WWE shakeup: Paul Heyman will run Monday Night Raw, Eric Bischoff to run SmackDown Live!
WWE has named Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff as Executive Directors, Sports Illustrated has learned.
Heyman is set to become Executive Director of Monday Night Raw, while Bischoff will fill the same role for SmackDown Live. Both will report directly to WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon.
WWE confirmed the news with Sports Illustrated, with an official announcement expected later today.
The two positions are full-time executive roles, with no plans at the current time for this to be introduced as part of a TV storyline.
Heyman overseeing the creative development of Raw is scintillating news for wrestling fans. Best known as a pioneer for his innovative work as ECW president from 1993-2001, Heyman took the company to unfathomable heights on pay-per-view and through a national cable television deal with TNN. He is a must-see attraction as an on-screen performer as the advocate for Brock Lesnar, but Heyman’s longest-lasting work happens off-camera with the character development of many on the WWE roster.
Bischoff will also work directly with executives from FOX, which will air SmackDown Live beginning this October.
The former WCW president, immortal in the industry for igniting the New World Order storyline, started a wrestling war in 1995 against Vince McMahon’s WWE on Monday nights. With Bischoff in charge, WCW’s Nitro even defeated McMahon’s Monday Night Raw in the television ratings for 83 consecutive weeks. Bischoff made his WWE debut in the summer of 2002, appearing as the Raw General Manager. His full-time run with the company ended in 2007, though he has made the occasional return, most recently during the Raw 25th Anniversary show in January of 2018.
Bischoff is a valuable addition for WWE. Most recently, he lent his expertise to Conrad Thompson’s 83 Weeks podcast on Westwood One, as well as delivered a TEDx Talk last November on how the news media is copying from the pro wrestling blueprint. A former New York Times bestselling author, Bischoff is also serving as a producer for the upcoming Hulk Hogan biopic, where Chris Hemsworth is set to play Hogan.
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The move also allows WWE to further establish two distinct brands on Raw and SmackDown, ones that are immediately recognizable for their storytelling, wrestling, and ability to captivate on a weekly basis.
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.