As noted, Mauro Ranallo’s WWE run is apparently over. Ranallo had taken over the lead announcing position on SmackDown in January of 2016.
Ranallo’s current absence from WWE is believed to be over tension with JBL after Ranallo tweeted out results of him winning the “Wrestling Observer Announcer of the Year” award for 2016. JBL, who didn’t place in the top 10 in the category and was actually voted “Worst Television Announcer” in 2015, was upset over the tweet and went on a public rant about Ranallo on Bring It To The Table in March. The Wrestling Observer had reported that tension had been building between both men up until that point. Ranallo missed the following SmackDown tapings on March 14th, and hasn’t appeared on WWE television since.
As noted, CBS Sports reported this weekend that sources told them that Ranallo is not expected back on WWE TV before his contract ends. WWE sent CBS Sports a statement, noting that “Ranallo remains under contract with the company until Aug. 12, 2017.”
More media outlets have been reporting on JBL’s history of bullying. WXPI in Pennsylvania has a story here about the bullying accusations. As noted, Deadspin has a piece about JBL asking John Morrison and his tag team partner at the time, Joey Mercury, to take ring announcer Justin Roberts’ passport during an overseas trip, which they didn’t do. Someone ended up stealing Roberts’ passport, which was never returned. Forbes has an article at this link about the bullying allegations resurfacing, noting that “WWE’s Be a STAR campaign is a staple of its community outreach as WWE Superstars lead anti-bullying rallies across the country.”
There have been many stories in the past over JBL’s behavior. Joey Styles reportedly punched JBL out during an overseas trip in 2008 after dealing with JBL’s bullying. Former ECW and WWE star The Blue Meanie recently stated that JBL punched him during ECW One Night Stand because Meanie had spoken out about JBL’s behavior, although Meanie said that the two are fine with each other now. There are also the past comments in the video above at the 5:30 mark of JBL discussing hazing in the locker room and being proud of hazing The Miz in the past.
In Justin Roberts’ new book, Best Seat in the House: Your Backstage Pass through My WWE Journey, which is available at Amazon.com for $19.52, Roberts discussed being bullied by JBL during his time with WWE, including alleging that he would be scared to work SmackDown tours because he would be bullied by JBL and his friends the whole time. He claimed that JBL once asked the mother of a high school kid if “she had any children who weren’t mentally disabled” after the child had dropped his index cards with notes while interviewing him.
Roberts posted the Instagram post below about writing the book, noting that he wrote the book to tell his story about “being a kid who loved and lived for pro-wrestling.” He stated that the purpose was not to get anyone fired, noting that “sometimes firing someone is just to bandaid a problem and not address the root cause.” He added that he hopes that his story “will help make the wrestling world a better place for everyone who is still involved as there are a lot of great people who fall into that category and should be treated well.”