As noted earlier, ECW writer Dave Lagana was fired last week. He was with WWE since 2002 and at one point was the head writer of SmackDown. His firing had been brewing for nearly two years.
While Lagana was on vacation, Stephanie McMahon sent a one sentence terse e-mail to all the other writers saying that he had been fired. Stephanie’s e-mail was said to be very cold unlike most e-mails where they at least acknowledge the contributions of a person who is leaving the company. The basic story on Lagana’s firing is that Stephanie believed that he was responsible for leaking storyline plans and management information to wrestling newsletters and wrestling websites.
The story on what lead to Lagana being terminated from the company dates back to May 2006 during a creative team meeting. The way the creative team meetings work at buildings prior to television and pay-per-view is that everyone gets together in a room set up like a classroom. Vince McMahon, Stephanie, television producer Kevin Dunn and the lead writers sit together at tables in the front of the room and the low-level writers and road agents sit at desks. The creative team writers go over the show and they do a read-through of the script, and then Vince adds his input. The agents also give their advice on changes that could be made. Lagana often sits at one of the desks with his laptop, usually in the back of the room so nobody could see his screen. On this particular day,people could see his screen, and one person allegedly saw him sending an e-mail to one of the major wrestling websites. Nobody said anything during the meeting, but Stephanie was approached and told what this person. Stephanie immediately confronted Lagana and almost fired him on the spot, but he insisted he was innocent. Lagana managed to get off the hook.
The next week, Lagana was demoted from his head writer position on SmackDown to ECW. WWE tried to paint it as a positive move, but he didn’t think that was the case. He worked under Paul Heyman, who he’d known dating back to the old ECW. He was no longer the head writer and would basically just type up the scripts that Heyman recited to him. After Heyman was let go, it was expected that he’d be moved up to the ECW head writer position but they went with Dusty Rhodes instead. Some people inside WWE believe that his confidence started to erode during his time in ECW and things got really bad for him over the holidays.
Lagana also had a bad reputation from his time on Smackdown because a number of wrestlers believed that he talked down them. Also, a lot of people would privately make fun of his appearance as he is said to be a dead ringer for the guy who appeared on Blue Clues, not to mention that they would make fun of his voice as they say he sounds like Dr. Evil from Austin Powers.
There were a great number of storyline leaks from Lagana, including the story on plans for Mr. Kennedy to be named Vince’s illegitimate son and details on Chris Jericho’s viral campaign. During one meeting in October, Stephanie blew a gasket due to some storyline information being leaked on to the Internet and warned the agents & creative members that there were to be absolutely no leaks and if she discovered a person revealing private information to a newsletter or news site, he would be fired on the spot. Without saying so directly, Stephanie said she thought she had a pretty good idea on who was responsible for the storyline leaks. She looked directly at Lagana when saying it.
Later that afternoon, all the writers got laptop upgrades (everyone has a WWE-purchased laptop and Internet phone). Apparently, the laptops have shadowing software. The belief among some people in WWE is that Stephanie had been feeding him false info on very specific information to see if it would get out on to the Internet, and it eventually did. After she had finally caught him, he was fired.
There was also a thing a few weeks ago where Raw writer Brian Gewirtz went into Lagana’s office at Titan Towers and saw a bunch of wrestling newsletters sticking out of his laptop bag. Lagana tried to hide them, but obviously didn’t do it well enough. Lagana then claimed that he wasn’t actually reading them but they kept showing up at his house because his subscription hadn’t expired yet and he’d just happened to pick up all of his mail up from home. Over the next few days, Gewirtz made some snide remarks saying that he wasn’t surprised that news kept getting leaked on to the Internet. Michael Hayes, who hates wrestling newsletters and websites, also began to bury Lagana in a really demoralizing manner.