JBL dives into the situation involving himself and Mauro Ranallo.
It was back in 2017 that former WWE announcer Mauro Ranallo exited WWE. Ranallo’s exit from the sports-entertainment company was linked to alleged bullying from JBL which Ranallo later denied.
John Layfield appeared on Rick Bassman’s ‘Talking Tough’ show and he addressed the conversations surrounding him and Mauro. Initially, Layfield was asked about his reputation and feels that some of it may be earned. He said there was never any malicious intent to verbally hurt Mauro and does not want to make excuses for anything he has ever done.
Maybe I could have deserved it [the negative reputation]. I don’t know. We were younger, we broke balls and I was a loud guy from the south and a lot of people I think took that wrong. I can tell you, with Mauro [Ranallo], there was never any malicious intent, ever, anything I said towards Mauro. Anything I said on camera, that was all in character but you know, some of it could be deserved. I’m not trying to rewrite my history. I wasn’t a saint. We drank a lot back then and we ran the roads and we always loved 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’ve gone too far. I’m not trying to excuse anything I’ve done.
He further expanded on things when he brought up the Bring it to the Table show that was hosted by Peter Rosenberg on the WWE Network. The show consisted of Rosenberg, Layfield and Corey Graves discussing the latest news and rumors about WWE in a ‘non-storyline’ manner. JBL did make comments about Ranallo on the show in regards to him being positively receptive to being named announcer of the year by a wrestling news outlet.
Well, there was a show that we did called Bring it to the Table and that was one of the big contentious points. As far as anything I said on camera, that was 100 percent in character. Anything I said backstage, I don’t think there was anything. Now I can’t speak for Mauro [Ranallo], so there was no malicious intent ever on anything backstage. I thought I got along with Mauro fairly well. But the show Bring it to the table, Mauro had-had a travel problem. There was a snowstorm across the country and he didn’t make a show and I’m not sure what all happened but there was a snowstorm, he couldn’t make travel. Those things happen. During that same time, we did this show called Bring it to the Table 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 was about three to five minutes we needed for the show and they said, ‘What can we do?’ And [they] said, ‘Hey, there’s this internet poll that makes Mauro the number one announcer. Can you do something on that?’ I said, ‘Yeah, of course.’ So when we went on the show, I did a rant on the show about, ‘Ah, they’re calling Mauro the number one announcer. He’s retweeted it,’ blah, blah, blah. 100 percent in character 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 just assumed Mauro knew that-that was something I had done in-character. In fact, when the show aired, [Dave] 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 is he mad?’ And they said, ‘Well that was his poll.’ I had no idea. I had no idea.
People talk so much about how I was so mad about that poll. I had no idea the poll existed. That was just me being JBL on camera and I think Mauro took that the wrong way. I hope he didn’t. I hope he realizes now that-that was something that I did that was 100 percent in character. I saw Mauro, I think a few weeks later. Everything fell out and I became the bad guy with everything and I saw him, he was standing in front of a car, he was on his phone. I think it was New Orleans. Anyway, I walked across the parking lot and he was on his phone so couldn’t talk to him but I shook his hand. Just went across and shook his hand and he said, ‘How you doing man?’ I said, ‘It’s good brother’ and just left. Just let him know that there was no ill intent at least of me towards him. I regret the whole situation. I wish that Mauro had known for sure. I think that was one of the things that was really upsetting. I know it was upsetting to a lot of fans because they all talked about that show.
In December of 2020, Mauro Ranallo sat down with POST Wrestling for an interview and that can be heard here.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit the Talking Tough podcast with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.