Jonathan Coachman Explains Why His Last Run As A Commentator Failed
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In 2008, Jonathan Coachman departed WWE for ESPN, lasting there for over 8 years before ESPN decided to go in another direction. Coachman was contacted by WWE in 2016 to return and accepted the offer.
Speaking with Chris Van Vliet, Coachman went into detail about why his run as a commentator seemingly failed horrible. Essentially, the problem stemmed from Vince McMahon not wanting Jonathan Coachman to come across as a heel character on TV. But Coach knew that being a heel would be one of the only ways this would work. Coachman said, “Vince didn’t want me to go back as heel Coach. That’s the Coach that I love. I love heel Coach. Heel Coach is fun, but he didn’t want me to lose the credibility that I gained in 10 years as a sports anchor. If I ever went back again now, I would give it a 2 percent chance of me ever doing wrestling again. If I did, it would have to be on my terms and my way, because I was most popular when I was a heel.”
Coachman had the opportunity to become one of the lead voices of the PGA Tour, which is still participates in today. Coachman said, “I knew that if I wanted to be in the level of golf… golf is probably a harder world to get into at the highest level than pro wrestling. It’s very cliquey. I knew it needed to change and diversify. I also knew that when your number one player is a black golfer since 1996, but yet, there are no black announcers other than one or two across all the major networks, that’s a problem. I looked at it as an opportunity, but for me, it was going to take three-five years to get to the point where I can make enough money just doing golf if that’s what it took to be at the financial level I want to be at. To bridge that gap, I knew I needed something else.”
This is when a WWE return came into play. Since golf is typically played Thursday through Sunday, this opened up the schedule for Coachman to also return to WWE. However, Coachman admits he made a mistake by accepting an offer to join the commentary table. He said, “I never wanted to do commentary. I already had my deal with golf to be the voice of the PGA World Tour. I knew I was going to miss five RAWs of that first year. I knew Vince wasn’t going to be happy with it and to be honest, I like Corey Graves as a person, but I still don’t think he wanted a partner. Now, he’s better than he’s ever been because he doesn’t have to do a three-man booth. Nobody likes a three-man booth.”
You can listen to the entire interview below. Thanks to Wrestling Inc. for providing transcriptions of the interview.