Ranallo worked alongside JBL on the SmackDown commentary team from July 2016 to March 2017. In April 2017, Ranallo parted ways with WWE after reports emerged about his fellow announcer allegedly bullying him.
Speaking on The Hannibal TV, JBL recalled how the allegations began after publicly criticizing Ranallo on the WWE Network show, 'Bring it to the Table.' Although many people thought he genuinely disliked Ranallo, the WWE Hall of Famer clarified that he was talking in character.
“They [WWE producers] said, ‘Hey, there’s this internet poll that makes Mauro the number one announcer. Can you do something on that?’ I said, ‘Yeah, of course.’ So when we went on the show, I did a rant on the show about, ‘They’re calling Mauro the number one announcer? He’s retweeted it, blah, blah, blah.’ One hundred percent in character, and people talk about that poll that I was so jealous of that poll that I went on TV and talked about it. I didn’t know the poll existed until right before we went on the show. And that was me, I just assumed Mauro knew that that was something I had done in character,” JBL said.
After mutually agreeing to part ways with WWE, Mauro Ranallo clarified in a statement to Newsweek that his departure had "nothing to do with JBL." He later returned to WWE as NXT's lead commentator between June 2017 and August 2020.
JBL regrets the Mauro Ranallo situation
The hashtag #FireJBL trended on Twitter after reports circulated about Mauro Ranallo allegedly leaving WWE due to JBL's comments. Chants of "Fire Bradshaw" could also be heard during SmackDown tapings.
JBL, who left his SmackDown commentary role in August 2017, regrets how his working relationship with Ranallo ended.
“A few weeks later, everything fell out and I became the bad guy with everything. I saw he was standing for a car and he was on his phone. I think it was New Orleans. Anyway, I walked across the parking lot. He was on his phone so I couldn’t talk to him, but I shook his hand, just went across, shook his hand, and he said, ‘How you doing, man?’ I said, ‘It’s good, brother,’ and left, just to let him know that there was no ill intent, at least of me toward him. I regret the whole situation,” JBL said.
JBL added that he wishes Mauro Ranallo knew from the beginning that he was only joking around as a heel character on television.
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