Mauro Domenico Ranallo (December 21, 1969) is a Canadian sports announcer and commentator, currently signed to WWE, where he serves as a play-by-play commentator on NXT. He began announcing when he was 16 years old and is notable for his dramatic style, which involves heavy use of metaphor, puns, and advanced vocabulary. He has experience in Canadian football, ice hockey, professional wrestling, boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts events.
Ranallo is best known for his work as a commentator for Pride Fighting Championships and, more recently, Showtime for Elite XC, Strikeforce, Showtime Championship Boxing, and New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV broadcasts. He was signed with WWE as the lead SmackDown announcer in January 2016, coinciding with the show's move to the USA Network.
Ranallo has bipolar disorder.
Ranallo was born in Abbotsford, British Columbia, the eldest of three sons born to an Italian couple who immigrated to Canada. He has been a fan of professional wrestling since the age of five. He graduated from WJ Mouat Secondary School in Abbotsford.
Ranallo began his career as an announcer and manager at the age of 16, when he was offered a job with All-Star Wrestling (in Vancouver), a nationally televised wrestling show throughout Canada. After that program ended production and the promotion folded in 1989, Ranallo became a disc jockey for Abbotsford, British Columbia radio station CFVR (now CKQC-FM). Later, he provided commentary announcing duties for Muay Thai/Kickboxing events and King of the Cage mixed martial arts shows on TSN.
From 1999 to 2000, he served as the commentator for the Stampede Wrestling TV show in Calgary. His color-commentator was the late Bad News Allen. Ranallo was also the commentator for KVOS-TV's Top Ranked Wrestling for most of that program's run in 2005–06.
He became most prominently known among MMA fans as the voice of Pride Fighting Championships PPV broadcasts in North America from 2003 until October 2006. He was initially paired with friend, longtime-PRIDE commentator, and MMA legend Bas Rutten. After Rutten departed the broadcast, Bas was replaced by Frank Trigg. Ranallo continued to commentate on MMA as part of the EliteXC and ShoXC broadcast team from 2006 until their closure in October 2008. Ranallo continued to be the voice of MMA on Showtime by becoming the mainstay of the commentary team for Strikeforce until that organisation's acquisition and eventual merger with the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2013. He was also the lead announcer of the Muay Thai Premier League (a global combat sports league featuring the fighting arts of Muay Thai).
Ranallo continues to work as a broadcaster for Showtime Networks, and provides commentary for three major combat sports: Showtime Championship Boxing, Glory Kickboxing, and Invicta Fighting Championships MMA. In 2015 he returned to his pro-wrestling roots when he became the voice of New Japan Pro Wrestling in the U.S. alongside MMA legend and former NJPW wrestler Josh Barnett.
Smackdown Live, 205 Live, WWE Cruiserweight Classic and other WWE events
Ranallo signed a contract to WWE on December 15, 2015, and made his WWE debut as the lead play-by-play commentator for the SmackDown broadcast team for its premiere on USA Network on January 7, 2016, thus being dubbed "The Voice of SmackDown", while also working later on PPV Kickoff shows, the WWE Cruiserweight Classic in 2016 and 205 Live. Following his debut, he was praised by fans and media outlets for bringing class and seriousness to his approach as play-by-play commentator. He was last seen on commentary for Smackdown Live on the March 7, 2017 episode.
Controversy with JBL
Ranallo was not present on the March 14, 2017 episode of Smackdown Live, the other commentators present said that Ranallo missed the show due to the weather; the next week Ranallo was still not seen on TV, this time with the justification of him being sick. It was later reported that Ranallo was on home battling depression, and these reports later said this was due to the alleged bullying that he suffered by fellow WWE commentator John "Bradshaw" Layfield. This generated a lot of fans on social media and in attendance for WWE events to publicly support Ranallo and wanted JBL to be fired or punished, while also several wrestling personalities showed their support for JBL and ex-WWE workers reported about suffering similars treats by Layfield. Both Ranallo and JBL denied the claims. A few months later Ranallo was still not seen on WWE Television, and he started working as commentator for MMA events, even though he was still under contract with WWE.
On March 22, 2017, he announced on his Instagram profile that despite the controversy, himself and WWE managed to get to an agreement to stay in the company, now as part for the NXT broadcasting team; he was congratulated on Twitter by Triple H and fellow WWE broadcaster Renee Young. Starting on the June 28, 2017 TV airing, he began serving as a play-by-play commentator along with Percy Watson and Nigel McGuinness as a heel.
Television and internet radio host
In 2006, he was lead news anchor for the Canadian combat sports channel The Fight Network and featured on "Fight Network Radio" through Sirius Hardcore Sports Radio Channel 98. From January 2009 until 2011, he hosted "The MMA Show" weekly on The Score and the show was also available as a podcast. Ranallo was also one of three analysts on The Score's show "Right After Wrestling", now called "Aftermath", which airs after The Score's airing of WWE SmackDown and the replay of WWE Raw. Following the demise of the MMA Show and leaving The Score, Ranallo hosted "The Show with Mauro Ranallo" Podcast, which was similar to his previous show, though this podcast also became defunct in 2012.
Ranallo was a member of the rankings committee for the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA) until the organization's demise in 2009.