For many people connected to the WWE in recent years, the “B” in JBL might as well stand for “bully.” And with former ring announcer Justin Roberts having recently suggested that JBL bullied him, and SmackDown Live colleague Mauro Ranallo’s absence from WWE programming linked to previous remarks made by the announcer, the controversial Texan has taken to Twitter to comment on these accusations.
Earlier this week, the Inquisitr wrote about Justin Roberts’ Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session, where he promoted his new book Best Seat in the House: Your Backstage Pass through My WWE Journey and answered various fan questions. In this session, Roberts alleged that former WWE World Heavyweight Champion turned announcer John Bradshaw Layfield bullied him, as he and other veteran wrestlers, including Orlando Jordan and Bob Holly, allegedly “terrorized” and “made life hell” for Roberts and other WWE personnel.
Roberts also answered a question from a Redditor who asked about how ribbing, or playing practical jokes backstage, could potentially be related to a bullying culture in the locker room. According to the ex-ring announcer, high-ranking WWE officials such as Chairman Vince McMahon and executive vice presidents Kevin Dunn and Paul “Triple H” Levesque tend to turn a blind eye to such cruel pranks that may be interpreted as bullying.
“It’s the mentality there. The higher-ups don’t see it as bullying, they laugh it off and encourage it because they just find it funny.”
Meanwhile, SmackDown Live announcer Mauro Ranallo has been another non-wrestler alleged to be a victim of JBL’s “bullying.” Ranallo has missed the past few SmackDown episodes and WrestleMania 33 due to what has been reported as a flare-up of his bipolar disorder, and as Bleeding Cool News wrote, it may be related to “mean-spirited comments” JBL made last month about Mauro’s decision to take to social media and celebrate his “best commentator” award from Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
“JBL, who prides himself on being ‘old school’ about the business, was unhappy that Ranallo acknowledged the award because of an unwritten wrestling rule that says wrestlers who aren’t John Cena aren’t supposed to mention awards not given by WWE itself,” wrote Bleeding Cool News.
As for JBL’s side in the “bullying” matter, he finally broke his silence last night, tweeting podcast host Joe Cronin, who had asked him about the above allegations. As documented by WrestlingNews.co, JBL replied that he wasn’t bullying Mauro Ranallo but rather acting in character as SmackDown Live‘s heel announcer.
“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.”
In the above report, Bleeding Cool News noted that John Bradshaw Layfield and Mauro Ranallo have long been feuding on-air, with the former taking offense to the latter’s frequent use of pop culture references and active, enthusiastic nature on social media. This, however, has largely been assumed as a “work” – a storyline element where the bad guy announcer is critical of the good guy announcer.
— Frank the Tank (@TribeFan1988) March 28, 2017
Regarding Justin Roberts’ separate accusations of bullying, JBL tweeted that he’s not the type to comment on “internet rumors” but nonetheless denied pranking Justin by taking his passport, as was suggested on this week’s Reddit AMA. (A new correction on the AMA states that Roberts wasn’t directly accusing JBL of having done so.) He also suggested that Roberts wasn’t exactly the most popular guy in the locker room, though did not elaborate on what supposedly made him so unlikable.
“I won’t answer Net rumors-but I didn’t take Justin Roberts passport. Could have been anyone/he was hated by the whole crew. He’s an idiot.”
This latter tweet generated a slew of replies from Twitter users, most of whom called JBL out for being a bully and refused to believe that Justin Roberts was, as he claimed, an unlikable “idiot” backstage.
“And yet we’ve never heard of anyone else having problems with (Roberts) yet there are tons of people who say that you’re a bully,” wrote one of these users in response to JBL.
Just finished @JustinRoberts' book. Jericho sounds like the nicest human being on the planet. JBL once again needs to be investigated.
— PWM – WWE COVERAGE (@ProWrestlingMag) April 7, 2017
What's even more telling is that stealing the passport is the ONLY thing JBL denies.
— Better Harrison (@TMillionaireIV) April 7, 2017
According to WrestlingNews.co, “many stories” have been told about JBL being a bully to wrestlers and non-wrestlers alike. And while he has denied these new allegations from Justin Roberts and Mauro Ranallo, the publication said that there’s a possibility the latter’s real-life issues with John Bradshaw Layfield may have driven him away from WWE; Ranallo remains on the company’s roster, but WrestlingNews.co noted that Mauro had recently removed all references to WWE from his Twitter page.
[Featured Image by WWE]