WWE Raw: what it means for Paul Heyman to retire by Vince McMahon

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Vince McMahon officially removed the well-respected Paul Heyman from Monday evening gross as the show’s executive director.Wanting to increase the show’s weekly ratings by dismissing Heyman, one of the brightest minds in the fight, is certainly daring. He’ll likely be effective in the short term, but a key element of Heyman’s strength was his ability to book stories over a longer period, one of WWE’s weaknesses over the past decade.

Sports Illustrated contacted 10 different wrestlers currently active on the Gross and everyone noted that Heyman’s greatest strength was the advice, recommendations and guidance he had provided. Every wrestler contacted shared the hope that Heyman will still be on TV every week criticizing his work.

Heyman lasted nearly a year in the role, but was doomed when the XFL closed and filed for bankruptcy, freeing McMahon to focus entirely on WWE. He is now replaced by Bruce Prichard, who also supervises Smack down, placing it at the center of two of the three weekly WWE live shows. (Eric Bischoff, who was responsible for Smack down when Heyman took over Gross, was laid off in October.)

The move is both a literal and figurative reminder that McMahon is in charge. While Prichard will manage Gross and Smack down, the creative direction of these two shows belongs to McMahon. And the timing is smart, because there will be short-term rating gains that McMahon can defend with its investors. WWE programming suffered without audiences, and ratings Gross have falled. This is likely to change as WWE returns to a live audience, which is possible as early as this summer. When the ratings increase, McMahon will inevitably receive the credit.



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