Vince McMahon, who is notorious for being impatient, is not happy with the low ratings from Monday Night Raw and NXT.
It’s believed that Paul Heyman was replaced with Bruce Prichard because Prichard’s thought process aligns more with McMahon’s. Heyman’s method right now has been to push new talent, which he has said could take at least 18-months. However, the running joke within WWE is that you have 3-weeks to get over before McMahon gets cold feet and your push is gone. Names like Humberto, Ricochet, and Cedric Alexander are recent examples.
Even though we can’t know which talent is getting over with fans because of the empty arenas (or employees giving fake reactions), the ratings are showing that no one is likely getting over. The Viking Raiders, which are a Paul Heyman project, are actually losing ratings during each segment. This is likely because of the current angle between Viking Raiders and Street Prophets not involving any actual wrestling.
There’s also some doubt about Drew McIntyre’s push due to the low ratings. He was pushed since the Royal Rumble with the idea of creating the next top “cool” babyface, but after his run to WrestleMania, ratings have been dropping. McIntyre was also a Heyman project.
Comparing the USA network ratings to Fox network ratings is a problem because Fox is available in 26% more homes. Despite getting better overall ratings, Smackdown has seen a drop in the 18-29 demographic by 50%. Despite this, the belief is that Prichard will likely be hotshotting names to the top of Monday Night Raw in an effort to fight declining ratings. (Credit: f4wonline.com)
Paul Heyman did not voluntarily step down and was actually demoted by Vince McMahon. According to his source, McMahon has been more hands on with Raw than Smackdown which made Heyman’s job more difficult. Keeping McMahon happy is said to be a difficult task.
The angle being ran on Smackdown with Jeff Hardy is a parallel angle to the one they ran in 2006 with HBK Shawn Michaels, which McMahon was very hands-on for. This type of angle is more inline with what McMahon is wanting, while Heyman’s method involved getting new talent over with long-term booking.
In addition to his frustration with Raw, McMahon may also be very upset with the ratings for NXT. While there are no current plans to shake up the creative team for the gold brand, there’s speculation that McMahon will be sending more Smackdown and Raw talent soon.