WWE TV has two new executive directors running the show: professional wrestling legends Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff. Paul will be heading up Monday Night RAW while Eric will be handling the SmackDown Live format. The only person above them calling the shots? Vince McMahon himself.
And while WWE executives often step in for on-camera duties and become part of the show itself, there's no word as to whether or not Paul and Eric will do that at this time.
As of now, their executive director roles are straight up behind-the-scenes work, which is exciting longtime pro-wrestling fans. Paul Heyman's talent in hyping wrestling events, stars, and promotions is unparalleled. The man took the independent ECW brand to another stratosphere as its president from 1993-2001. In that time, ECW scored a TV Deal with TNN and was eventually bought out by the WWE.
And while he's known as a fiery orator on the microphone, specifically in his on-camera promoting of Brock Lesnar at WWE, his greatest talent lies in developing new stars. Rob Van Damme, Taz, and Tommy Dreamer all become pro-wrestling legends under Heyman's stint with ECW, which is why everyone's very excited to see what he's going to accomplish with the talent pool on Monday Night RAW.
Another president of a former "rival" organization, Eric Bischoff eats, lives, and breathes professional wrestling. As the head of WCW, Eric turned the promotion into a legit contender for the WWE's top spot as the premiere source for Sports Entertainment. In fact, when he launched the "New World Order" storyline in 1995, WCW's Nitro beat out Monday Night Raw for 83 weeks in a row.
Clearly the man knows how to run a pro-wrestling show, which is probably why Vince McMahon purchased WCW in 2001 and brought Bischoff on as a general manager for RAW from 2002-2007. Since then, Eric's only come back to make occasional appearances, but now it looks like he's here to stay in a new position as the full-time showrunner for SmackDown Live.
Eric Bischoff recently conducted a TEDx talk about how media outlets are finding ways to promote their stories and brands using strategies coined by pro-wrestling franchises. It's titled, "Why the news media is stealing from the pro wrestling playbook" — and he makes a pretty darn good point.
He's also a New York Times bestselling author and is currently helping develop a Hulk Hogan biopic with Chris Hemsworth set to play the iconic red-and-yellow WWE star.
What's also interesting about giving RAW and SmackDown two different executive directors with their own managerial styles is that it'll help the WWE to truly bifurcate the two programs into separate brands. They'll hit different demographics and have their own sets of fans. Of course there will be cross-overs, with wrestlers from other programs meeting up at PPV events and dropping in for the occasional match, but this bold move should pay off in dividends for the WWE.
Fans were ecstatic about the move, with many old-schoolers amped that we are basically experiencing the '90s all over again. McMahon, Heyman, and Bischoff are all holding top positions in the world of sports entertainment.
It harkens back to a time many WWE, WCW, and ECW fans get nostalgic over. Where top talent put on spectacular shows week in, week out. Not that pro-wrestling isn't absolutely killing it right now, the huge FOX deal with SmackDown is a great sign that things are going well.
But it's hard to deny that there wasn't something special in the air when the three execs were at the top of their respective games, competing with one another for the attention of pro-wrestling fans everywhere. Hopefully even more magic can be added to an already bustling WWE atmosphere.