WWE may be making yet another huge change to its creative team, but this time, the company will be keeping it in the family.
According to a report from Alex McCarthy of Sportskeeda, Vince McMahon is considering removing Bruce Prichard from his role as head of Raw creative and replacing him with his son Shane McMahon: “Now, one source in WWE has told me Shane is being considered to take RAW off Bruce Prichard’s hands leaving him to concentrate on SmackDown. Other sources that I’ve posed this information [to] couldn’t give concrete confirmation, though judging by work behind the scenes, they can believe it. Another layer to the story is Prichard making no secret about the fact he’d like to lighten his workload and he’s been struggling with the long hours.”
Shane recently returned to WWE after being written off of SmackDown last October following a lengthy feud with Kevin Owens that resulted in him being “fired” as an on-screen character. Although Shane disappeared from TV nearly a year ago, McCarthy notes that Shane continued to have a significant role backstage: “It’s well-known that Shane played a key role in helping put together the very successful men’s Royal Rumble this year alongside Paul Heyman and, for his part, Brock Lesnar. Shane has also been sitting alongside his father Vince McMahon in the Gorilla Position at most main roster shows…helping produce the shows and offer ideas.”
The former SmackDown Commissioner recently returned to TV on Monday Night Raw to serve as the on-screen head of the show’s polarizing shoot-style fight club, Raw Underground. Though Shane was seemingly brought back only to run that portion of the show in a storyline sense, Raw star MVP recently revealed that Raw Underground is actually the real-life brainchild of Shane, who has been hosting the Underground segments primarily during Raw’s third hour. While third hour viewership for Raw increased significantly for the first week of the bold new concept, Raw Underground’s impact has slowly declined as third hour viewership for this week’s show was an awful 1.502 million, the second worst in its 27-year history.
The Raw Underground concept has drawn mixed reviews, with former WWE producer Arn Anderson even saying that this is a case of WWE “grasping at straws” in order to improve its struggling TV viewership. The same could be said of Shane’s potential appointment as Raw’s creative head.
The red brand has already undergone significant creative changes just over the past year or so. First, Paul Heyman was hired as Raw’s Executive Director in a shocking move last year. Then, he was removed from that role back in June and replaced by Bruce Prichard in a massive overhaul that many have viewed as a step backward for WWE’s creative process. Heyman was a well-known supporter of a slew of Raw’s rising stars but really never got the chance to see his vision to create new stars through, ultimately being ousted from his role so that Prichard—who has instead been pushing established names like Randy Orton, Ric Flair, Big Show, etc.—could take over.
Prichard has been heading up Raw’s entire creative process, which is no easy task and has reportedly been plagued by last-minute changes in recent months. That’s been evident by the booking of Raw and SmackDown being all over the place, especially in regards to many major midcard storylines. Having Prichard in charge of such a wide-ranging process is asking a lot of one person, even if the final creative decisions are ultimately Vince’s to make. Even Vince himself has reportedly admitted that WWE’s creative process is “broken” while former WWE star Eric Young is one of many ex-WWE names who have blasted that process, with Young even saying it was a “disaster” and telling Vince that he “failed as leader” due to the way he books the company.
With Vince notoriously having the final say-so on virtually all of WWE’s creative decisions, it remains unlikely that whoever is running Raw—whether it’s Shane or not—will have true creative control over the red brand.
Though Shane has shown the potential to run a quality show on Raw, his possible rise to the head of Raw’s creative team could ultimately prove to be a rocky road, if it even happens.