Paul Heyman may now be back on television as the “special counsel” to Universal Champion Roman Reigns on Friday Night SmackDown, but as a former high-ranking member of the company’s creative team, his presence — as well as his willingness to tell WWE chairman Vince McMahon the truth — is sorely missed by the people he once worked closely with.
Citing an unnamed official familiar with the backstage situation, Ringside News wrote that the person described Heyman as having “no arguments or agendas” as the former executive director of Monday Night Raw. The veteran wrestling personality reportedly was “very respectful” to McMahon, who felt the same way about him. However, the fact that Heyman was released from his post in June has effectively put an end to his vision, which was to build up new superstars “for the next decade.”
In addition, the source lamented that WWE’s creative process has “hit rock bottom,” as Heyman was the only individual who “spoke truth to power” and wasn’t afraid to tell McMahon his ideas weren’t working. All told, the general feeling among the promotion’s creative team members is that they are “lost” and are forced to “[crank] out content” for a short-term pop rather than plan storylines for the long term.
“It’s hard to say it’s frustrating because there is so much ‘busy bee’ work to do, you don’t have any time to be frustrated,” one veteran team member was quoted as saying.
For his part, McMahon has been complimentary about Heyman’s work and had previously stated that the former executive director was “doing a good job creatively.” However, he did not go into detail about why he had decided to let go of Heyman and effectively consolidate WWE’s writing teams for both of its main roster brands.
While this isn’t the first report hinting at turmoil and confusion behind the scenes at WWE in the aftermath of Heyman’s exit, it also came shortly after rumors swirled regarding the negative backstage reaction to the RETRIBUTION segments on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw.
As reported on Tuesday by the WrestleVotes Twitter account, the faction’s big reveal was a “major topic of discussion” backstage, as there were times when their segments were met with “laughter.” It was also noted that the group’s new masks — which barely concealed the identities of most of its members — as well as the new ring names for its male members have made it challenging for the faction to get over as legitimate threats on Raw. You can view that tweet here.