There has been a major shakeup with the WWE creative team this week and it is now known that it has primarily to do with one huge storyline. Weeks ago, Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff were made Executive Directors of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live respectively. Now, they have new writing teams underneath them, and rumors are circulating that it is all because of the angle involving Erick Rowan, Daniel Bryan, and Roman Reigns.
In the last couple of days, WWE has entirely shaken up the creative team among its primary flagship shows. Ryan Ward had been the lead writer of SmackDown Live for a long time, but he has now been removed from that position, even though official word from WWE is that he’s on “personal leave.”
It is known that Vince McMahon has been rewriting the entire script for the blue brand for months now.
Longtime WWE employee Ed Koskey had been working as the lead writer for Monday Night Raw, but he’s taking over on SmackDown now. He will be working directly with Eric Bischoff on that show.
Former 205 Live head writer Jonathan Baeckstrom is the new lead writer for Raw and he will be working directly with Paul Heyman. After almost three years in his position with 205 Live, Baeckstrom was brought to Raw about a month ago. Chad Barbash has taken over as the head writer for the cruiserweights.
All of this movement and shaking up of the creative team is said to stem from one of the biggest angles in WWE right now and mistakes that were made with it.
According to a report from The Wrap, these changes have been in the works for weeks now, and they came about after issues with the Rowan/Reigns/Bryan storyline. Someone with inside knowledge has revealed that there was a “botched” summer storyline featuring the doppleganger look-alike for Erick Rowan.
It’s not exactly known what the “botch” was, but it may have to do with some of the camera angles after Reigns was attacked backstage.
The head writer position of SmackDown Live has not been an enviable spot for a while now. Brian “Road Dogg” James stepped down from that spot months ago and the job was turned over to Steve Guerrieri and Ward. It appears as if Guerrieri was actually fired a while back and Ward is now “on leave.”
Reports do not yet state if Ryan Ward will indeed return to WWE after his leave, or what position he may even come back to. With nearly two writers split between Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live, there are plenty of minds working on things, but only one head writer for each show. This shakeup is a huge message as to what can happen if even just one storyline is botched.