No, this isn’t a storyline takeover. Bruce Prichard is taking over the creative side of things for Monday Night Raw. Around a year ago now, Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman were given very high up creative positions, overseeing Smackdown and Raw. Eric Bischoff wasn’t long for the job on Smackdown. He was replaced by Bruce Prichard soon after. WWE.com is reporting that Paul Heyman will now return to an on-camera only role.
This is interesting, as Paul Heyman’s vision of Monday Night Raw was one that was sort of conflicting with the overall style of WWE. You could tell who Heyman wanted to push. Superstars like Aleister Black and the tag team The Street Profits were given big pushes early in his tenure. With the COVID-19 Pandemic sweeping the world still, it remains to be seen when fans can return to WWE arenas.
The official WWE release states:
In an effort to streamline our creative writing process for television, we have consolidated both teams from Raw and SmackDown into one group, led by Bruce Prichard. Paul Heyman will concentrate on his role as an in-ring performer.
Reading Between The Lines On This Announcement For Bruce Prichard
Now I’m not going to say that’s an outright lie, but Heyman and WWE have had issues in the past over creative control. Heyman famously controlled Smackdown during the 2000’s. That time period was seen as a golden age for the brand, but WWE wanted to go a different way. Prichard has been running Smackdown for awhile, and they’ve been doing a stand-up job on that show. Monday Night Raw is the flagship program on WWE TV though. So that one needs to hit the mark or else. Heyman’s shows had been sagging in the ratings, and interest has been sagging as well.
I guess we’ll have to see what changes might come out of this. At the end of the day in WWE, all the decisions go through Vince McMahon’s office. No amount of creative control or business will change that. Bruce Prichard is a fine choice in my mind, because Smackdown has been the much better show of the two main WWE shows. Hopefully it means a better product for WWE as they head into a sort of dead zone for content. They’re going to have to contend with All Elite Wrestling gaining popularity, in addition to the pandemic concerns.
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