Last week’s Smackdown featured a noticeably decreased commentary team. Only Tom Phillips and John Bradshaw Layfield were there to call the action. Color commentator David Otunga was out filming a movie, and Mauro Ranallo was not present due to the stormy weather.
The most recent episode saw the return of Otunga to the announce desk, but Ranallo was still nowhere to be found. Tom Phillips mentioned briefly that Ranallo was “out sick,” but no further mention was made. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Ranallo is perhaps having a depressive episode.
Ranallo has spoken openly before about his struggles with both depression and bipolar disorder. It was earlier reported that Ranallo did not miss Smackdown due to the weather. At the time, both hosts of the Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez, did not speak too freely about the issue. Meltzer said that he could not talk about it and was not free to discuss it.
Apparently that changed over the week, as they wrote in the WrestlingObserver Newsletter that Ranallo had been suffering from depression since he was a teenager. He has written about it before, and even missed an Invicta event due to his illnesses. However, according to “two close friends,” Ranallo is “okay and resting up.”
If Ranallo is indeed suffering from an episode right now, it is good that he gets some rest. Once he is healthy and ready, many wish to see him return to the announce desk, as his unique way of calling action has earned him many fans since he debuted for WWE in January 2016. However, many feel that he should stay away from a high stress environment such as Wrestlemania 33, as his depressed mood and potential apathy could make him unable to work or tolerate the demands of such a working environment.
When Ranallo missed Smackdown last week, former WWE commentators Josh Matthews and Taz both criticized Ranallo. Matthews claimed that he, Taz, and Michael Cole once drove for two days through harsh weather conditions to make it to a Smackdown taping. Taz then said that Ranallo “can not miss a show” and that he could “get heat.” Taz also said that Ranallo “was there once a week, and making lots of money with a massive platform.”
However, at the time these comments were made, it was still unclear yet if Ranallo was suffering from a depressive episode and that he simply missed the show due to the weather. His last tweet as of now claimed that he might not make it to Smackdown because “snow may stop that from happening.”
Many have praised WWE for the way they have handled the whole incident. They are respecting Ranallo’s privacy by not saying on air that he is suffering from a depressive episode, and instead covered for him. Luckily they had Tom Phillips to cover for him twice, and they are seemingly giving him plenty of time to rest, recover, and recuperate. Ranallo has become the voice of Smackdown, with his iconic and unique voice narrating what is going down in the show.
Ranallo is the self-nicknamed “Bipolar Rock and Roller,” and has written extensively about his struggles with his mental health. He has actively sought to help people understand the struggles of depressed and bipolar people. He has also fought against the stigmatization of people with mental health issues and people who suffer from various mental disorders. Ranallo hopes that people can overcome their struggles and that others can overcome the struggle of empathizing and understanding the struggles of these people.
[Featured Image by WWE]