NXT announcer Mauro Ranallo says, despite rumors, the reason for his departure from SmackDown LIVE in 2017 was due to a breakdown he suffered because of the tough travel schedule.
Ranallo was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani on Monday and when asked about his departure, said, “I was on the road every week. You add MMA and boxing and kickboxing to it. The road travel destroyed me. So, rumors and all this other stuff, what happened, honestly — and Ariel, you know how honest I’ve been in this thing — I had a breakdown in the Chicago O’Hare airport on my way to Pittsburgh to do SmackDown LIVE. And again, Frank Shamrock … God bless him … Bas Rutten, man. Guys who fought each other are my biggest supporters. But, I had to phone them and I said ‘I’m done. I cannot do this anymore. It’s going to kill me.’ And I thought I was done with the entire company.”
Ranallo added, “As much as there’s two sides to every story, the actual truth from me was my mental health wasn’t going to allow me to maintain that schedule much longer.”
At the time, it was heavily rumored that Ranallo left WWE due to alleged bullying from John “Bradshaw” Layfield — who Ranallo shared the announce table with — but he told Newsweek that wasn’t true last year while confirming his departure in April 2017.
According to Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor Dave Meltzer, who is friends with Ranallo, his primary issues were not with Layfield, but with the culture in place at the time headed by Vince McMahon. Layfield was part of the problem, but not the key part of it, as detailed in this article.