Paul Heyman was the Executive Director of Raw for roughly one year before he was fired in June 2020 by Vince McMahon. It’s never been exactly clear what that role entailed, particularly in the case of Eric Bischoff on SmackDown, but the general understanding is that Heyman was in charge of Raw’s creative direction.
His removal from that position sent shock waves through WWE at the time. Paul was off television for a couple months before returning in August as the Special Counsel to the Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns. Now that Heyman is back on television and promoting tomorrow night’s (Oct. 16) season premiere of SmackDown on FOX, he’s addressing what happened in June when he was fired by McMahon. Here is how Heyman explained the situation to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani:
“As for why I am no longer the Executive Director of Monday Night Raw, is because I served at the pleasure of the chairman Vince McMahon, and there came a day where I was no longer at the pleasure of the chairman Vince McMahon. When I took the role as Executive Director, I made an agreement with Vince McMahon. I want this job as long as every morning Vince McMahon woke up, he said thank god, or whatever deity he subscribes to, Paul Heyman is looking after the store on Raw. And the day that Vince McMahon didn’t wake up and feel that way, I didn’t want the job anymore.
I’ve been in a similar role when Vince was not happy with me, and it’s a miserable existence, and I didn’t want it. And apparently on that day, at that given time, at that given moment, Vince didn’t wake up that morning thanking whatever deity he subscribes to that Paul Heyman was in charge of Raw. We left with a smile, a handshake, and a hug. And absolutely no harsh feelings. And actually better feelings about each other because of the way that it ended, because it ended miserably before. And proof positive of that is on the quarterly earnings call, when asked about Paul Heyman...Vince McMahon’s only comment was, ‘I thought Paul Heyman did a [great] job creatively.’ So it was time. My run in terms of serving at the pleasure of the chairman was up.”
The miserable existence that Heyman refers to is mid-to-late 2006 when his ECW promotion was re-launched under the WWE umbrella. His vision for the brand did not mesh at all with Vince McMahon’s, culminating in one of the worst pay-per-views that WWE ever promoted, December to Dismember. Things ended very badly between Heyman and McMahon right after that show. Their relationship was severed until 2012 when the returning Brock Lesnar was feeling some feelings that John Cena was feeling, which made it clear that McMahon needed Heyman back to cut promos for The Beast Incarnate.
With that history in mind, Heyman’s decision to accept a lead creative role under Vince McMahon in 2019 as Executive Director of Raw could have been asking for trouble. But given the way Heyman explains it here, he never planned to fight McMahon tooth-and-nail over creative clashes and let it strain their relationship again. Instead, Heyman was fine with being able to walk away from the role as soon as it was clear that McMahon was no longer happy. That’s exactly what happened in June, according to Heyman, and he has now moved on to a new role alongside the biggest star in the company, Roman Reigns. However there are two sides to every story, and it’s worth remembering that reports from the time don’t indicate such a rosy relationship between Heyman and McMahon.
Do you wish Heyman was still in charge of Raw, or do you prefer seeing him in this new role with Reigns?