Brian James, who is better known to WWE fans as the Road Dogg and was inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame this past Saturday with Degeneration X, has apparently stepped down from his position as one of the two leader writers on Smackdown, according to PWInsider’s Mike Johnson.
James was helping to run the Smackdown brand (under Vince McMahon along with Stephen Guerrieri, who stayed in Stamford, CT while James was a writer on the road. Guerrieri has been part of WWE’s creative since 2012 and a lead writer since 2014.
The reason Road Dogg stepped down as a Smackdown lead writer is because of his increasing frustration with changes made to Smackdown scripting by Vince McMahon. Johnson’s report notes that Road Dogg hit a “breaking point” this past Tuesday at Smackdown in Brooklyn and apparently that’s when he resigned from his position.
The report continued saying that it’s not known who will replace James in his role. Everything is pitched to Vince McMahon, who either approves or denies things as he sees fit.
As for James’ future role in the company, it’s not known if he is going to continue working on creative or have some other role in WWE. James did not resign from WWE as far as we know. He just resigned from his Smackdown lead writer job.
James has not tweeted about it today.
TJR Thoughts: It’s not an easy job being a part of WWE’s creative team. I don’t think any of us realize what it is like, so it’s hard to sit here and say he should have done this or that. If Brian James felt like his ideas weren’t being listened to and changes were being made that he disliked, then moving on is probably the best thing for him. Perhaps he will move on to a different job in the company like as a Producer that helps with matches and promos. Perhaps there’s an opportunity with NXT or even the Performance Center if that’s what he chooses.
The tweet above is from Robert Evans, who was part of WWE’s creative team that quit on Saturday night after the WWE Hall of Fame story. There was a story about this originally stemming from X-Pac’s podcast where the new WWE Hall of Famer X-Pac (Sean Waltman) mentioned that a writer was fired because Bret Hart said Vince’s McMahon’s name during his speech. Vince apparently makes it very clear that you are not supposed to mention him during the Hall of Fame speeches, yet Bret did and R.D. Evans got heat for it.
Here’s what X-Pac said about it on his podcast:
“I think Bret mentioned Vince a bunch of times. Vince got really hot. I think somebody might have gotten fired. Then we went out and said it a million times and no one got fired. It’s not funny for the guy that f*cking lost his job. I’m not kidding. No, I’m not. Vince was pissed. I understand. That’s a thing for him. It’s his company and people go out there and they do that.”
There was a moment in Bret Hart’s Hall of Fame speech (along with Natalya as part of the Hart Foundation) where Bret mentioned Vince McMahon reacted to a Hart Foundation match and praised their work. According to PWInsider’s Mike Johnson, Evans was involved in producing that segment, he got a lot of heat for it and apparently, he was close to being fired. Johnson phrased it by saying that it was like a “you can’t fire me, I quit” situation, so Evans ended up quitting WWE right there.
Evans is 35 years old and used to wrestle for Ring of Honor, CHIKARA and other promotions using the ring names RD Evans and Archibald Peck. He joined WWE’s creative team in late 2016 and PWInsider reported that he was liked by people who worked with him WWE.
If you watched the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony that aired on Saturday (or read my review here), then you know that Degeneration X said Vince McMahon’s name repeatedly in a joking manner. Of course, none of them would get heat for it.
TJR Thoughts: Perhaps Evans was just tired of working for WWE and used this as an opportunity to get out of there. Maybe he wants to wrestle again. Maybe he has visions of working somewhere else like All Elite Wrestling. I don’t know that, but that’s obviously a realistic option for people in wrestling in 2019.
I find the whole “don’t say Vince McMahon” thing to be ridiculous. Vince is the one that booked these wrestlers in their careers, so if somebody wants to thank him for that then they should be allowed to do it. It’s similar to watching a pro sports Hall of Fame ceremony where you might hear a player thank the coach or the owner for giving them the chance to play their favorite sport for a living. I can understand Vince not wanting to be the focus of the speech, but to get heat on a Producer because a legend like Bret Hart said Vince’s name is ridiculous.
I hope Robert Evans bounces back on his feet somewhere and if he wanted to get out of WWE, I hope he makes the most of his next opportunity. Good luck to him.