If the 90’s were still working in the world of pro wrestling then Goldberg and the Undertaker would’ve had a nine-star match at Saudi Arabia’s Blood Money in the Bank event, even with all the botches. They didn’t though, because nostalgia can’t cover up the stink of failure. Not even Febreze would work on the WWE at the moment.
By now everyone knows that the WWE has hired Paul Heyman to run creative for RAW and Eric Bischoff to head creative for SmackDown, essentially flipping their brand allegiances from the mid-2000’s when Heyman was on SmackDown and Bischoff was on RAW.
Both men are expected to only answer to Vince McMahon and there in lies the true issue with everything; Vince McMahon is the problem. He’s so bad at his job that a monkey who types out Shakespeare wouldn’t be impressive enough to get the job done at Titan Towers Duex.
While we’re at it, it’s not like Heyman and Bischoff would’ve worked without Vince being in the way. Heyman’s big “success” in ECW was asking the creative minds of Tommy Dreamer, Raven and others what they wanted to do. That’s like telling LeBron James to ‘do what feels natural’ and then claiming your play calling was what lead the Lakers to a victory. Shut up, Heyman.
Heyman also gets praise for the SmackDown six tag team and main event bookings of Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit. Doing the obvious shouldn’t be grounds for praise. Heyman is a scumbag, who apparently was so awful in his job of owner, operator and booker of ECW, he drove Tommy Dreamer to the brink of plotting a murder/suicide. Dreamer spoke candidly about how he felt after Heyman joined the WWE in 2001, leaving all the ECW wrestlers he didn’t pay jobless, and revealed that he thought about going into WrestleMania 17 and killing Heyman on live T.V.. That’s how hot Heyman made Dreamer. Dreamer; who’s widely regarded as one of the best people in wrestling history.
That’s who you’re putting in charge of RAW, a man who made Mr. Nice Guy himself contemplate suicide.
Then we have Eric Bischoff, who made his entire legacy off of two ideas; Signing Hulk Hogan and re-creating a NJPW angle that turned into the New World Order. What else has Eric Bischoff done, you ask? Well, he signed with IMPACT Wrestling (then TNA) and bolstered its brand with the likes of Orlando Jordan, The Nasty Boys, Scott Hall and other talent who had no business being there. He thought opening up an episode of IMPACT that was going head-to-head with RAW by playing a guitar was the way to go. Oh by the way, he wasn’t even playing the guitar, it was just piped in sounds.
He added a camera on top of the referee’s head for X-Division matches, after making all X-Division matches a triple threat, AFTER putting a weight limit on the division that wasn’t about weight limits but about No Limits. No limits on his stupidity is more like it. He put the belt on Rob Van Dam, only to have Abyss nearly murder him for it. He booked and promoted his son Garrett and Wes Briscoe, two guys who had no business being on national t.v. at the time. Then there was the Aces and 8’s, which were about as successful as Bischoff’s attempt to buy WCW in 2001 was, so that’s something.
The biggest gripe against Bischoff though? Well, that’d be Victory Road 2011, where Bischoff would send an intoxicated Jeff Hardy out to the ring. The rumors around this get worse and worse with each passing conversation about it. While many thought Hardy was found last minute, the current word is that TNA management knew Hardy was wasted when he arrived at the building but instead of replacing him, they opted to give him time to sober up instead. At no point was an alternative idea pitched, and eventually Bischoff sent Hardy out to the ring. Bischoff then came out and told Sting to just end the match before it started, which he did and fans were rightfully pissed.
This is the man you’re turning the SmackDown reigns over to? Oh boy.
McMahon is yet again relying on the old to power the new. The ironic thing is that the WWE practically owns EVOLVE these days, and EVOLVE’s figure head, Gabe Sapolsky, is known for being a strong booker. Or was known, I should say. Now he’s more known for shouting like a child, throwing temper tantrums and attempting to abuse his talent by actually throwing things at them. That said, he’s at least a booker of the last era, unlike Heyman and Bischoff. Both of whom were bookers some three ‘eras’ prior.
Sapolsky could’ve done the same job but he wouldn’t of brought name recognition and headline making news. The point of these hires wasn’t to fix the problem, Vince himself, but to provide headline making news to give business partners the perception of change. Neither hire was good, honestly. Neither of which shows Vince is learning from his mistakes. Both of these hires show that Vince is still relying on the past instead of moving forward.
Top indy bookers and writers were being thrown around on social media as better examples of what the WWE could’ve done here. Fresh, new faces would’ve brought something different to the WWE product to wake it up from it’s funk. Instead the WWE again goes to the tired and outdated, relying on talent who are so far past their sell-by date that being ‘moldy’ would’ve been an upgrade.
I hope I’m wrong; but I know I’m not. I know that Vince McMahon won’t let his product improve because it’s not the writers who are sucking the energy out of the product; it’s Vince himself. Vince is the problem and all Bishoff and Heyman represent is Vince’s ultimate downfall. The inability Vince has to actually grow and change with the times. He did it once, in the 90’s, at the behest of Vince Russo and others but now? Why would he change? He won, he defeated his White Whale in the form of ECW and WCW and he hasn’t updated his product in 18 years.
Now that changes with yes-men like Bischoff and Heyman? No, there won’t be any changes. Not until Vince McMahon is out of power will things change. These were hires made exclusively for the headline, not for the outcome. The Cruel Summer continues on.