After being absent for several weeks from the SmackDown Live announce table, and even missing Wrestlemania, Mauro Ranallo and the WWE have officially parted ways. In a statement to Newsweek.com, Ranallo said "WWE and I have mutually agreed to part ways. It has nothing to do with JBL.” This marks the first time Ranallo has made any statement regarding his former co-worker, John Bradshaw Layfield, and the rumors of his conduct leading to Ranallo's absence. Despite Ranallo taking blame away from JBL, people close to Ranallo and fans aren't likely to change their opinion of JBL anytime soon.
One of the results of this separation has been a rehashing of JBL's past locker room antics. Layfield has been known as a bully, often taking part in hazing of newly sign talent and pulling mean spirited pranks on the locker room. Because of his past actions, it hasn't been hard to convince fans that JBL was the reason why Ranallo was off tv. Things really got out of hand on the April 11 edition of SmackDown Live when several "Fire JBL" chants where made throughout the nite. JBL has since admitted that in the past he was part of pranks that may have been deemed cruel but insists that he is not like that anymore. He also said that if anything was taken personally while he was playing the "bad guy" he is sorry.
As for the WWE, they release this statement on the matter:
“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.
“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.”