As noted, WWE has hired Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman to work as Executive Directors of RAW and SmackDown. Bischoff will head up the blue brand while Heyman will run the red brand, and both will report directly to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
Above is a new WWE Now video with Cathy Kelley looking at the buzz surrounding the latest WWE creative shake-up. While this is not currently planned to be a part of any storyline, the WWE website did cover the announcement after WWE issued their press release to us and other media outlets. The story was originally reported by Sports Illustrated, and has since been picked up by some mainstream media. The story is currently the featured article on the WWE website.
It’s possible we see significant creative changes to RAW and SmackDown as soon as Monday and Tuesday as Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer Radio that he’s heard Bischoff and Heyman will begin their new roles immediately. It’s unknown if that means right now or next week, or soon after, but we should have an update on when they are starting soon. Meltzer also noted that Fox officials had no idea that the Executive Director hires were coming, but it was indicated that they did want to work with Heyman.
“I do know the Fox people had no idea this was coming… but they wanted the other guy,” Meltzer said.
Bischoff will be working closely with Fox officials as the blue brand prepares to premiere on Fox Friday nights in October.
On a related note, Bischoff’s full-time return to WWE has surprised a lot of people. Meltzer noted that people who worked with Bischoff in TNA, that are working with WWE now, were more than baffled by the news.
It looks like the former WCW President will continue to be involved with his “83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff” podcast. John Pollock noted on Twitter that there will be “no change” regarding Bischoff and the podcast, which features Starrcast founder Conrad Thompson as the co-host. The podcast takes a weekly look at Bischoff’s time in the business, mainly in WCW. It will be interesting to see if the podcast continues as Bischoff gets settled into his new gig with WWE.
Heyman and WWE just recently came to terms on the new role but they have been going back and forth on the new deal for a long time, according to PWInsider. The former ECW boss has been in WWE’s inner circle when it comes to the creative process for some time, but without an official title. That changes with the announcement. We noted earlier how WWE has been pursuing Heyman to officially sign on to work in their corporate circles since February. An offer was made to Heyman to work as a full-time member of the creative process back around the same time Bruce Prichard was brought back as a Senior Vice President. The talks were slowly progressing, and just recently finalized. It’s no secret that Heyman had been working creatively on storylines involving Ronda Rousey and Brock Lesnar, but he has also been working on material for Alexa Bliss and many others, long before the talks.
Regarding Bischoff’s return, WWE looked at his previous work with Turner Broadcasting, Spike and other networks in building past TV series, and that was one of the reasons they hired him for the role, according to PWInsider. The deal with Bischoff was inked within the last few weeks.
As noted, while they will still report to Vince, Heyman and Bischoff will essentially be running RAW and SmackDown. One source compared the new roles to Triple H’s role in WWE NXT, in that they will be in charge, but this is still Vince’s company and he still has the final say-so. There’s no word yet on how Triple H and others will factor into this shake-up.
Heyman is expected to continue his TV role as the mouthpiece for Lesnar. Despite this not being a part of any TV storyline as of now, there’s obvious speculation on when we will see Bischoff return to TV, if he’s brought back at all, given how he’s always done well in those character roles.