDown after 9/11

Page 1 of 2
September 11, 2013

WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross reflects on the first SmackDown after 9/11.

Sept. 11, 2001, still feels like a blur to me. I wish it were simply a bad, re-occurring dream, but unfortunately it isn’t.

The WWE team was staying in a Houston hotel after Raw in San Antonio and preparing for the taping of SmackDown that evening in H-Town. We had a 7:45 a.m. production meeting scheduled in WWE Chairman Vince McMahon’s suite to finalize our game plan for the SmackDown taping that, in those days, aired on Thursday night. The usual suspects would be in that meeting, including members of the creative team and yours truly.

Everyone was on time — never keep The Chairman waiting — the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, and ready to start another long day of TV production. I remember that Vince’s room service cart was sitting in the living room area of his suite and while he was in the bedroom/bathroom area, I snuck a piece of uneaten toast. I had decided to get an extra 30 minutes of sleep after the live Raw the night before instead of ordering breakfast.

Vince, from his bedroom, yelled for us to turn on the television. Someone did and we all started witnessing the most tragic incident affecting our nation any of us could ever imagine. Honestly, it was much worse than I could ever fathom.

As we all sat together in silence, which, for this group, was highly unusual, we saw the second plane crash into the World Trade Center. My mind wanted me to think it was a replay of the first crash. It wasn’t.

Obviously, we all knew that there would be no SmackDown TV taping that night in Houston as the tragedy presented many more pressing issues, questions and concerns than producing a TV program.

We had members of our team that had family living in and around NYC. We actually had folks working at WWE HQ who had family that worked in the World Trade Center.

My wife had just been in NYC the evening before attending a Michael Jackson concert but was, luckily, back at our home in Connecticut safe and sound while being a short drive from chaos and despair.

That day, I witnessed the most amazing display of leadership by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon that one could imagine. While uncertainty, shock and the unknown engulfed us, Vince McMahon stood strong and tall to rally his troops while emotionally addressing the tragedy of 9/11 and deciding on our plan to help America begin healing.

View Comments
Jim Ross Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles Mr. McMahon Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles

ArticlesYou May Also Like