It’s not often that someone who is so visible in WWE leaves the company without any word from either side as to why, but that seems to be the case with Mauro Ranallo at the moment.
Ranallo—who has been largely absent lately on social media—took to Twitter to announce he will be ringside for an upcoming Showtime boxing event and that he hopes to get back into the world of MMA.
Considering Ranallo hasn’t mentioned anything about WWE in some time on his Twitter feed, and that his name hasn’t been discussed on SmackDown in weeks, it seems increasingly likely that he will not be returning. The promotion usually doesn’t let their talent appear on TV for something that could be considered any form of competition, which heavily suggests he’s no longer employed there.
However, it’s also interesting that Ranallo is able to appear at the Showtime event at all. WWE has their performers sign non-compete clauses when they are released, which usually last about 90 days. While the talent can work non-televised indy events, they don’t often get to appear on TV, especially in something so high profile.
Another big reason to believe Ranallo truly has left WWE, is that he has deleted any mention of the company in his Twitter bio.
“SHOWTIME Boxing/@rutten_ranallo/COMBAT SPORTS CAROUSEL/Mental Health Advocate.”
Ranallo has been very open about his mental health issues in the past, which is thought to have played a big part in his recent disappearance from WWE. After missing the March 14 episode of SmackDown, he blamed the weather. JBL took to twitter to seemingly mock his broadcast partner for not making the show in a since deleted Tweet.
“I made the show, everyone made the show, everyone. Maybe he shouldn’t have bashed me if he wasn’t going to show up.”
The following week, Ranallo once again did not appear on the show and Tom Phillips briefly mentioned he was sick. The week after that there was no explanation given. It seems the feud between Ranallo and JBL has been very public in a sense, but there has also been no official acknowledgement by either man that there is/was legitimate heat between them. In fact, for JBL’s part, he wished him nothing but the best.
For many fans, this entire story is a shame. Ranallo has a knowledge and passion of professional wrestling that is nearly unmatched in the business. His work has been so widely acclaimed that he won the 2016 Announcer of the Year award from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
However, Ranallo’s victory actually seemed to be the beginning of the end for his run in the company. His broadcast partner JBL didn’t even make the top 10 (he even lost out to Daniel Bryan who only announced a handful of matches for the entire year). The former wrestler aired his grievances publicly on the WWE Network’s Bring it to the Table series, where he was very dismissive and critical about Ranallo’s win and the fact that he tweeted about it.
“The man has 180-something thousand tweets. By the time this show airs, maybe 200,000. That is a problem, okay? And he retweets some internet poll. We have what, two million people who watch SmackDown in the United States alone? And you have some internet poll with 12 people on it.”
It’s unsure whether Ranallo truly is gone from WWE, as no one has officially said so at this point, but it’s hard to imagine him taking over for Phillips and once again becoming the voice of SmackDown. If he’s ever interested in getting back into the chaotic world of wrestling announcing, Impact and Ring of Honor would certainly be options, or perhaps a return to AXS and covering New Japan Pro Wrestling could be in his future as well.
We’ll likely hear more about the situation in the coming days.
[Featured Image by WWE]