When it was announced in June that WWE had hired Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff as executive directors of Raw and Smackdown, respectively, it sent shockwaves through the professional wrestling industry. More than a month later, with Smackdown gearing up for its transition from cable channel USA to the Fox broadcast network, Bischoff’s role on the blue brand is certainly something many fans are keeping an eye out for. They aren’t the only ones, though.
Charlotte Flair, a Smackdown superstar, is very intrigued by what Bischoff brings to the table. However, as she explained to GameSpot and other outlets during a scrum at the TCA press tour, the proof will be in the pudding. “Talent who have had experience, who’ve been with other companies, who’ve seen the industry change, it’s a positive,” the nine-time WWE Women’s Champion said.. “But at the end of the day, the talent still has to deliver. So, to me, yes it’s exciting to have a new mind. It’s fresh, it’s new, he’s eager, he’s experienced it all. But talent still has to deliver at the end of the day.”
Whether or not he can deliver, big things are coming for Smackdown. The show’s move to Fox is part of a bigger agreement WWE has made with Fox Entertainment, which will see additional programming on Fox Sports 1. Having Smackdown fall under the Fox Sports banner within the company may also be a sign that the blue brand may more heavily lean on the sports aspect of sports entertainment, though that remains to be seen.
Smackdown will premiere on Fox on Friday, October 4, with an episode celebrating the show’s 20th anniversary. Among the names announced for the special installment of the series are Kurt Angle, Lita, Trish Stratus, Ric Flair, Sting, Booker T, and Mick Foley, along with the current roster of Smackdown superstars.