It has been assumed for several weeks that Mauro Ranallo was on the way out at WWE, with rumors circulating that the WWE was working on a buyout agreement to include a gag order, which would prevent him from ever speaking about what happened at the company.
The scuttlebutt is that Ranallo, who openly struggles with Bi-Polar disorder, was driven from his position on the commentary desk by the incessant bullying of his broadcast partner, JBL. Many reports of JBL's proclivities re-surfaced, and the WWE's "Culture of Bullying" was written about in many mainstream publications.
Today, Newsweek has a new report, with Ranallo making a statement via e-mail which reads: “WWE and I have mutually agreed to part ways. It has nothing to do with JBL.” WWE also confirmed Ranallo’s departure from the company, but said that he will remain under contract until August 12.
JBL also released a statement to Newsweek:
“Admittedly, I took part in locker room pranks that existed within the industry years ago. WWE addressed my behavior and I responded accordingly, yet my past is being brought up because of recent unfounded rumors. I apologize if anything I said playing ‘the bad guy’ on a TV show was misconstrued.”
A separate statement from a WWE spokesperson read as follows:
“As part of our commitment to creating an inclusive environment, in April 2011, WWE launched our anti-bullying campaign, Be a STAR, which encourages young people to treat each other with tolerance and respect. As a publicly traded company, that mantra carries forward in our corporate culture. As such, we fully investigate any allegations of inappropriate behavior including the recent alleged situation with John Layfield (aka JBL), despite no formal complaint having been submitted.”
Mauro Ranallo has not appeared on SmackDown since the March 7th episode.