The future of WWE creative got a massive face lift on Thursday as the company named Eric Bischoff as Executive Director of SmackDown LIVE and Paul Heyman as Executive Director of Raw.
In the blockbuster announcement, WWE said that “Heyman and Bischoff will oversee the creative development of WWE’s flagship programming and ensure integration across all platforms and lines of business. The creation of these roles further establishes WWE’s ability to continuously reinvent its global brand while providing two distinct creative processes for its flagship shows.”
In these newly created positions, Bischoff and Heyman will report directly to WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, who will continue to lead the company’s overall creative process.
On the first episode of his 83 Weeks podcast since the news broke, Bischoff discussed his new role with WWE.
“I want to let everybody know, the magnitude of this opportunity and the challenge and the commitment that goes along with it is not lost on me. There’s been a couple times over the last few days where I’ve been driving around in my truck or taking my dog for a hike and going, ‘Wow, this may be’ — it’s not maybe, this is the biggest opportunity I’ve ever had in this industry. Granted, when Bill Shaw made me president of WCW, obviously that was a very big moment, but I was learning on the job there. I had nothing to lose there. I was taking a company in WCW that had never turned a dollar of profit, that was such a distant number two to WWF at that time that we weren’t even really number two. A company that was fraught with a bad history and all kinds of internal issues, so I had nothing to lose,” Bischoff said.
“In this situation, this is an entirely different ballgame here. This is a very sophisticated company in WWE. There is a great team already in place. They’re moving the SmackDown show to Fox network, which is going to obviously have a lot of eyeballs on it in every way. So the magnitude of the opportunity is not lost on me. I said this in a tweet, this is probably the only thing I’m really going to say beyond this, and I mean this, almost get a tear in my eye saying it, I’m honored, I’m humbled, and I cannot express, even here, because this is a different kind of excitement for me. I haven’t felt this way, maybe in forever but for at least 20 years.”
Bischoff will be very hands-on with his new position as he is moving to Stamford, Connecticut, where WWE headquarters are located.
“This is a whole different ballgame and I honestly, Loree (his wife) and I, and my dog Nikki, we’re going to load up our truck and we’re heading out to Stamford, probably on the 10th or 11th of July,” Bischoff said.
“I mean literally we’re going out there with the clothes on our back and some of it in boxes, and we’re starting over from scratch and I’ve never been more excited. The opportunity at this stage in my life and in my career to be able to make a move like this is so … exciting doesn’t cover it. It’s thrilling and I just can wait.”
Bischoff continues after co-host Conrad Thompson asks him about the move directly.
“Yeah, this is not a remote control kind of an opportunity here. This is a deep dive. This is, I’m sure, a 23/7 kind of a gig. This is not something I can do on my laptop remotely. This is the real deal,” Bischoff said.
Regarding the future of his 83 Weeks podcast, Bischoff addressed the ‘rumor and innuendo’ and said that it will continue.
“Oh, hell no,” Bischoff said when asked if the podcast is ending.
“That was one of the things that I was most concerned about because I love doing this show. I know some people joke about ‘Oh he is the kingmaker,’ or ‘If you want to get into the wrestling business just do a podcast with Conrad Thompson.’ A couple of things have happened with this podcast, one, you have given me the opportunity to look back at these shows, to discuss all the stuff, even in my own mind been able to look at things in an entirely different perspective then I have as a result of doing this show. I feel more energized about the industry as a result of doing this show.”
While the podcast will continue, Thompson said their live shows will soon end.