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Mauro Ranallo on mental illness and the switch from Smackdown to NXT

The voice of NXT recently spoke with Sports Illustrated‘s Extra Mustard. Mauro Ranallo spoke on his battle with mental illness, the stigma associated with them, and his time and experience as a commentator for MMA and the WWE.

Below are some highlights of the interview:

His breakdown in April 2017 that led to leaving Smackdown Live:

With WWE, the biggest issue was the weekly travel for Smackdown. I also had a job with Showtime Championship Boxing, and now Bellator MMA, so I was busy almost every weekend and the fact that I had to be on the road with Smackdown Live, which was a dream job in live TV on the USA Network, was going to kill me. Literally. My close friends saw how it was affecting me, and it just came to a head.

There were other issues, and they’ve been dealt with, and honestly, I’ve never had a better relationship with WWE, especially Paul [Triple H] Levesque and Michael Cole, two people who are instrumental in me being the voice of NXT. The amount of support I’ve received from everyone, and I mean from Vince McMahon to Stephanie to Shane to the entire locker room, it’s incredible.

His move to the NXT brand being a blessing in disguise:

When they first approached me about coming to WWE, I even joked, and in every joke there’s a morsel of truth, that I’d take their offer even if it were calling NXT. They said no, they wanted me to launch Smackdown, and I said that was amazing. I’m a wrestling announcer and a wrestling storyteller. Because of my experience with MMA and boxing, I’m all about the story being told in the ring. WIth NXT, you get a solid hour of just that, and yes, you get the promos and the character-building.

Also, I have to say this, at this stage of my career, I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do. Not many people can say that before the age of 50. So I want to give back, and I’ve already been put in a position to help the other announcers and the young talent. I love watching the underdogs and I want to give them every opportunity to succeed with my lyrics, as it were, to their music in the ring. NXT has been a godsend and, honestly, WWE could not be more supportive and I love the fact that they are beginning to take more focus on mental health. It impacts every industry.

Mauro Ranallo spoke in detail with Justin Barrasso about how the world is beginning to address mental illness in a positive light, calling fights like Mayweather-McGregor, and gave a good bit of insight on the documentary “Bipolar Rock ‘N’ Roller” which aired on Showtime on May 25. You can check out the full interview here.