WWE RAW: Who's Safe, Who Should Be Worried Following Paul Heyman's Removal

Paul Heyman was a great advocate for some of the younger talent on the WWE Raw roster while in charge of creative, but his surprising demotion from creative on Thursday has left several people in the locker room uneasy about their future. Of course, there's some concern about creative itself due to the change, but there's also concern about certain talent's respective roles themselves given Heyman's influence as a top decision maker in creative is now gone.

Heyman was reportedly very high on Ricochet, Aleister Black, Drew McIntyre, Cedric Alexander, the Street Profits, and several more on the roster who may have not seen the same kind of use if someone else was in charge over the last several months.

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that McIntyre, the reigning WWE Champion, is probably safe in his role moving forward. Meltzer writes, "The belief is that McIntyre and the Street Profits are liked by McMahon and are probably safe, although they will be more subject to the whims of booking that may or may not protect them as well. As far as everyone else, it’s anyone’s guess."

Alexander, Ricochet, and Black have all had difficulties in the past in trying to be booked in meaningful ways. Some reports have even indicated McMahon was bored with Alexander and Ricochet at one point. With Bruce Prichard now heading up a combined creative team between Raw and SmackDown, it will be interesting to see how their trajectories change moving forward.

Despite the declining television ratings during the COVID-19 pandemic, general reviews of the creative on Raw have been more positive since Heyman took over. Especially over the course of 2020. Will Prichard be able to sustain that positivity? That remains to be seen.

Since February, Raw has seen its viewership drop just under 23 percent, while SmackDown's viewership has dropped about 20 percent. During a recent call with investors, McMahon spoke of Raw's declining ratings and blamed it on new talent on the brand who still need to get over with viewers. He also falsely claimed that SmackDown ratings have had "virtually no change" since the pandemic began; the numbers show SmackDown and Raw have experienced an almost identical decline.

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Creative can't be looked at as the only cause for these declines as the shows have been presented without a live audience in a business that thrives on the reactions of the crowd. Simply put, watching pro wrestling without a live audience is generally just not a good thing, and no matter how good of a job a company does at presenting these shows given the circumstance, they will never be as good as a show presented in front of a live audience.

What do you think of Paul Heyman's demotion? What do you think the prospects are for the stars mentioned in the article above? Let us know in the comments section, and give me a follow on Twitter @ryandroste for all things WWE and AEW.

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