After missing a second consecutive episode of SmackDown Live, some fans are wondering whether Mauro Ranallo is either leaving WWE or on temporary leave. And it’s no surprise why — there was a lot of controversy surrounding his absence last week, and now, it would seem that this week’s absence was again due to some ambiguous circumstances.
Veteran Canadian sportscaster Mauro Ranallo joined the SmackDown Live announce team in January of 2016, rising to even greater prominence as the show’s lead announcer after last July’s brand split. His biography on the WWE website details some of his many accomplishments, including a stint as defunct mixed martial arts promotion Strikeforce’s lead announcer and some time as the U.S. commentator for New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he served alongside mixed martial artist/pro wrestler Josh Barnett.
Ranallo has become popular with fans since his arrival in WWE last year, and it isn’t just because of his colorful use of language, or his familiar line of “Mama Mia!” arguably rivaling Jim Ross’ “By God!” and other announcer catchphrases. PWPNation wrote last year that Mauro’s knowledge of the professional wrestling product helped him stand out from many of his WWE colleagues, despite being a relative newcomer to the company.
“Ranallo adds a level of legitimacy to the product. He uses the correct terminology, as opposed to his counterparts on Raw, and his background in MMA and boxing, have certainly primed him for longevity in this business.”
The past few weeks, however, have been challenging for Mauro Ranallo, and while hardly anyone was talking about him leaving WWE at that time, he had received a lot of flak from other announcers, including Impact Wrestling’s Josh Mathews and WWE/Impact alumnus Taz, for missing last week’s SmackDown Live due to a snowstorm.
As Cageside Seats recalled, it was eventually revealed by Dave Meltzer, through his Wrestling Observer Newsletter, that weather wasn’t the reason for his absence. Further thickening the plot were subsequent tweets from Ranallo’s SmackDown Live colleague John “Bradshaw” Layfield hinting a real-life feud between both men. Prior to his absence, Mauro Ranallo was voted as the top announcer in pro wrestling on a Wrestling Observer survey, while JBL took offense to Mauro’s decision to share a photo of the poll on Instagram, complaining about it on the WWE Network show Bring it to the Table.
The above tweet was Ranallo’s reaction to John “Bradshaw” Layfield’s comments on Bring it to the Table, and JBL would reply a few days later with the following tweet, where he also referred to Mauro’s absence on that week’s SmackDown Live.
“@mauroranallo I made the show, everyone made the show, everyone. Maybe he shouldn’t have bashed me if he wasn’t going to show up.”
Now, it would appear that talk of Mauro Ranallo leaving WWE is beginning to heat up in earnest. According to ComicBook.com, Mauro was absent for a second straight SmackDown Live show, with colleagues JBL and Tom Phillips offering the excuse that he was “out sick.” No further explanation was given, but ComicBook noted his uncharacteristic radio silence on social media as one reason that could point to his status in WWE being in jeopardy.
The publication also quoted Taz’s comments from a recent episode of his podcast, where he stressed the importance of an announcer making it to a wrestling show, regardless of the circumstances.
“You can not miss a show. You can’t. You can’t miss a show. When you miss a show – in no order of preference – you get heat with the locker room, you get heat with your boss, you get heat with your broadcast colleagues.”
While there are some who believe that Mauro Ranallo might not be long for WWE due to his two straight absences, the tweets above suggest that his absence might be related to his bipolar disorder. In 2015, this was confirmed by a report from Sherdog, where Mauro spoke openly about his condition and how he’s fought long and hard to live a normal life despite being bipolar.
“It’s very real, but it can be dealt with and I’m living proof people can lead functional lives and be bipolar.”
At the moment, it’s too early to say whether Mauro Ranallo is leaving WWE or if he simply needs time off. As he’s remained silent on Twitter for over a week now, he has yet to provide official comment on the real reason for his recent SmackDown Live absences.
[Featured Image by WWE]