Backstage Details On WWE Creative Departure, New Head Writer For SmackDown

Earlier this week, it was reported that "WWE SmackDown" had received a new head writer, with former head writer Ryan Callahan departing the company and John Swikata stepping into his place. Today's Wrestling Observer Newsletter has some additional details on the move, with Dave Meltzer reporting that Callahan was viewed as a good writer but not necessarily a good leader.


"He took heat for Jennifer Pepperman leaving," Meltzer wrote. "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."

Meltzer noted that "SmackDown" was hugely successful under Callahan's tenure, but Callahan was said to be more interested in writing as opposed to the other duties that come along with being head writer. As for Swikata, he is reportedly viewed positively by those on WWE's creative team, and was known for being able to withstand aggression from former CEO Vince McMahon without getting too upset.

Swikata's first episode as head writer of "SmackDown" was last week's, though the majority of the show was already solidified before he accepted the position. The allusions to the relationship between CM Punk and Paul Heyman, as well as Roman Reigns' orders for Heyman to stay away from Punk, were reportedly added after Swikata took over. However, it's not clear if the ideas came from Swikata himself or someone else on the WWE creative team.


Tonight's episode of "SmackDown," the first episode put together with Swikata as head writer, will emanate from the famous Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. The Bloodline will be on-hand for an "Acknowledgment Ceremony" following Jacob Fatu's debut last week, and the show will include more WWE Money in the Bank qualifying matches.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Wrestling Observer Newsletter with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.