Jonathan Coachman is not happy with the way things ended with WWE.
Jonathan Coachman's original run with WWE lasted from 1999 to 2008. During that time he worked as a commentator, interviewer, authority figure, and more. He would leave WWE in 2008, going to ESPN. After making various appearances throughout the years, he returned to WWE in 2018 as part of the Raw commentary team alongside Michael Cole and Corey Graves. He would, however, leave later that year though.
During a recent Q&A session on the AdFreeShows Patreon page, one which he dubbed the final time he talks about wrestling, Coach spoke about all the work he did for Vince McMahon and the XFL and how the company bounced a large check on him. To make matters worse, his contract with WWE was cut the very next week.
With a bitter taste left in his mouth, The Coach later added that he would not accept an invitation to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Here is why:
"No, I would not and here's why. Until they make it right, and I don't even know if the money would make it right at this point, because sometimes in life you've got to do what's right at that moment. When people are facing a pandemic and you don't know -- and I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm one of the lucky ones, but there were so many people that got laid off or worse furloughed. When you're furloughed, you make no money. You've got a billion dollars in the bank and yet you're furloughing all these people?
What I would have done is, if somebody is making $100,000, you go to two people and say, 'Would you rather make 50 for the next four or five months till we get through this, or one of you makes 100 and the other one makes zero and is furloughed?' What do you think both people would have done? They would have taken the $50,000 and still had an income. But that's not what they did. You can't treat people that way.
So, I wouldn't even want to hear anything they would have to say to me at this point. Do I think I'm worthy? There's no question. I mean the things that I've done in the different roles that I played, and my longevity. Certainly, I think I belong in there. But also remember this, there's not actually a physical Hall of Fame. It's not like I'd be losing a bust somewhere. So, you know, it's a nice thought to be a Hall of Famer, but to me, I don't want the award from people that after 20 years can do that. I just have no desire to do that. No, I would not accept it."
Asked whether or not an apology from Vince McMahon would make the situation any better, Coachman stated that he wasn't sure but that he also didn't think it would ever happen. He then proceeded to explain how, while he was working at ESPN, he helped WWE land their billion-dollar TV deal with FOX. Coach put his career on the line for WWE and doesn't believe they appreciate the risks he took for them.
"I don't know. I don't know. Um, first of all, I don't think would happen," he began by saying. "I just don't think Vince cares enough to try to rekindle what I had or what I did for them. I don't think people quite understand what I did for him. Let me be clear, in 2015 when the TV contracts were coming up and they [WWE] negotiating with USA and all these places, I got a phone call at 3 a.m. It was Vince's right-hand man and he said to me, 'Coach, you got to get our content on ESPN. We've got TV deals that are coming up, we've got to have leverage, we've got to be able to have other places look at our content to increase our value.'
So I went in and I fought and I fought and I fought, and I was starting to make enemies in the executives at ESPN to fight for Vince and everything that they wanted because I was so loyal. That was my mistake. I created what we called Coach's Crew. It was me and five dudes at ESPN that were amazing. They all had different roles at ESPN, but we had to do it on our own time. ESPN was like, 'Listen, you guys can do this, we'll put it on SportsCenter, but you're going to do it on your own time.' We were cool with that. We were absolutely cool with that. So we were able to get 10 to 12 minutes of content on SportsCenter every single Tuesday with all the top stars. We even started feuds on SportsCenter that they used on Raw and SmackDown leading into Wrestlemania.
Then to have everything unfold the way that it did, then all of a sudden you have a FOX deal for a billion dollars. Well guess what was a big, big part of the video that they sold to FOX and said, 'Listen if mainstream viewers can accept this, then so can you, then so can you.' Then what happened was in April of 2017, we decided to stop that to see if ESPN wanted that content. We just stopped cold. They really showed no interest, so we knew we didn't need to go down that road. This is all stuff that I did, personally. So when that deal was done and the president, whoever it was at the time, gave us credit, me and my crew for helping get a billion-dollar deal at FOX because we got their content on SportsCenter when it had never been done before, not even close. We made it happen.
Then you want to do that later? How quickly you forget all the phone calls I took in the middle of the night, all the things that we did, all the stuff that I said yes to. We weren't even supposed to start feuds on SportsCenter. That was the directive that you can't because they didn't want any fake storylines started on a real sports show. That's how hard that was to do, but we still were able to do it because my bosses couldn't figure it out. People remember the Goldberg and Brock Lesnar. We started that on SportsCenter and my bosses didn't even know because we were so good at doing it.
So when you do all of that, and you put that ahead of my career at ESPN, and that's essentially what I did, and then to have them turn their backs on me like that. Again, is it about the money? Probably 10%. But I'm good. So 90% is about how I was treated and how they treated others. I'll never get over that. You can't do that and I don't know why you'd want your legacy to be that either because that's what it is right now."
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, WWE has made sizeable cuts to their staff both in front of and behind the camera.
Coachman currently works for CBS Sports and others. You can read his comments about his 2018 WWE run here and how Corey Graves didn't want him on the commentary booth.
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