WWE Hall of Famer Brian James informed WWE yesterday that he was stepping down as the co-lead writer of the Smackdown brand, PWInsider.com has confirmed with multiple sources.
James had been heading up the brand with Stephen Guerrieri (aka Steve G.) with James going on the road while Guerrieri would remain working out of WWE Headquarters in Stamford, CT. Guerreri has been working in creative since 2012 and has held a lead writer position since 2014.
Sources cited James' increasing frustration with changes made to the Smackdown scripting by Vince McMahon with James finally hitting a "breaking point" at this past Tuesday's Smackdown taping in Brooklyn, NY.
On his Twitter account yesterday, James wrote, "Today I pray that I face the change, that is inevitably coming, head on and with faith and courage. The only constant is change! #HOPE #FAITH #OUDK"
There is no word who may be replacing James in the role, although several WWE sources stated that the way creative is currently driven, the lead writer is more of a formality today vs. a specific voice that drives the show as everything pitched comes through the team for that series to Vince McMahon, is then approved (or shot down) by McMahon, who then tweaks the series all the way to the actual taping - as late as during the taping.
There is no confirmation yet whether James will be transitioning to another position within WWE.
I thought the same re: Balor. I missed last week's live broadcast (but read results) and was so confused when I saw them walking down the hall together that I went back to the recap from last week to see if I missed anything.