In a wholly unexpected move, former SmackDown Live commentator, Mauro Ranallo, announced via Instagram yesterday that he would be returning to WWE as an announcer for the NXT brand. In his announcement, seen below, Ranallo stated that he and WWE had come to a mutually beneficial agreement to once again lend his voice to WWE programming.
Despite initial skepticism, Ranallo’s announcement was confirmed by Triple H on Twitter, shortly afterward:
An Uncomfortable “Exit”
Ranallo returns to WWE having previously agreeing to part ways with the company following mutually irrevocable differences. Having been missing from the broadcast booth for a two-week period in March, rumours began to swirl surrounding the circumstances of this absence. Ranallo’s friend, Bas Rutten, suggested on a SiriusXM radio show that the absence stemmed from “going too fast” and needing to take a step back to deal with ongoing bipolar disorder issues. Some dirt sheets alleged, however, that Mauro Ranallo had been sent into a spiral of depression due to bullying and ill-treatment from fellow announcer John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield (JBL). This led to a Twitter campaign, #FireJBL, demanding that WWE release Layfield for his involvement in Ranallo’s ill-health. In his brief exit statement, though, Ranallo stated categorically that his departure had “nothing to do with JBL.”
This was not the first time a WWE Announcer had left the broadcast booth abruptly with Mick Foley choosing to let his contract expire in 2008 so that he could leave the desk. In subsequent interviews, Foley cited poor treatment from WWE Chairman Vince McMahon as the cause, stating that whilst calling matches for SmackDown, McMahon would scream in his ear when unsatisfied with the job he was doing. Perhaps, Ranallo’s experience was similar.
Lending his Voice Elsewhere
Since agreeing to part ways with WWE in late April, Ranallo has been busy signing to announce for other combat sports, first signing with Bellator to call MMA alongside Mike Goldberg, then confirming that he would be part of the Showtime announce team that provides commentary of the Floyd Mayweather / Conor McGregor super fight in August. Expect WWE to try and capitalize on the publicity that comes from one of their announcers providing the soundtrack for, what many are calling, the biggest fight of the summer.
Until then, Ranallo will make a welcome addition to the NXT commentary table, likely replacing Tom Phillips as lead play-by-play announcer. Perhaps, Mauro Ranallo will ACTUALLY get his photograph in the next NXT book…
The new partnership begins at tonight’s NXT tapings at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida.
Are you glad to see Mauro Ranallo back in WWE? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below or on Twitter, @thejezshow.