Backstage News On Why WWE Made Recent Change To Creative Team

WWE WrestleMania Triple H

The WWE Creative Team made a major change when SmackDown’s lead writer was replaced by somebody else on the team.

Paul “Triple H” Levesque is the man in charge of the creative process for World Wrestling Entertainment. For the past two years, Triple H has been WWE’s Chief Content Officer who has run the show to the best of his abilities and has been praised heavily for delivering a better product to wrestling fans.

It was reported recently that SmackDown’s lead writer Ryan Callahan was let go after several years on the job. The man taking his place is John Swikata, who has been a part of the writing team for a few years.

The new head writer Swikata took over starting with the June 21st edition of Smackdown from Chicago, which was praised heavily as perhaps the best WWE television show of the year.

In the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer wrote about why WWE decided to make the creative team change on the SmackDown brand.

“John Swikata has replaced Ryan Callahan as the head writer of Smackdown. Callahan, who had been head writer for the show since 2020, has left the company. We were told that Callahan was considered a very talented writer but wasn’t as well liked as the leader of the group. He took heat for Jennifer Pepperman leaving (although I think her leaving is more Mercedes Mone got her into AEW).”

“It was also said it became harder for underneath talent to reach him. But he was believed to be burned out by the pressure and need for diplomacy from the position. Obviously, Smackdown was a big success under his watch over the past few years with it being the top rated show on all of television on Friday nights unless there was a major sports event head-to-head, and had grown into the top rated entertainment show of the week on television many weeks of late.”

“It was generally considered WWE’s best weekly television show and was the highest rated, although a network show should outrate a cable show by a significant amount. The feeling was he just wanted to write the show and not be a guy working to get along with everyone.”

“Swikata has been around for a while, but his name wasn’t known outside those on the creative team because he was never someone who made a lot of noise. He was said to be well respected by the top talent and other writers, and survived a lot of Vince McMahon’s tirades without becoming jaded and bitter. He doesn’t rock the boat.”

“His first show was one of the best Smackdown shows of the year. Most of the key stuff had been decided upon before the change was made. All the Bloodline stuff is mapped out for months, if not ideas may be there for years to come. However the idea of teasing Punk and Heyman and the storyline that Reigns told Heyman to stay away from Punk and Heyman talking about their past relationship was something new added to the story.”

WWE SmackDown Heads To Madison Square Garden In New York City

Up next for the SmackDown brand is the June 28th episode taking place from the “World’s Most Famous Arena” Madison Square Garden in New York City. It’s taking place just eight days before the Money in the Bank PLE in Toronto.

Here’s what WWE is advertising for SmackDown from MSG:

  • Bloodline Acknowledgment Ceremony set for Madison Square Garden
  • Jade Cargill vs. Candice LeRae vs. Tiffany Stratton – Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
  • Naomi, Blair Davenport and Indi Hartwell collide in Money in the Bank Qualifier
  • LA Knight vs. Logan Paul vs. Santos Escobar – Money in the Bank Qualifying Match

As always, TJRWrestling will have a full review of Smackdown later this evening.