As you know by now, WWE has officially named Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff as the Executive Directors of RAW and SmackDown Live respectively. The news was met with a lot of fanfare and buzz, with the instant hope that WWE will be able to revitalize their product via the help of two extremely experienced people.
Paul Heyman technically began his role in the start of July, while Eric Bischoff’s role begins after mid-July. Naturally, the expectations are very high and it’s a pivotal time for the WWE product. Over the last few months, we have heard a countless number of rumors about creative chaos, low morale backstage, a general sense of dissatisfaction and disarray and many superstars eager to jump ship with the rise of AEW.
While the latter naturally falls into a more “impulsive” reaction so to speak, it’s not really surprising to see why. However, WWE announcing Heyman and Bischoff’s arrival has led to a lot of hope from fans, while the backstage reaction may not be one that expects major change.
After all, they are working under the very same man and he is a man who is known to shoot down creative ideas left and right. Jon Moxley too was heavily critical of him and the entire creative process, with the Wrestling Observer Newsletter stating that even backstage officials know the issues that are going on internally.
WWE fans have been promised change time and again, but with action actually being taken, is WWE legitimately planning a major overhaul in the presentation of the product after Extreme Rules 2019?
Post-Extreme Rules is when Eric Bischoff takes control as well. Paul Heyman was “hands-on” with everything during his first episode as Executive Director and the episode did get a sense of acclaim. However, it should be noted that even with a vision of the product, it’s not something that is expected to be implemented right away.
What’s very likely now is that fans will be quick to react to episodes of RAW and SmackDown. When it’s good, they’re going to credit Heyman and Bischoff and when something is bad, they’re more than likely going to point their fingers towards Vince McMahon. The reality of the entire situation is that both visions are something that can only be implemented over a long period of time.
If you think that Heyman or Bischoff have 100% creative control, then you’re mistaken. They oversee the whole creative process and fans (and mostly superstars themselves) are hopeful that they’ll be able to give the creative team a big overhaul. The fact of the matter is that it’s a deeply flawed system and WWE knows this. Before deciding to shut the brand split, WWE felt that the two different creative teams for the two different brands should be unified together and now there’s a room with over 30 writers for both shows.
Despite Heyman clearly being more popular with fans, the bigger eyes are going to be on SmackDown Live and the FOX deal. As you know, WWE begins their big money deal with FOX around October and SmackDown is going to see a major change – from the stage to the theme song to the entire presentation of the product.
There are rumors that FOX executives are interested in seeing WWE take a very “sports-like” approach and present the product more as a legitimate sport. This is a big clash with Vince McMahon’s vision of presenting WWE as “Sports Entertainment”. After all, it is tried and tested.
Regardless, he’ll be giving the power to Bischoff to deal directly with executives from FOX, so it’s going to be really interesting to see how things turn out when it’s all said and done. It’s very possible that WWE does, in fact, plan a major overhaul in the product post-Extreme Rules, but fans should realize that this is the kind of change that takes a very long period of time.
We as fans have a habit of getting impatient and if there is going to be a legitimate change, patience is something that WWE must have and fans must have. For all we know, it could pay off in the long run for the company and fans.