A big update on Mauro Ranallo’s initial departure from WWE has surfaced.
If you recall, Ranallo signed a contract with WWE on December 15, 2015, and made his WWE debut as the lead/play-by-play commentator for the SmackDown broadcast team for its premiere on USA Network on January 7, 2016.
Ranallo was absent from WWE commentary beginning with the March 14, 2017, episode of SmackDown Live including missing WrestleMania 33. Ranallo reportedly missed the shows due to depression. He never appeared on the show again.
As the months went on, there was an alleged reason for the illness (supported by Ranallo's close friend Bas Rutten from mixed martial arts) being bullied by fellow commentator John "Bradshaw" Layfield. WWE and JBL shot down these rumors.
During this time, there were still open lines of communication between WWE and Ranallo, whose contract was set to end in August. On June 22, 2017, Ranallo announced that he would join NXT as their lead commentator after mutually coming to new terms on a new contract agreement with WWE. He wrote the following statement:
“THE NXT CHAPTER BEGINS!
WWE and I mutually agreed to end my responsibilities on SmackDown having nothing to do with rumors about disputes. As I remained under contract with WWE, we discussed a variety of options. Despite originally agreeing to part ways, there was always a desire to continue working together. We have come to terms on a new agreement that benefits both WWE and me, and I am thrilled to announce I will now be part of the NXT broadcasting team.”
In an update, thanks to Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Dave Meltzer, Ranallo's decision to leave WWE initially was not so much because of the bullying allegations from former colleague John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL). Instead, Ranallo's decision to leave was because of the culture being created by Vince McMahon backstage. JBL's on-air comments towards Ranallo did play a part in the decision, but it is believed that the comments were coming from someone else.
Meltzer also revealed that one of the terms in his WWE return was that he would work with and report to Michael Cole and Triple H directly instead of McMahon. People close to the situation feel that because everything was resolved, JBL made his own decision to leave SmackDown Live on a regular basis and it had nothing to do with the Ranallo situation.
What are your thoughts on Ranallo’s initial departure and his latest return? Have YOUR say in the comments section below and the fourth episode of GiveMeSport’s WWE podcast is here!
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