JBL Says He Never Meant to Harm Mauro Ranallo
During a recent edition of Hannibal TV, WWE Hall of Famer John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) was part of a group chat with Rick Bassman, UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten, Butterbean, and Shawn Ray. During the chat, JBL addressed the past allegations of bullying against former WWE broadcaster Mauro Ranallo leading to Ranallo’s exit from his SmackDown commentary gig in 2017. Ranallo later denied the JBL allegations publicly. Later on, Ranallo returned to WWE as the lead broadcaster for NXT in 2017. Both parties later amicably parted aways again in August 2020.
For his part, JBL addressed his comments he made during WWE programming toward Ranallo. For his part, JBL claims he meant no “malicious intent” with his comments, and he was saying them “100% in character.” Below are some highlights and a clip of JBL’s comments:
JBL on his reputation as a bully and not having malicious intent toward Mauro Ranallo: “Yeah, you know, maybe I could have deserved it. I don’t know. You 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 like with Mauro there was never any malicious intent ever toward anything I said to Mauro. Anything I said on camera, that was all in character. But you know, some of it can 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 have gone too far. I’m not trying to excuse anything I’ve done.”
On his mindset of wanting to protect the business: “Yeah Bas, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. When we started, we protected the business 24/7. So, I wrestled in Europe for Otto Wanz, who was a childhood chum, Otto and Peter Williams in Austria and Germany. And you had to be in character 24/7. We lived in the parking lots outside of the carnival tents and had to wrestle, and so they wanted us in character all the time, not just in the ring. You know, walk around town, some guy tries to get an autograph from you, you bark at ’em, you know, and that kind of carried forward. And I was 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 it was me being in character. And again, I’m not trying to excuse myself. I’m just kind of explaining, from my perspective kind of how it happened.”
JBL on the situation with Mauro Ranallo: “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 a 100% in character or anything I said backstage. Now, I can’t speak for Mauro. But 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. 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 at that show as me taking a shot at Mauro. Well, on that show, right before we did it, There was about three-to-five minutes that we needed for the show. And they said, ‘What can we do?’ 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 I went on the show. I did a rant on the show, ‘Oh! They’re calling Mauro the number one announcer. He’s retweeted it! Blah, blah, blah.’ 100% 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.”
On the fallout from the show: “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. I said, ‘Why is he mad?’ And they said, ‘That was his poll.’ I had no idea. People talk 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 now he realizes that that was something that I did — It was 100% 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 for car, and 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 I couldn’t talk to him. But I shook his hand. I just went across and shook his hand, and he said, ‘How you doing, man?’ I said, ‘[Puts up hand in hi motion] Good, brother,’ and I just left, just to let him know that there was no ill-intent, at least of me toward 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.”