There will likely be a lot of attention paid to Raw tonight (July 25). It’s the brand’s last push for SummerSlam from a sold out Madison Square Garden, with Rey Mysterio’s 20th Anniversary, an edition of one of the world’s most popular podcasts from Logan Paul, and a rare match featuring Undisputed WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns.
But that’s only part of it. Fairly or not, people will also be tuning in to see what WWE’s longest running show looks like without Vince McMahon around, and with Paul “Triple H” Levesque in charge.
We shouldn’t expect anything major. Raw isn’t a race car, it’s a tank. It doesn’t turn on a dime. Meaningful, noticeable changes take time. We’ve already heard one expected change — the exit of long-time producer and Vince confidant Kevin Dunn — could take a year. And reports indicate creative will still be overseen by the same men who were doing that under McMahon: Bruce Prichard & Ed Koskey.
According to Fightful Select, that duo was still running SmackDown last Friday in the hours after McMahon
retired resigned amidst an investigation into NDAs, hush money, and alleged sexual misconduct. Producers were told Levesque would be the “finish guy,” giving final approval as McMahon traditionally did. Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer confirmed this, writing: “The current system will remain in place with a writing team as Bruce Prichard will head things up and report to Levesque.”
Still, it’s conceivable that one change could make a world of difference. Probably not tonight, but sooner than Dunn’s estimated departure date.
Eric Bischoff, who only lasted a few months “running” SmackDown for McMahon in 2019, spoke on his 83 Weeks podcast about what he expects to see from Raw and SmackDown post-Vince:
“I think you’re going to see some incredibly talented people begin to do what they’re capable of doing without an almost unbearable process to do it in.”
And from what we’ve heard over the years (and that Bischoff again outlines on his show) about Vince’s process — things like unclear directives to writers & talent, and last minute wholesale changes to scripts? While it’s interesting to think about things like Shawn Michaels getting involved in the main roster shows, or an increased role for Paul Heyman, just taking some of the chaos out of the equation should pay huge dividends.
Maybe even tonight. Join us in our live blog and we’ll find out together.