The future of WWE creative got a massive face lift on Thursday as the company named Paul Heyman as Executive Director of Raw and Eric Bischoff as Executive Director of SmackDown LIVE.
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, Heyman and Bischoff will report directly to WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, who will continue to lead the company’s overall creative process.
Don’t expect to any major differences with tonight’s Raw, which takes place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Mike Johnson of PWInsider reports: “From those we have spoken to at tonight’s Raw taping in Dallas, there was no real discernable difference compared to the last few weeks of TV tapings with the addition of Paul Heyman as the Executive Director of the brand.”
Johnson also noted that Heyman’s new ideas and direction will be implemented “slowly.” Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet reported the same thing as WWE plans to have Heyman and Bischoff slowly assimilate into their new roles before being given full control to oversee the creative development of Raw and SmackDown LIVE.
Satin asked his sources if ultimate goal of the move is to allow McMahon the ability to step back from the creative process in preparation for the XFL’s relaunch. Sources say the decision had “nothing to do with the XFL” and that only time will tell if McMahon’s ultimate plan is to have the ability to take a step back.
According to PWInsider, WWE tried to recruit Heyman as a top member of the creative team since February and only came to terms recently. He’s been in the inner circle when it comes to the creative process for a while, but was working without an official title. He mostly assisted wrestlers with character development, particularly Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey and Alexa Bliss over the past year.
Bischoff came to terms with WWE three weeks ago after organization officials approached him for the role. His previous work in collaborating with Turner Broadcasting, Spike TV (now known as the Paramount Network) and other networks to produce various television series is a big reason why he landed the role.