In recent weeks, WWE fans may have noticed that one of the talents on the SmackDown Live show was missing. After several weeks of absences and not appearing as part of WrestleMania 33 pay-per-view, it raised more concerns with the WWE Universe. Now, it appears that rumors are suggesting one of the company's top talents over the past year or so could be on the way out from not only SmackDown Live but the WWE company as a whole.
According to Heavy in their report on Friday, the star who has been missing quite a bit lately is Mauro Ranallo, and there's now speculation he's leaving WWE. Fans who are familiar with WWE SmackDown Live realize that Ranallo provided good commentary on matches on the show as well as on various pay-per-view events. In past weeks, Ranallo was away from the commentary team, leaving it as just JBL and David Otunga or Tom Phillips to fill in for his spot.
The speculation that Ranallo may be done with the company comes on Friday as fans and Twitter followers noticed he had deleted any references to WWE on his Twitter profile. Ranallo had also tweeted about why he was missing from the commentary team or WWE programming lately, but those have since been deleted. Heavy noted that Ranallo also updated his bio on his profile to read "SHOWTIME Boxing/@rutten_ranallo/ COMBAT SPORTS CAROUSEL/ Mental Health Advocate." Basically, he removed the reference to him being a WWE commentator.
The commentator first missed a SmackDown show on March 14 with the on-air commentators saying it was "weather-related." On March 21, he missed the show again, with "sickness" the reason given for his absence. However, it came out that Maura suffers from depression and being bipolar, so that had been weighing upon him lately. It was reported late last month that Ranallo was "doing okay" and could "be back very soon" by WhatCulture.
The Luke Thomas Show on SiriusXM Rush 93 talked to Ranallo's former broadcast partner, podcast co-host, and friend, Bas Rutten. During that interview just over a week ago, Rutten provided more insight on how Ranallo was doing.
"As everybody knows – he's very vocal about it – Mauro is bipolar. Sometimes, a couple of times a year, things are going too fast and he needs to just simply slow down. But he's doing good. I talked to him, he's sending me funny video clips, he just sent me something – I didn't take a look at it… but a happy thing – it's all in good spirits. I think he will be back to normal very soon."
Ranallo, age 47, is still considered signed with WWE as of this report, so right now these are merely rumors about his departure. The Canadian sports announcer and commentator signed with WWE in December of 2015 and debuted just last January as the lead commentator for SmackDown Live. He was named Best Television Announcer in 2015 and 2016 by Wrestling Observer Newsletter for his work calling the various matches on the shows SmackDown Live, 205 Live, and at various WWE pay-per-views over the past year or so.
There had been some rumors that Ranallo may have been subject to bullying by fellow SmackDown Live commentator John Bradshaw Layfield (aka "JBL"). The notion of JBL being a backstage bully was brought to light by a new book released by former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts. However, JBL dismissed Roberts' claims on Twitter, suggesting that Roberts just wasn't like and is "an idiot."
While Ranallo hasn't been officially released by WWE or announced as released as of this report, some recent messages may show he's heading to a different employer. On Friday afternoon, Ranallo also posted several tweets that seem to indicate he'll be returning to work in broadcasting again.There are probably a lot of fans who are missing Ranallo's unique commentary style right now. He showed a quick ability to call the matches and had unique ways to describe big moves that wrestlers pulled off. If the latest rumors are true of Mauro Ranallo leaving the WWE, his commentary is going to be highly missed. However, it's most important that Ranallo is able to take care of his mental health based on his recent situation and can work in a profession that he loves. One can only hope that the WWE is also assisting him with any help he might need if he has chosen to leave.
[Featured Image by WWE]