Over the last day or so, reports have surfaced that brought the changes with WWE’s creative team to the public eye.
According to F4WOnline.com, SmackDown Live writer Ryan Ward is out on personal leave. RAW’s lead writer Ed Koskey will now be moving to SmackDown to work with Executive Director, Eric Bischoff.
Jonathan Baeckstrom will take his place as the show’s new lead writer alongside RAW’s Executive Director, Paul Heyman. Baeckstrom was previously the lead writer for 205 Live.
Per the report, Ward’s leave of absence will be short-term and it’s likely that he’ll join the “home team” when he returns from leave. This would be considered a major step down for Ward. For those who may not remember, but many thought of NXT’s “glory days” while under creative from Ward.
There were some issues with SmackDown that led to several changes over the past few months including the firing of Steve Guerrieri in July. He had been sharing the lead writer role with Guerrieri until that departure. Before that, Road Dogg stepped down from the same role.
It was added that there have been more consistency with Koskey leading things. It was a Heyman call to move Baeckstrom from 205 Live to RAW.
The important thing to note is the reason for these changes is due to the perceived lack of direction of creative for SmackDown. This is a crucial time for WWE before SmackDown moves to FOX on October 4. That deal is putting a lot of pressure on the SmackDown writing team.
An interesting part of the story comes with Stevie Long, a writer who formerly worked on the Sons of Anarchy TV show. Long was reportedly found asleep in the writer’s room by WWE Hall of Famer Michael “PS” Hayes. This was during Long’s first day on the road with the company but is still employed.
The changes also come amid growing questions about Bischoff’s leadership of the show. While there have been reports about how Bischoff still hasn’t done much since beginning his new Executive Director role with the company, The Wrap’s report indicates otherwise.
There have been several reports of Vince McMahon ripping up SmackDown scripts in recent weeks. It was noted that changes to the creative team were finalized on Wednesday after it had been in the works for weeks.
Their source noted that the storyline was “botched so bad” that “explaining to anyone what it was supposed to be wouldn’t make any sense at all.”