Yo Taeil. Post that screenshot about the JBL shit. Danke
If you can’t read it, here:
Mauro Ranallo missed his third straight week of WWE broadcasts due to battling depression. Ranallo, 47, had disappeared from public view and only been in touch with his closest friends like Bas Rutten and Frank Shamrock. “I’m deeply touched by your tweets of support,” Ranallo wrote on Twitter to fans who had written in support of him in his only contact since missing the 3/14 Smackdown tapings in Pittsburgh. “My doctor wants me to stay off social media for now, but I wanted to thank you.”
The story of what caused this is, and it could be a lot of things, or perhaps very minor things, is Ranallo has battled bipolar disorders since his teenage years and spoken openly on the subject. The timing of this came after a very strange public set of circumstances involving broadcast partner John Layfield, which most figured was just part of the show since the two play characters at odds with each other on Smackdown. Evidently, at some point this got too real, which is unfortunate for WWE right now. Apparently, Layfield wasn’t even aware of it until a few days after Pittsburgh, because he went after Ranallo on social media for missing Pittsburgh (where the public reason given was weather problems in transportation) and saying how every other person in the company made it to the show. He then took the tweet down and hasn’t said a thing about Ranallo since, although WWE has continued to air the WWE network episode of “Bring it to the Table” that first aired on 3/13 that apparently played a part in all this.
Ranallo hasn’t talked, and those close to him have only said that he’s getting stronger and recovering. However, Rutten, who has talked with Ranallo almost every day, has made hints and outright told people about his feelings for Layfield. In a tweet he said, “JBL? Ha ha, would love to meet him.” At another point when people thought he was knocking someone on twitter who said something on the subject, said, “I’m flaming those Ahole (s), JBL, whatever is his name.” He also wrote, “Please attack me for that comment, JBL, please.” “I mean, he was a pro wrestler, but please, you always take care of your broadcast partner. Always.”
Those close to the situation said things had been building. On the air, JBL had always made fun of Ranallo being so active on Twitter and re-tweeting to many comments, and JBL talked about how he blocked Ranallo. While it appeared in fun on television, JBL evidently got mad especially when Ranallo tweeted the results of the Wrestling Observer Announcer of the Year awards, where Ranallo won, and later wrote, “Honored to Have won the award two years in a row.” Within wrestling, the general rule on any awards unless they are given by your promotion and you are promoting those awards, is that you don’t acknowledge them. But Layfield was legitimately very upset, and must have said something in response. Ranallo sent out a tweet on 3/13 saying, “Jealousy is one hell of a drug.” There was no saying it was aimed at Layfield, or even a hint, but it was clear people took it as a response to that.
A few hours later, the episode aired, which was likely taped before that tweet. A lot of viewers were mad, although when watching, I just figured it was all in character. Layfield getting mad about he results of the Observer poll was funny, but he also skewered Ranallo’s announcing and pop culture references. If it was part of the character, it would be one thing, but obviously, it wasn’t the case and evidently played a key part in triggering things. Even if it was “in-character,” it was mean spirited and the key is that those are the type of things, as far as being that vicious about announcing style, that you don’t do with your broadcast partner unless you are involved in an angle with him. If anything, with Ranallo’s background and being hardly a secret, such a move was terribly ill-advised
Ranallo has made no secrets in the past about his episodes and once missed an Invicta show, but in the past, these were short-term things. I don’t know that this was the most serious issue, but it was the longest down time he’s had since he started working regularly on U.S. television for Showtime covering MMA and then boxing. Ranallo got his start in pro wrestling for Al Tomko’s promotion in British Columbia as a fast-talking heel manager and later started as an announcer, and then transitioned into other sports, but wrestling was his first venture and he was a fan of the genre since childhood. Even though he announced the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight, perhaps the biggest non-team sports events in the world of this generation, he legitimately described the WWE gig when he first got it as his ultimate dream job.
The WWE has said nothing publicly about this, and really the company is in a no-win situation. On 3/21, they stated Ranallo missed the show because he was sick, and on 3/28, there were no references made at all. It’s a complicated issue. It would look terrible publicly if Ranallo wasn’t used again, particularly with the WWE Alliance with Be a Star and the backstage bully environment and dominance games of the past that corporate partners have known about, but looked the other way at. The feeling is WWE is a powerful company and the alliances are valuable because of the celebrity status its biggest stars now have, and how kids look up to them. But at times, notably during the period Vickie Guerrero’s weight and appearance was used regularly by performers and announcers to make fun of, there were people in those places holding their nose, or their mouths. WWE on television has become far more careful since then.
Within the industry, the feeling is that publicly acknowledging the Observer award on Twitter was a political mistake, because of the unique nature of the wrestling business. Such a thing would be perfectly acceptable in any other industry. Layfield’s going after his partner on that show in the manner he did was horribly unprofessional. And that’s the problem WWE faces, because in theory, unless changes are made, the two would be working together again as soon as possible. I’d like to go with the idea that Layfield clearly had no idea the result of what he did and would never do it again. But it was bad judgment to tape the segment, worse to air it, and far worse to continue to air it