Shake up on WWE creative team.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reports that Ryan Ward is officially out as the lead writer of WWE SmackDown Live. The decision is being called a "personal leave." Vince McMahon has heavily edited the SmackDown scripts in recent weeks with multiple reports saying he has "torn up" the script hours before the show was set to air.
Ed Koskey is being moved over to SmackDown after previously serving as the head writer of WWE Raw. Koskey, who has been with WWE for over 18 years, will work under Eric Bischoff, the current executive director of the brand. Koskey is currently the Vice President of Creative Writing.
Jonathan Baeckstrom is now the lead writer of Raw and working under Paul Heyman, who is the executive director of the brand. Baeckstrom had been the lead writer for 205 Live since November 2016, though Meltzer notes that Heyman brought Baekstrom to Raw when he was named executive director.
Chad Barbash is now the lead writer for 205 Live.
The writing teams have been split with writers assigned to a specific brand ahead of SmackDown's move to Fox. As reported earlier today, WWE plans to hold a superstar draft for Raw and SmackDown in October.