WWE has announced that the creative teams for Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown will be consolidated, with Bruce Prichard set to oversee the process for both brands. As a result, Paul Heyman has been relinquished of his duties as Monday Night Raw's executive director.
In a statement released on Thursday, WWE revealed that while Heyman will no longer have any creative input, he will still be employed by the company as an on-air personality and Brock Lesnar's mouthpiece.
"In an effort to streamline our creative writing process for television, we have consolidated both teams from Raw and SmackDown into one group, led by Bruce Prichard. Paul Heyman will concentrate on his role as an in-ring performer."At the time of this writing, it's unknown what led to Heyman being removed from his position. However, the company has experienced a decline in ratings in recent months as a result of the pandemic. This seems like the most likely theory for Heyman losing his creative position.
Friday Night SmackDown ratings have also been dipping, so Heyman's show isn't the only one that's experienced a lower turnout. Furthermore, McMahon still has the final say when it comes to booking and storylines, meaning that those who work under him can only contribute so much to the product.Heyman is the second executive director to be fired in the last year. Eric Bischoff was appointed in the same role, albeit for the Friday Night SmackDown brand, when Heyman accepted the role in 2019. Bischoff was fired because McMahon wasn't happy with his performance, but his duties appear to have been different from Heyman's, despite having the same job title.
This also marks the second time where Heyman has been fired from a backstage role in WWE. He previously served as the head of booking for the blue brand in the early 2000s, but he was let go after clashing with McMahon, despite outperforming Monday Night Raw in the ratings most weeks. The full story is recounted in WWE's Beyond the Ring: My Name Is Paul Heyman documentary.
Heyman's latest firing will undoubtedly come as bad news to the red brand's roster. He was reportedly behind the company's decision to push fresh superstars like Drew McIntyre, Apollo Crews, and Buddy Murphy. It remains to be seen if Prichard will place as much focus on propelling underutilized talents.
It also remains to be seen when Heyman will return to television, as Lesnar has been absent since WrestleMania 36.