Josh Barnett took part in a media conference call earlier this week to promote Saturday's New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 specials from Long Beach, California. Barnett will call the shows alongside Jim Ross, which will air on AXS TV. WrestlingINC.com owner Raj Giri was on the call and asked Barnett about Mauro Ranallo going back to WWE.
"Well if he's going back, he must feel that it is worthwhile to do so," said Barnett. "And I don't know all of the details of everything that was going on with him in WWE. But if people were bullying him or messing with him or what have you, I'm mean that's just bulls--t. And it's completely unnecessary. I know that can happen but it doesn't make it right."
Prior to coming to WWE, Ranallo worked alongside Barnett to become the voice of New Japan Pro Wrestling in the United States. Ranallo disappeared from WWE television in March of this year and it was later reported he was dealing with depression. His condition was reportedly exacerbated by bullying issues with fellow SmackDown commentator John "Bradshaw" Layfield. Barnett believes commentators and wrestlers should be on the same page for the good of the company.
"And at the end of the day, your commentators, your wrestlers, the entirety of the company is all working towards the same goal of making the best product possible," Barnett explained. "So if you're antagonizing, you know, one of those sections, how are you making that any better in terms of creating a great product?"
"So, I'm definitely not on board for that," Ranallo said. "But if he thinks that being at the WWE is what's best for him and he sees the chance to continue to supply his trade there, then I have to trust his judgment. And so I'm glad whatever needed was worked out."
As noted here on WrestlingINC.com, Ranallo and WWE mutually agreed to end his contract with the company earlier this year. He negotiated a new deal to return to WWE to provide play-by-play for NXT in a new multi-year contract.
In addition to his WWE responsibilities, Ranallo is a play-by-play announcer with Bellator MMA and a broadcaster for Showtime Boxing. He'll call the upcoming Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor fight in August.
On Saturday, night one of New Japan Pro Wrestling's G1 Special will air live on AXS TV. Make sure to join us for coverage right here at WrestlingINC.com.