Mauro Ranallo has officially left WWE according to an exclusive story by Newsweek. Ranallo confirmed the news via statement issued to the publication but refused to blame JBL for his departure.
“WWE and I have mutually agreed to part ways. It has nothing to do with JBL,” Ranallo told Newsweek by e-mail. A WWE spokesperson confirmed Ranallo’s exit and said he will remain under contract through August 12.
Ranallo has been absent from WWE television since the March 7 Smackdown Live broadcast, missing every television show since then including WrestleMania. He admitted on Twitter that he had health issues, issues that were later revealed to be bouts with depression.
Newsweek also reached out to JBL for comments about Ranallo’s departure. “Admittedly, I took part in locker room pranks that existed within the industry years ago,” Layfield told Newsweek in a statement. “WWE addressed my behavior and I responded accordingly, yet my past is being brought up because of recent unfounded rumors. I apologize if anything I said playing ‘the bad guy’ on a TV show was misconstrued.”
WWE also denied the bullying claims that have clouded the story. “As part of our commitment to creating an inclusive environment, in April 2011, WWE launched our anti-bullying campaign, Be a STAR, which encourages young people to treat each other with tolerance and respect,” a WWE spokesman told Newsweek. “As a publicly traded company, that mantra carries forward in our corporate culture. As such, we fully investigate any allegations of inappropriate behavior including the recent alleged situation with John Layfield (aka JBL), despite no formal complaint having been submitted.”
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reported last week that WWE has been working hard with Ranallo’s representatives for a settlement which will also include a clause for Ranallo not to talk publicly about the alleged rumors.