If the latest rumors are to be believed, WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon was at it again on Tuesday afternoon, as he reportedly showed up backstage before SmackDown Live and made a number of 11th-hour changes to the blue brand’s weekly show.
Shortly before SmackDown Live went on the air on Tuesday night, WrestlingNews.co reported that McMahon “ripped up the script” during that afternoon’s backstage visit, marking the latest time reports have suggested that the WWE boss has taken the hands-on approach to SmackDown Live and rewritten most, if not all of the script at the last minute. This was backed up by a tweet from Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, who noted that McMahon “was tearing up tonight’s show” and predicted a “heavy Vince show” due to his alleged last-minute changes.
As the former publication observed, McMahon’s recent trend of making changes to SmackDown Live mere hours before the show’s scheduled airtime goes against previous comments he made about his decision to hire Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff as executive producers of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown, respectively. According to a report from Variety, McMahon told investors during last month’s quarterly earnings call that he hired the two industry veterans because he wanted to “look at longer range story arcs and work on character development, versus being in the weeds.”
“The decision to create two new executive positions is just what McMahon needs to position himself to take a more strategic view of the WWE product, allowing the wrestling company to refresh their output, or as McMahon put it, ‘relaunch in terms of our content,'” Variety‘s Gavin Bridge posited in the above op-ed.
Despite Heyman and Bischoff’s presence, that seemingly hasn’t stopped McMahon, who turned 74-years-old last week, from carrying out the previously mentioned series of SmackDown Live rewrites. On August 7, Wrestling Inc. wrote that McMahon had made last-minute revisions to three consecutive SmackDown episodes at the time of the report, including frequent changes to the participants scheduled to take part in certain matches. Notably, these episodes were all aired weeks after Heyman and Bischoff were given the executive director roles toward the end of June, as previously documented by Bleacher Report.
As of this writing, it’s still unclear what exactly had been changed on Tuesday night’s episode of SmackDown Live. As recapped by Cageside Seats, the new episode was highlighted by the last few first-round matches in this year’s King of the Ring tournament, as well as a closing segment where Daniel Bryan angrily slapped his tag team partner, Erick Rowan, for lying about his involvement in the mystery attacks on Roman Reigns. This segment ended when Bryan made his way to the ring, only to get speared by Reigns as the episode itself drew to a close.