WWE has confirmed their creative teams from Raw and SmackDown have been consolidated into one group which will be led by Bruce Prichard.
According to a statement from WWE:
“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.”
As you’ll recall, Heyman was made the Executive Director of Raw in June of 2019. Eric Bischoff was hired to be the Executive Director of SmackDown as well, but that didn’t last long and he made his exit from the company months later in October. He was then replaced by Bruce Prichard.
Ratings for all the major wrestling shows have fallen drastically since the Coronavirus pandemic forced the promotions to hold tapings without real crowds. In February, the first full month before the pandemic, RAW averaged 2.29 million viewers (down 14% from an average of 2.67 million viewers in February of 2019). In May, the show averaged 1.77 million viewers, a drop of 23% from February and 24% from the 2.33 million viewers RAW averaged in May of last year. The past six weeks have featured five of the least watched episodes in the show’s history.
PWInsider reported that a source noted to them that Vince McMahon has recently been “very upset” and openly “frustrated” with Raw.
During the Q1 2020 investors call in late April, McMahon was asked why ratings have declined despite the company being the only live sports content on television during the pandemic. Even though SmackDown ratings have also suffered, McMahon claimed that SmackDown ratings had seen virtually no change, while RAW has suffered because of the new talent on the brand, who need time to get over.
“So there’s no audience and it’s a different show, a completely different show,” Vince said. “And I think we’re going to get there. While we may be able to take this negative and already turn it into somewhat of a positive, as far as ratings and what have you are concerned. SmackDown has virtually been no change, very little. RAW has suffered, but not necessarily because of the environment, it’s suffered because we bring in a lot of new talent and to RAW, and it takes a while to get these new talents over.
“We no longer have Brock Lesnar obviously, but we have a new champion and a lot of new performers coming in. So it takes a while. So that’s the reason, and how you use those performers in this story or that story or what have you. So, with new talent it’s just going to take a little while. I’m convinced though, that the RAW’s ratings are going to bounce back considerably.”