Unfortunately, it looks like Mauro Ranallo will not be returning to WWE, as his contract is set to expire during the late summer of 2017. Absent from the company since weeks before WrestleMania 33, many wondered what the cause was since he was very quiet on Twitter, as well as WWE being tight-lipped on the reason why he was away. Based on reports, the reason ended up being that Ranallo was suffering from severe depression, which is something that has occurred before. However, this time was due to John Bradshaw Layfield’s decision to bash Ranallo for his pop culture references during SmackDown Live, as well as his Wrestling Observer Newsletter Announcer of the Year award. JBL finished in a pile of the worst announcers, which did not fare well with the retired former WWE Champion. JBL even mentioned Ranallo on the WWE Network special, Bring It to the Table, in a negative way.
“The man has a hundred and 80 something thousand tweets, and by the time this show airs, maybe 2 hundred something thousand. 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?”
He would go on to say that he retweets different celebrities and things that have nothing to do with wrestling. Moreover, he said that Ranallo should not be happy that he has a Twitter audience and won an internet poll of 12 people. JBL admitted that he is upset about the entire matter. This clearly affected Ranallo, as he has not been seen on WWE television since. NXT commentator Tom Phillips has assumed the role of play-by-play on SmackDown Live, as well as WrestleMania 33.
On April 22, Ranallo is scheduled to be at ringside during the Showtime boxing event. During a recent tweet, he also stated that he hopes to call MMA again soon, hinting more that his time with WWE may be over. With rumors of NJPW expanding to the United States next year, Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline was asked if Ranallo will be a part of the expansion since he will be gone from WWE.
“I expect that in 2018 but who knows,” Meltzer responded.
Before WWE, Ranallo became popular by commentating for boxing and MMA. He also popularized himself in the professional wrestling world by being an analyst for New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. Ranallo also explained in an interview with AXS that he started his commentating career in the pro wrestling business, while he also portrayed a heel manager, when he was 16-years-old. He added that he has been a pro wrestling fan for basically all his life.
While commentating for New Japan on AXS, Ranallo stated that one of the reasons why the company differs from any other wrestling company is due to the wrestlers still having the opportunity to tell stories in the ring, and there are not a lot of soap opera storylines. It is about the technical skill in NJPW, which is why it crosses over to other combat sports such as boxing, kickboxing, and MMA.
For Ranallo, his WWE on-screen career lasted a little over a year. However, during this time, he attributed to making the Cruiserweight Classic one of the most must-see shows on the WWE Network, along with making SmackDown Live, in the opinions of many, the better quality show since the WWE Draft last summer. Although Ranallo may be heading out of WWE, his zeal to be one of the best commentators in sports today will surely translate from his next endeavor. For pro wrestling fans, a return to New Japan sounds quite satisfying.
[Featured Image By WWE]