It’s been one of the most saddening stories out of Stamford the past year, as WWE’s lead announcer for Smackdown Live, Mauro Ranallo, has been noticeably absent from WWE television, including his role on Smackdown Live, 205 Live and most recently, WrestleMania 33 weekend.
It was confirmed by sources close to Ranallo (and vaguely from Ranallo himself), that his absence was due to his own battles with mental illness. Ranallo, a strong advocate for mental illness awareness, is a sufferer himself, diagnosed as bipolar since his teenage years.
Today CBS Sports reported that it appears that Mauro Ranallo is indeed now finished with WWE, after just over a year with the company:
A source close to the situation told CBS Sports that Ranallo, 47, is not expected to appear on camera for the remainder of his WWE contract, which he signed on Dec. 15, 2015.
WWE would not confirm this but did tell CBS Sports in a statement that Ranallo remains under contract with the company until Aug. 12, 2017.
In most instances, these kinds of reports are easily dismissed as hearsay or rumour, but CBS Sports has strong ties to the WWE and often get breaking news from the WWE, such as official WWE Hall of Fame announcements. One would assume that their contacts within the organization are stronger than most of the dirtsheets.
"Three things cannot be hidden: The sun,the moon,and the truth." -Buddha.
It ends a rather unfortunate end to what was a glorious and invigorating saga involving Mauro Ranallo’s involvement with the WWE. A respected and loved broadcaster with his prior experience with NJPW and various MMA promotions, Ranallo was seen as a saviour of sorts, bringing back the passion of such elder broadcasters as Jim Ross to a product that was becoming stale due to lackadaisical broadcasting.
While the exact cause of his recent bouts of depression have not been confirmed, many sources have indicated that the backstage and on-air bullying from broadcasting partner John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield (JBL) were a strong indicator, something that JBL himself has denied on several occasions.
@JoeCroninJCS No Joe, and I won't-I shouldn't commenting on Internet stuff. I play a heel. I sincerely wish Mauro nothing but the absolute best.
But the recent allegations from former WWE announcer Justin Roberts in his new tell-all book seem to add weight to JBL’s reputation backstage as a bully of sorts (not to mention the countless stories of former WWE wrestlers) that JBL’s sense of what’s fair in ribs may exceed what the general population would deem fair, “tradition” or not.
Ranallo’s departure may also be the impetus in WWE bringing back Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross to the company in a broadcast position as a way to deflect some of the dismay from viewers, but it doesn’t change the fact that the man many see as the cause of so many problems – not just from the Ranallo incident – seems to continue to his ride with the WWE despite causing so much distress and discomfort with past and present talent.
In a recent return to Twitter, Ranallo announced he was returning to Showtime Boxing in the near future.
On behalf of everyone at Last Word on Pro Wrestling – and being a fellow bi-polar sufferer myself – we’d like to wish Mauro Ranallo a speedy recovery and wish him all the success he deserves, no matter where he ends up full time.