Newsweek is reporting that Mauro Ranallo, announcer for WWE Smackdown Live as well as boxing and MMA organizations, has left the company. Last seen on WWE television on March 7th, speculation has run high as to the reason why Mauro had been off the air. Some speculated it was due to his bi-polar disorder, which Mauro has been open about. Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, one of the preeminent wrestling news organizations in the country, has been adamant since the story broke that the reason for Mauro leaving was due to bullying from JBL. Citing the March 13 episode of Bring It To The Table, starring Peter Rosenberg, he cites that JBL's verbal jabs at Mauro for winning the Best Announcer Award from the Wrestling Observer were cause for Mauro to leave. Mauro had this to say to Newsweek about his departure.
WWE and I have mutually agreed to part ways. It has nothing to do with JBL.
Full disclosure. Before I comment on this issue, I have to state that at one time, I briefly worked for JBL. From 2013 to 2014, John Layfield had a website called The Layfield Report for which I was a contributor. I had some brief interactions with him which were quite cordial and polite. He gave me my first break as a freelance writer and for that, I will be eternally grateful.
With that said, if JBL had committed a despicable act that caused one of the greatest announcers working today to leave the WWE, I would be the first to call him out on it. Yet where is the evidence showing JBL as the culprit for Mauro leaving the company? The internet wrestling community has dug up various Youtube videos and interviews with former WWE wrestlers talking about some of JBL's backstage antics. Justin Roberts, former WWE announcer, has also spoken of actions that JBL apparently committed against him, which Layfield has gone on record as denying. They also speak of his comments on Bring It To The Table which, if they had actually watched the show, folks would see were rather innocuous.
JBL has spoken of what wrestlers call "ribs", backstage practical jokes that used to be prominent in the industry. The purpose of the ribs were two fold. One, back in the day, wrestlers were on the road for 300 plus days a year. They had to find ways to entertain themselves. Stars like Owen Hart and Mr. Fuji were notorious for their backstage ribs. Two, they had to make sure that new people in the industry were there because they loved it. Granted, that was due to the not so secret fact that wrestling results were predetermined. The industry had to make sure that people involved in the business were there for the right reasons.
While bullying of any sort should not be tolerated, to comment on a situation where you don't have all the facts is just foolish. Vince McMahon is a businessman. In any business, if an employee ends up as more of a liability than an asset, that employee will be fired. In this online world we live in, to think that a publicly traded company wouldn't go out of their way to protect their bottom line by dismissing an employee that has the hint of scandal on them is silly. We don't know why Mauro Ranallo left the company. Unless he speaks publicly on the issue, we have to take this situation at face value. Mauro, for an unknown reason, was unhappy working for the WWE and decided to leave. End of story.
So what do you think? Do you think Mauro Ranallo was forced out of the WWE? Do you think this story has been over blown? Sound off in the comments section below.
Don't forget to share this post on your Facebook wall and with your Twitter followers! Just hit the buttons on the top of this page.