WWE Hall of Famer JBL appeared on Hannibal TV to address past accusations that he bullied Mauro Ranallo. As noted back in 2017, Mauro Ranallo parted ways with WWE while telling press that it had “nothing to do with JBL.”
“Maybe I could have deserved [the accusations]. I don’t know, you know, we were younger, we broke balls. I’m a loud guy from the south and a lot of people, I think, took that wrong. I can tell you, with Mauro, there was never any malicious intent ever toward anything I said toward Mauro,” JBL explained. “Anything I said on camera, that was all in character. You know, some of it could be deserved. I’m not trying to re-write my history. I wasn’t a saint; we drank a lot back then, we ran the roads, and we would always love to crack on each other. It was just part of what we did and I think a lot of people took that wrong, and some of it could have gone too far. I’m not trying to excuse anything I’ve done.”
John Layfield continued pressing the point that he was portraying his heel persona whenever he ranted about Mauro Ranallo. For JBL, the art of staying in character 24/7 to protect the pro wrestling business is something that was drilled into him from the start of his career.
“When we started, we protected the business 24/7. So when I wrestled in Europe for Otta Wanz… you had to be in character 24/7. We lived on the parking lots outside of the carnival tents, and had to wrestle so they wanted us in character all the time, not just in the ring,” JBL noted. “You walk around town and somebody tries to get an autograph from you, you bark at them. And that kind of carried forward, and I’m one of the last groups to have done that. So yeah, I don’t think there’s any doubt that some of that went too far, and some of that was me being in character. And again, I’m not trying to excuse myself. I’m just explaining from my perspective kind of how it happened.
“Well there was a show we did called Bring it to the Table, and that was one of the big contentious points. As far as, you know, anything I said on camera, that was 100% in character. Anything I said backstage, I don’t think there was anything but I can’t speak for Mauro. So there was no malicious intent on anything backstage,” JBL stated. “I thought I got along with Mauro fairly well, but the show Bring it to the Table, Mauro had a travel problem. There was a snow storm across the country and he didn’t make a show, and I’m not sure what all happened but there was a snow storm and he couldn’t make travel. You know, those things happen. During that same time we did [the show], and everybody points to that show as the point of me taking a shot at Mauro.
“Well on that show, right before we did it, there were about 3 – 5 minutes that we needed for the show. They said, ‘What can we do?’ and said, ‘Hey, there’s this internet poll that makes Mauro the #1 announcer. Can you do something on that?’ I said, ‘Yeah, of course.’ So when he went on the show, I did a rant on the show about, ‘Oh, they made Mauro the #1 announcer, he’s re-tweeted it, blah, blah, blah,’ 100% in character,” he continued. “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 had just assumed Mauro would know that was something I did in character. In fact, when the show aired, Meltzer, the online guy who does all the backstage news, they said, “Meltzer’s mad at you.’ And I hadn’t heard that name in quite a while because it’s behind a paywall, his stuff, so I didn’t read it, I didn’t keep up with it. And I said, ‘Why’s he mad?’ They said, ‘Well, that was his poll.’ I had no idea.”
The former WWE Champion also recalled an instance shortly after the ordeal with Ranallo where the two shook hands and briefly exchanged words. In the end, JBL admits that he regrets what happened between him and the announcer.
“That was me just being JBL on camera, and I think Mauro took that the wrong way. I hope he didn’t; I hope now he realizes that it was something that I did that was 100% in character. I saw Mauro, I think, a few weeks later. Everything fell out and I became the bad guy with everything… Anyway, I walked across the parking lot and he was on his phone, so I couldn’t talk to him. So I shook his hand, walked across and shook his hand. He said, ‘How you doing, man?’ And I said (puts hand up), ‘It’s good, brother,’ and left, just to let him know that there was no ill intent, at least from me toward him. I regret the whole situation.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Hannibal TV with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.