As noted before, WWE recently made several major changes to both RAW and SmackDown’s creative writing teams. Among the major changes were SmackDown’s lead writer Ryan Ward being removed from his position and replaced with Ed Koskey, who had been the lead writer for the RAW brand.
The main reasons for the recent creative changes were due to WWE officials feeling SmackDown had been lacking in direction and their growing concerns with Eric Bischoff’s leadership of the brand, The Wrap reported.
The Wrap’s Tony Maglio reported that there has been a lot of pressure within WWE regarding the status of SmackDown ever since the new television contract with FOX was signed. WWE officials felt that big changes had to be made to fix the brand’s image ahead of its official debut on FOX.
It was also reported that Eric Bischoff’s leadership of the brand has been causing growing concerns, especially with his recent hiring of Stevie Long, Strictly Sexual series writer and Starsky & Hutch film writer, as a new writer for the brand. Long reportedly was viewed unfavorably by management after being found asleep in the writers room on his first day on the job.
Another notable issue reportedly revolved around Bischoff and SmackDown creative team’s handling of the “Who attacked Roman Reigns?” storyline, which was stated by one of The Wrap’s sources to have been “botched so bad” to the point that “explaining to anyone what it was supposed to be wouldn’t make any sense at all.” Specifically, WWE officials were upset the most over the Erick Rowan’s doppelgänger reveal and the lack of follow up on the mysterious person afterwards.