In a major move that is at least an attempt at the major shakeup the company is in dire need of, WWE has announced that Paul Heyman has been named Executive Director of RAW and Eric Bischoff in that role for SmackDown Live.
Bischoff probably comes as the bigger shock since there was no real buzz about him being involved in such a major role for any wrestling company in the past few years, while Heyman has been actively part of the creative team for the past few years working with certain talents. My first question was – so are these guys just going to come out on TV in “general manager” type roles and be the new authority figures? Apparently the answer is no, as both Heyman and Bischoff will legitimately head up their own respective creative teams and only answer to Vince McMahon.
As All Elite Wrestling prepares to launch and become the first major big money wrestling company in years, it’s been apparent that WWE has been in need of major changes if they intend on showing they are still number one. The answer right now appears to be to let the two guys who ran companies in the 90s that created both buzz and unique fan bases take things over. Of course there will be those that say this isn’t the 90s, WWE is living in the past etc., but all I can say is I’m much more excited to see what Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff can do as opposed to what we’ve gotten for years now.
Heyman is regarded as one of the true creative geniuses in pro wrestling; we’re talking about a guy that can create great promos and characters as proven numerous times over the years. The big difference is, seeing a cool Paul Heyman creation or two on a show vs. Heyman running the entire creative are two very different things. Heyman being able to create the entire vibe of the show is something I’m already looking forward to.
Bischoff on the other hand will be handling SmackDown Live which is moving to Fox in just a few months. Bishcoff has dealt with numerous TV companies over the years and will definitely be a better fit for that show. Bischoff may not be as highly regarded in the creative area as Heyman, but he is undeniably the guy that beat WWE for well over a year and turned WCW into the top wrestling company in the country for a time. Letting him assemble his vision of what SmackDown Live will be is also a very interesting concept.
Change. After 30+ years of watching pro wrestling with no break or complete loss of interest, WWE has never been in more need of a change. The same guys wrestling every single week, stories that are repetitive, main events that no one wants to see. WWE has been on a roller coaster of ups and downs for years now, and the past few months have been a low point. From record low ratings to attendance dwindling, it’s no wonder the young hot upstart AEW was able to create so much buzz.
While this whole move may fail either because Bischoff and/or Heyman’s authority gets overridden by a McMahon or if their concepts just don’t fly in this era, I look at it as a major positive and am already interested to see the much needed change develop on WWE TV. Will they still use the writing team that doesn’t seem to be connecting with the WWE audience at all? Will either of the new Executive Directors realize that they’ve lost much of the adult demographic and adjust the content accordingly? I’m ready to see the answers to those questions and much more.