Mauro Ranallo, the lead announcer on WWE’s Smackdown brand for over a year, commented on his WWE departure in an exclusive story released by Newsweek on Saturday. Ranallo commented via email:
“WWE and I have mutually agreed to part ways. It has nothing to do with JBL.”
A WWE spokesperson commented on the story by confirming Ranallo’s departure as well noting that Ranallo will remain under contract through August 12.
In the same Newsweek story, current WWE Smackdown announcer commented on the subject also:
“Admittedly, I took part in locker room pranks that existed within the industry years ago. WWE addressed my behavior and I responded accordingly, yet my past is being brought up because of recent unfounded rumors. I apologize if anything I said playing ‘the bad guy’ on a TV show was misconstrued.”
Here’s more from a WWE spokesperson also in that Newsweek article:
“As part of our commitment to creating an inclusive environment, in April 2011, WWE launched our anti-bullying campaign, Be a STAR, which encourages young people to treat each other with tolerance and respect. As a publicly traded company, that mantra carries forward in our corporate culture. As such, we fully investigate any allegations of inappropriate behavior including the recent alleged situation with John Layfield (aka JBL), despite no formal complaint having been submitted.”
As for Ranallo’s future, he did commentary for the Japanese Mixed Martial Arts promotion Rizin Fighting Federation on April 16. Ranallo has also said that he does plan to call pro wrestling matches again one day.
It was mentioned by Dave Meltzer of WrestlingObserver.com that part of Ranallo’s agreement “allows him to do anything except pro wrestling” until after August 12 when the contract runs out.
TJR Thoughts: It’s an unfortunate situation and I will miss Mauro. The guess here is that most fans aren’t going to believe that it had nothing to do with JBL, but that’s what Mauro said. I think a bigger issue is that Mauro actually called moves during matches without changing to the WWE style that guys like Michael Cole and Tom Phillips have been trained to do. I like Mauro’s style better, but it’s not what WWE wants. That’s probably the biggest reason why he is gone.
I will miss Mauro in WWE a lot. His work on Smackdown was great and partnering with Daniel Bryan in the Cruiserweight Classic last summer was even better. He will be missed.