WWE SmackDown | November 15th 2001 | Pepsi Arena – Albany, New York | TV Rating: 4.5
The Good: Paul Heyman shoots on Vince McMahon, and it’s one of the finest you will ever see. It’s another “worked shoot” like Foley on Raw but it is so much better as it actually achieves the impossible. It makes you think that Survivor Series is something to look forward to and that there is something actually on the line there. Blurring of reality and storyline, Heyman is wonderful as he tears into the “outdated” version of WWE and how Vince stole all his good ideas from the competition. How Vince became a billionaire on the back of other’s hard work. How even his kids are disgusted and have turned against him. It’s mind-blowing stuff. And not even the fact that in reality it’s all for naught can take away the power.
I could once again bring up the Mick Foley point from the previous Raw that there are too many titles to say that the Edge & Hardy Boys against Test & Dudley Boys match where all six of them are champions just proves an overkill point. But as a match it’s quite good, lasts seven minutes (which feels like an eternity for a non main event TV match in 2001) and at least does make some sense in terms of building up to two unification matches at the upcoming PPV.
The main event between Steve Austin & Kurt Angle and The Rock & Chris Jericho is a good match which again does what it needs to do in terms of helping the build up to Survivor Series.
The Bad: Big Show against Diamond Dallas Page would be bad enough on its own given that it’s a chokeslam and done for DDP. But that Show, a few days before the WWE could die on PPV, dresses up as Page presumably for the laughs is just plain stupid. Even if you take it as “WWE will win on Sunday so this is the last chance we have to publicly humiliate DDP”. Booker T and Undertaker going to a one minute DQ is just more pointless stuff. The mixed tag between William Regal & Ivory and Tajiri and Torrie Wilson is about as good as you can expect a match involving Torrie Wilson to be. That is, not at all good.
The Indifferent: Rob Van Dam (Hardcore title not on the line) against Kane is something and nothing but as they are on opposite sides of the Winner Takes All match at Survivor Series it does at least build up some momentum towards that. Of course RVD can’t get a clean win because he’s Alliance and Booker T is the man whose interference is the difference, but they’re not about to start making anyone who isn’t WWE look like a genuine threat now are they?
The Rock and Chris Jericho “we hate each other but we’ll try to put that aside at Survivor Series” stuff is still prattling along. Which is fine. But it’s all a little long in the tooth by now.
Overall: If you are looking for a show that at least offers up some momentum towards Survivor Series and attempts to get you to buy-in to the main event there this just about does the job. There’s nothing much else worth watching beyond the main event and the Heyman promo but those are god sends when the last few weeks of TV have, shall we say, not been the best at all. If you watching nothing else from the build-up to Survivor Series though, the Heyman promo is must-see.