Not long after Paul Heyman was given the offscreen role of Monday Night Raw executive director, rumors started swirling regarding the wrestlers who were supposedly favored by the former Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) owner. As it seems, the on-air "advocate" of WWE Champion Brock Lesnar remains high on many of the same superstars when it comes to his duties overseeing the red brand's programming.
Citing remarks made on Tuesday's edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, WrestlingNews.co wrote that per co-host Dave Meltzer, Heyman is still heavily behind Aleister Black, Buddy Murphy, Humberto Carrillo, and Ricochet -- all of whom have previously been mentioned among his rumored "top guys" on Monday Night Raw. Reigning United States Champion Andrade was brought up as another Heyman favorite, as the veteran combat sports journalist noted that this was one of the reasons why the Mexican wrestler was not stripped of his title following his recent Wellness Policy suspension. It was also suggested that it may be too early for Charlotte Flair's real-life fiance to drop the championship, considering he only won the U.S. title late last year.
Aside from Andrade and Black, Meltzer also mentioned this year's men's Royal Rumble match winner, Drew McIntyre, as another cornerstone of Heyman's plans in 2020 for the Raw brand.
"Andrade is one of the real key guys. Andrade, Aleister Black and McIntyre are the forefront of everyone that he's trying to push."
While he wasn't specifically named in the above comment from Meltzer, Murphy has also been riding high on an improved push since the start of the new year. On Monday, he and Seth Rollins successfully held on to their Raw Tag Team Championships in their first defense of the titles, where they defeated the duo of Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens, per Cageside Seats.
As pointed out by WrestlingNews.co, Heyman's decisions as the top man on Monday Night Raw's creative team are consistent with how he booked his talents while running ECW in the 1990s. The industry veteran has always been known to "accentuate the positives while hiding the negatives" and has done so on Raw by focusing on the in-ring talent of wrestlers -- mostly younger ones like the aforementioned superstars -- who usually aren't similarly gifted while cutting promos.
Conversely, Meltzer added, there seem to be some wrestlers on the Raw brand whose recent success can be credited to WWE owner Vince McMahon, as opposed to Heyman. The Wrestling Observer Radio co-host said that Erick Rowan is one such wrestler, as the 6-foot-8-inch, 300-pounder has apparently moved up the red brand's card because McMahon "likes him."