As noted earlier, Paul Heyman is out as head of creative at Monday Night Raw. WWE announced that Heyman will continue as an on-air talent, presumably when Brock Lesnar returns to television.
A WWE source I spoke with told me that Heyman did not quit and this was a decision made by Vince McMahon after expressing frustration with the Raw ratings.
Another source told me that McMahon is more involved with Raw than SmackDown and that made Heyman’s job much harder as he had to try to push his ideas while trying to keep McMahon happy.
Meanwhile, Bruce Prichard on SmackDown is said to be more in line with what McMahon wants. The evidence of this is the Jeff Hardy angle. It was reported on Wednesday by Sportskeeda that Friday’s SmackDown will include a controversial segment that is basically a rehash of something they did in 2006 with Shawn Michaels. McMahon was very hands on with the 2006 angle tha tis being redone this week with Hardy. What they are doing with Hardy is more in line with what McMahon wants while Heyman has been pushing to get more younger talent moved up the card.
Over the last several months, Heyman has attempted to give pushes to names like Ricochet, Cedric Alexander, and others only to have McMahon step in after a few weeks with the edict given to bury them because he doesn’t seem them as top stars.
SmackDown ratings have done better than Raw but defenders of Heyman’s work on creative have pointed out that FOX is a bigger platform than the USA Network and you can’t create stars overnight and ratings would have eventually risen after the pandemic and after fans have gotten accustomed to the younger stars.
I was told that McMahon has been frustrated with NXT ratings as well but right now it doesn’t look like there are changes coming for that brand on the creative side but there has been talk of using more talent from Raw and SmackDown on that show.