This past Tuesday night on SmackDown, there was a lot more room at the announce desk.
Yes, both David Otunga and Maura Ranallo were conspicuously absent from the normally overstuffed commentary team that night.
It was announced that Otunga had gotten time off to go film a movie, but Mauro had simply been unable to get to Pittsburgh because of Winter Storm Stella, which dumped as much as 23 inches of snow in parts of Pennsylvania, though Pittsburgh ended up getting off easy with just 2 to 3 inches. Still air travel was dicey getting into Pittsburgh, and it appeared that Mauro new it was going to be tough sledding, so to speak.
And apparently, it did "stop that from happening."
Tom Phillips and JBL handled things perfectly fine on their own and SmackDown went off without a hitch, at least from the perspective of the commentary desk. None the worse for wear. No harm, no foul.
But some former WWE announcers were very disappointed in young Master Ranallo, going so far as to Tweet about it and in one case, talk about it on their prominent radio show. It's the principle of the thing, they say.
Josh Mathews--who has ruffled many a feather in recent weeks over at IMPACT Wrestling--tweeted this out.
And Mathews former broadcast partner Taz agreed, retweeting Mathews and adding:
Now it hasn't been confirmed where Mauro was traveling from to get to Pittsburgh, but he's from British Columbia, Canada, making the drive from Vancouver to PPG Paints Arena somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 hours and 2,600 miles.
That's no excuse, though, said Taz on his radio show:
"You can not miss a show. You can't. You can't miss a show. When you miss a show - in no order of preference - you get heat with the locker room, you get heat with your boss, you get heat with your broadcast colleagues. It's just not a regular job. You are there once a week, and you are making a lot of money with a massive, massive platform. You've got to be there. You've got to make the shot. No matter what happens. Mauro is from Canada, okay, so he's well-versed when it comes to weather and snow. People knew the storm was coming for days."
We haven't heard anything about any kind of impending WWE discipline for Ranallo, but if he has truly angered those in power, his replacement shouldn't be too hard to find. He's been sitting at the same desk as Mauro every Tuesday night for the past few months, and he just nailed the part in an understudy role on Tuesday night.