The biggest news in sports entertainment is the newly announced WWE hiring of Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman as heads of Vince McMahon’s two main television brands. Bischoff is to run WWE Smackdown, and Heyman will oversee operations of Monday Night Raw. This news breaks just months before the Smackdown program will migrate to the Fox network from its current home on the USA network; Raw will remain on the USA network.
This was a bold move as the word trickling down from WWE is that McMahon made this decision without consulting with his new partners at Fox; this means Fox is going to working with Eric Bischoff when they thought they were going to be working with someone else. Bischoff is the former executive producer of Turner Broadcasting’s pro wrestling brand that debunked in 2001.
This big power move comes on the heels of a dive in the TV ratings and the public’s interest shifting to alternative pro wrestling brands like the newly founded AEW (All Elite Wrestling) that is set to air on Turner Broadcasting’s legendary TNT cable channel. McMahon’s television product has always been at its best when he has a competitor to worry about.
In the 1990s pro wrestling hit its peak in the rating war between Turner Broadcasting’s World Championship Wrestling directed by Eric Bischoff, and Vince McMahon’s now WWE empire. In the background was always the 3rd alternative brand Extreme Championship Wrestling that boasted an edgier product with more explicit language and occasional nudity on its Pay-Per-View broadcasts; ECW was run by Paul Heyman.
ECW and WCW were the thorn in Vince McMahon’s rear that invaded his market share and his ultimate goal of world (wrestling) domination. At one point, Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman were viewed as the top brands, and McMahon’s (at that time) failing WWF brand was on its heels almost having to close down its business operations. At the end of the rating war, pro wrestling kingpin Vincent Kennedy McMahon prevailed and bought out both of his competitors, eventually hiring both Bischoff and Heyman as writers and on-screen talent for WWE. The ultimate story of defeating adversity.
WWE Wrestlemania 36 will be held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa in April 2020. The event is sure to bring in millions of dollars of revenue for local businesses similar to a Superbowl week. The following year Tampa’s same stadium will host the NFL’s Super Bowl week-long festivities and game.
WWE Monday Night Raw is the flagship TV show for WWE and can be seen Mondays from 8-11 pm on the USA Network, and the family-friendlier Smackdown can be seen Tuesdays from 8-10 pm on USA.
By Marc Charles for Money Talk Radio