A lot of energy has been spent here and elsewhere on the Wrestling Internet, just trying to understand what’s going on with that storyline where Roman Reigns was attacked backstage, first by having stuff knocked over onto him, and then with a deliberate hit-and-run in the parking lot. Buddy Murphy was involved for a while, although that was apparently unplanned. There was an Erick Rowan lookalike who was immediately forgotten. Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan seem to have ended their partnership over it, and it currently looks like we’ve been swerved from a Reigns/Bryan match to a Reigns/Rowan match, which is a bit of a letdown. As Smackdown prepares for its big move to Fox, and with Eric Bischoff theoretically newly in charge of the show (although his exact role remains unclear), it’s all kind of a weird look.
Now it seems that WWE is shaking things up backstage in an attempt to get Smackdown back on track. The Wrestling Observer reported yesterday that Smackdown head writer Ryan Ward has been removed from that position and sent on “personal leave” with former Raw head writer Ed Koskey moving over to replace him. Meanwhile Jonathan Baeckstrom, a former lead writer on 205 Live, has been promoted to head writer of Raw.
Meanwhile a story at The Wrap acknowledges those changes and also quotes an anonymous backstage source confirming that this is happening because of “a perceived lack of direction” on Smackdown. The same source also specifically mentions the Reigns storyline, saying it was “botched so bad that explaining to anyone what it was supposed to be wouldn’t make any sense at all.” The story also says that Bischoff’s leadership of Smackdown is already being called into question, especially after a writer he hired (Stevie Long, formerly of Sons of Anarchy) was caught literally sleeping on the job by Michael P.S. Hayes on his first day on the road with WWE.