Many fans were shocked three weeks ago when familiar faces were absent from the Smackdown commentary booth. Mauro Ranallo was supposedly held back by the weather, while David Otunga was out filming a movie. Two weeks later, many were shocked some more when Ranallo did not return to the desk. There had been reports that he was not absent due to the weather. While Tom Phillips, John Bradshaw Layfield, and David Otunga were more than capable of calling the action, many were left wondering where Mauro was.
Many initially speculated that he had left the company after receiving offers from UFC, and Ranallo was criticized by former WWE announcers Josh Matthews and Taz for missing Smackdown. However, it was soon revealed that Ranallo was suffering from a depressive episode, and that he was staying away for his own mental health. He was able to tweet saying that he was “deeply touched by tweets of support” but that he “needed to stay off social media.”
I'm deeply touched by your tweets of support. My doctor wants me to stay off social media for now but I wanted to thank you. ????
— Mauro Ranallo (@mauroranallo) March 24, 2017
Ranallo was able to tweet again, this time wishing “his WWE another amazing Wrestlemania.”
— Mauro Ranallo (@mauroranallo) March 29, 2017
The tweet seems to confirm that Ranallo will not be present at WrestleMania 33. If this is to be the case, then there is surely a good reason, most likely due to his mental health. It would be advisable for him to stay away from such a high-stress and high-energy environment, as it can cause him to be unhappy and lead to poor performance of his job. Even if fans miss Ranallo’s unique way of calling action, Ranallo’s health is more important, and it is vital that he recovers.
If Ranallo made it to WrestleMania 33, it would be his second ever Wrestlemania since joining the company in 2016. He commentated alongside Jerry “the King” Lawler and Byron Saxton at WrestleMania 32’s pre-show last year, and he would have been the main commentator for the Smackdown matches on the card. While last year Ranallo was able to call the action between Ryback and Kalisto for the United States Championship, if he was present this year, he could have been the main announcer for several high-profile matches such as Dean Ambrose vs Baron Corbin, Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt, and John Cena and Nikki Bella vs the Miz and Maryse.
If WWE insists on having each brand’s commentary team calling its own matches, more likely than not Tom Phillips will be calling any and all Smackdown action. However, if a single commentary team is preferred, then most likely Michael Cole will take the role as the lead announcer and play-by-play guy.
While Taz initially criticized Ranallo for being absent, Taz clarified later on when it was found out that Ranallo’s mental health was suffering. He said his criticisms were not personal attacks on Ranallo, and that he was just speaking from experience when he said, “you cannot miss a show.” He also suspected that WWE wanted to publicly shame Ranallo by having Phillips say he was out sick, or that they were covering up the fact that Ranallo was leaving the company. Right now both of those things are seeming far-fetched, as Ranallo is seemingly still on good terms with the company.
Hopefully, Ranallo can recover and reclaim his spot on the Smackdown announce table. He is sorely missed by many for his iconic and unique voice, as well as his genuine passion for WWE.
[Featured Image by WWE]