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By Mike Johnson on 2022-07-08 23:59:00

For those who have asked about the creative direction of tonight's Smackdown episode on FOX, we are told it was "100%" Vince McMahon's vision and edicts that you saw on the broadcast.  So, if you are wondering who was responsible for what aired last night and for matches not taking place as advertised on the show, wonder no more.  It was the Vince McMahon show.

We are also told that McMahon, who arrived later than usual, did not address "or sell" the latest Wall Street Journal article about him, his NDAs, etc.   It was described, once again, as the elephant in the room that was being ignored.

Bruce Prichard was back tonight, having taken some time off the road after getting a shoulder surgery.

Stephanie McMahon and Paul Levesque were not present at tonight's taping.  We had some questions about whether they may be there tonight given all the mainstream attention to the latest WSJ piece.  They were not.

Jason Jordan, who oversees all the Producers, was not at tonight's taping.  We are told he missed the taping as he and his wife are expecting a new baby any time now.  Our congratulations to the entire family.  With Jordan not there, there was a lot more work spread out among the others Producers with Adam Pearce taking the point position for the team tonight. 

We are told that the company also recently instituted some budget cuts, so Curtis Axel and Ariya Daivari, who had been working as producers on a probationary basis, are no longer being brought in, which made everyone's night even harder from a production standpoint.  There had been a big push for more producers to be added right after Wrestlemania due to the insane workload and the time the company expects of the producers.  That is what led to the probationary additions.  Now, with the cutbacks, they have been dropped (at least short term), so the Producers are back to being what was described to PWInsider tonight as "extremely overworked."

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