A few days ago, former WWE writer Court Bauer caused quite a stir online with his claims that senior road agent Michael Hayes had been suspended by WWE management for being spotted drinking in a bar with Rosa Mendes, a Diva who was taken off the road earlier this year for rumored substance abuse problems.
This prompted WWE to quickly issue an official statement on the issue claiming that Hayes was "taking a leave of absence for personal reasons".
A third version of the story has since been provided by Dave Meltzer in his latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which is that Hayes was prohibited from drinking, especially in public, while traveling on WWE business, after he got drunk at the official WrestleMania 24 after party and used a racial slur to Mark Henry's face:
"[Michael] Seitz, 54, had been in trouble years ago for using the N word in a conversation with Mark Henry that he was very lucky not to have been fired for. He kept his job in creative, but lost his Vice President title, which cost him a lot of money over the years. Among the stipulations for him to keep his job was to stay out of bars ... and he wasn’t supposed to drink, at least while on the road."
It seems unlikely that this was a momentary lapse of judgement by Hayes, but the fact that he was publicly drinking with someone who had to take a leave of absence of her own for partying too hard on the road would have enabled his enemies to freely bury him to Vince McMahon whilst giving them the moral high ground.
The main beneficiary of Hayes's departure is Triple H's friend Brian James, aka Road Dogg, who has taken over his job of booking the company's house shows for the time being, whilst also having recently been added to the WWE creative team. He's been a popular presence with the wrestlers, given he understands things from their perspective much better than the Hollywood writers that make up the majority of the team.
In the long run, it looks like veterans such as Michael Hayes and Kevin Dunn will be phased out, whilst Hunter's new men will be promoted, as Vince McMahon slowly gives his son-in-law more control over the company and decision making power. That transition will be quicker if Hayes slips up again.