The big question that will be answered in the weeks and months to come is if hiring Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman as Executive Directors for their respective brands will increase ratings for Raw and SmackDown Live for the long term. Aside from the Raw Reunion show, ratings and attendance numbers are still down but it may take some time and it will take some patience from Vince McMahon because things will not turn around overnight.
During the recent investor conference call, Vince McMahon said that he would be less involved with creative and he didn’t need to be “in the weeds” any longer.
“I can’t personally be in the weeds any longer and we have these two individuals who have a longer range point of view and developmental point of view,” McMahon said on the recent WWE investor conference call.
However, McMahon continues to be “in the weeds” because he is still very much involved with the creative side of the main roster shows. Last Tuesday, McMahon rewrote the entire SmackDown Live show and there were changes being made to the second hour of the show while the first hour was airing on TV.
Heyman, however, has been able to get ideas approved and last week’s Raw was mostly his show. Click here for backstage news on Heyman, including news on a change that was implemented last week on Monday Night Raw that some fans may have noticed.
Dave Meltzer noted in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that people within the company said that the Executive Director roles being assigned was done to show stockholders that WWE was making structural changes to address the decline in popularity.
In addition, the Executive Director role for Heyman (and probably for Bischoff, too) is very lucrative and also keeps Heyman and Bischoff away from AEW. Meltzer noted that people in AEW said that they had no interest in Heyman or Bischoff but McMahon was not going to take a chance especially after Bischoff appeared on one of the AEW “Road To” YouTube shows and Tony Khan has talked about being an ECW fan when he was a kid.
Time will tell if these changes will lead to a ratings boost for WWE. Ratings, attendance and WWE Network subscription numbers have dropped this year and they will continue to drop unless major changes occur.