It never hurts to be respectful.
Jonathan Coachman's original run with WWE lasted from 1999 to 2008. During that time he worked as a commentator, interviewer, authority figure, wrestler, and more.
During a Q&A session on the AdFreeShows Patreon page, Coachman talked about his two appearances in WWE's Royal Rumble match and how he almost didn't make it to the ring for the first one in 2005. He began by sharing that he was friends with Hardcore Holly and how a lot of the other performers were not thrilled that he was taking one of the coveted 30 spots.
"This is a story that I've never told before. I can't remember the year, but I was in two Royal Rumbles, okay. How they go about the Royal Rumble is you go into a room and they have somebody who goes through the match and who's going to be eliminated and win. I'll never forget that Hardcore Holly, who might be one of the scariest human beings on planet Earth, was sitting right next to me and good or bad, we had struck up a friendship. He liked me and we got along, but I also knew that at any point that he could kill me, and might.
So we're sitting there, and again, there were some guys, let's be honest, they didn't like that I was taking a spot in the Royal Rumble. They felt like they had worked all year, as though it was a reward and when somebody like The Coach gets in the Royal Rumble, that's taking my spot. I always said to the guys like that, ‘Then earn your spot better, because I'm more over as a heel than they were just working.’ I told people all the time, ‘If you can't talk, you cannot get over.’ Period. End of story," Coach said.
Continuing on, Coach made the mistake of boasting about his placement in the match to Hardcore Holly. The former Hardcore Champion took exception with Coach's comment and hit him with a dropkick to the thigh. Apparently, it hurt so bad he almost couldn't make it to the ring later that night.
"So we're sitting there, and so they go through like the first eight or ten guys, right," Coach explained. "So they said, ‘If you've been eliminated, you can leave the room.’ Well at that point, Hardcore Holly in the Royal Rumble had been eliminated. I hadn't even come in yet. So I turned to Hardcore and I said, ‘Yeah, Hardcore. Step.’ He gets up and he dropkicks me with his toe into the side of my thigh at full speed. I almost couldn't go into the Royal Rumble that night. I could barely walk. It hurt that bad, I swear to God. I was able to get through it."
Not only did his leg hurt, but Coach also recalls taking over 30 chops which "shredded" his chest to pieces. He added the following:
"Then that same night was when Jericho and Edge -- Because when you're in the Royal Rumble, you just got to kill time in between the other big spots that are going on. So they thought it'd be funny if they would just shred my chest with chop after chop, chop, chop. So I took, we counted on video that I took 34 chops in the Royal Rumble because I was in for about 37 minutes. When I got back to the shower, I was thinking, ‘Man, I made it through. I'm still walking. I feel good.’ Then the water hit my chest, and I'm telling you, I screamed as loud as you could possibly scream. It was literally like shreds of cheese on my chest. It hurts so, so badly."
Coach lasted just under 14 minutes in the match before being eliminated by Ric Flair. Batista was the one who would eventually win the Rumble.
Coach 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 leave later that year though. You can read about why he left here.
He currently works for CBS Sports and more.
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