Since their appointment as executive directors of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live respectively, Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff have been given substantial creative powers by WWE owner, Vince McMahon, in a bid to liven things up and restore the company’s shows to television ratings prominence.
However, while Heyman has supposedly been offering his input already, his colleague on the blue brand has yet to make an appearance. According to the ever-reliable Wrestling Observer, the former WCW president was a no-show at last night’s SmackDown Live, despite the show allegedly being billed as the first of the Heyman-Bischoff era.
Bischoff moved his family to Connecticut this past week in order to be closer to his new base of employment, so it’s possible his absence is simply down to him relocating and settling into his new home. That said, it was believed that Bischoff and Heyman would start implementing their ideas after the Extreme Rules pay-per-view, with both men expected to start their tenures with clean slates.
Bischoff’s absence hasn’t gone unnoticed, though. Per WrestleTalk, some members of WWE’s creative team are unhappy with the former WCW figurehead, as they feel he should have been present at the shows and acclimatizing himself with his new surroundings.
As noted by WrestleTalk, Dave Meltzer also weighed in on the situation in a recent edition of Wrestling Observer Newsletter, stating that his sources claim Bischoff’s absence is derailing the progress of SmackDown Live.
“It’s been noted to us that every week he’s not there puts him another week behind and the battles necessary to be the catalyst of change and improvement are going to take a long time.”
While this week’s episode of Raw marked the official beginning of Heyman’s official reign as the show’s executive director, the former ECW owner has been responsible for some of the more notable elements of recent episodes. For example, Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman’s pyro spot, Corey Graves uttering expletives on live television, and the pregnancy angle involving Maria and Mike Kanellis all boasted Heyman’s edgier hallmarks.
Of course, it’s a well-known fact that Heyman is generally present behind the scenes at most Raw tapings, either advocating for his client Brock Lesnar or helping current superstars develop their promo skills. Therefore, Heyman’s involvement in recent shows was likely due to him being in the building anyway.
It remains to be seen when Bischoff will make an appearance, but it should be within the next week or so provided all goes according to plan.