Three years ago, Mauro Ranallo stepped away from WWE commentary due to mental health struggles, but he returned a couple of months later. He became NXT’s top play-by-play man and held that role until August of this year when Ranallo departed WWE for good.
Ranallo was asked if being at this stage in his life made the decision to leave WWE easier when he joined John Pollock of POST Wrestling.
“I turned 50 last year. I’m not about numbers; I feel like I’m 25 and I act like I’m 15. I’m an old soul, young spirit, and I’m wiser now. It’s true what they say ? we always rebel against our parents and authority figures. But with age comes wisdom, growth, and hopefully, maturity. I’m the one who is at peace with my decision. Many, many people I care for weren’t. But I will say, my inner circle, they were waiting for it. They saw it and knew my energy was down,” revealed Ranallo.
He added that he never thought he would even make it to WWE and was content with calling NJPW matches. But he feels blessed to have that WWE experience, and he doesn’t see himself ever leaving his current position with Showtime.
“Nowhere is perfect. Nowhere. But I know what I can handle, and I have to have priorities and my own pecking order. Showtime, I will be loyal to until I take my last breath,” stated Ranallo.
He talked about how he missed a Showtime show due to being hospitalized but they still brought him back. That kind of loyalty, to him, is why he’s so loyal to them.
“How can I ever leave? People say ‘business is business.’ No, I’m loyal to Showtime and these people have helped me. And I was loyal to WWE, and I can’t stress that enough,” said Ranallo. “Triple H, Michael Cole and what he meant to my tenure there ? I don’t even know if these people like me anymore. I know I left them high and dry in many ways. I don’t know if they were happy with me being at home and maybe not being as much a part of the process as I used to be. But I gave it my all each and every week.”
Ranallo said he owed it to the NXT performers to be laser-focused and give it his all each and every week.
“The entire roster, they entertained me as much as I hope. I gave them the lyrics they needed to their songs. I won’t share names, but the amount of support I received from my peers in pro wrestling and WWE, I will never forget that,” said Ranallo.
About one year ago, Ranallo did something that’s uncommon for someone in his position as a public figure ? he left social media. Many people in the media always want to be front and center, and social media is a vehicle which allows them to do that. But Ranallo saw more harm than good with it, given his situation, and he discussed that.
“The greatest decision I have made for my mental health was leaving social media one year ago in November. It just opened up everything. It allowed for more self-care, and you know me, John. I had over a quarter-million tweets ? it was absolutely insane. ‘Oh, I’ve got to do this and do that. Oh, I’ve got to share this.’ No, F that. It’s not necessary,” stated Ranallo.
“I don’t have to talk about social media. Those who use it properly and make money, good for you. It was not for me; it really wasn’t.”
He added that he’s not worried about his brand taking a hit without social media, and he advises that anyone who has mental health issues would be better off without social media.
Just as wrestlers sometimes step away from the ring and then return, the same can be said for broadcasters who may leave the business for years before coming back. Examples include Tony Schiavone and Jonathan Coachman, and Ranallo was asked if he’d ever go back to wrestling.
“There’s never going back to what I was doing. No need to. I drove myself to become the first person ever to call MMA, boxing, pro wrestling, and kickboxing on major network TV in America. Dream fulfilled! I’ve done everything, and I’ve gone above and beyond whatever I thought I could do, especially living with bipolar disorder,” said Ranallo.
“Will I go back to pro wrestling? It definitely has to be on my terms. I’m not a prima donna or anything, but I need to work with people that respect me, trust me, and will defer to my levels of experience. I’m as easy to work with as anyone else, but at this stage of my life, I need to be happy and comfortable. Pro wrestling, at the best of times, is taxing on your mental health, and it’s just the nature of the business.”
Ranallo admitted he hasn’t watched wrestling since leaving WWE, as it’s like watching your ex. He also left the door open about possibly going to another wrestling promotion that can accommodate his schedule.
“I’m not interested in going back to that kind of rigorous schedule [with WWE]. I would love to call professional wrestling still, and I’m glad that there’s many promotions,” said Ranallo. “I mean, AEW has been a win-win-win for them. Like the Monday Night Wars, I believe competition in every sense of the word should bring out the best in anyone. I’m just grateful there’s that many more paying opportunities for the workers. So, never say never, John.
“For now, I want to explore other options, do more voiceover work, and maybe host a game show if I can and do the Maurologues. In the last decade or so of my career, just do something I’ve really wanted to do all my life and branch out. I’m a performer and broadcaster ? I wanna do different things. I might even go back and do a radio show just for myself. I have no idea. I’m looking at other things. And, of course, the mental health advocacy.
“I wanna be Mauro Ranallo, Mental Health Advocate and Entertainer, and not necessarily the combat sports guy. I love what I do in combat sports and I can’t believe that I continue to do these historic, monumental things. But I’m eternally grateful and I have nothing but respect for people like you, and what you’ve meant to my career and your support. Like I say – chemistry. We worked very well together and there’s a reason for that. We respected each other, and that’s all I ask for in the arena that I’m in.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit POST Wrestling with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.