In 2000, Jonathan Coachman became a regular member of the WWE broadcast team as he conducted backstage interviews and wrap-up segments. Coachman was an energetic young reporter who often entertained WWE fans with his antics during interviews. His segments with The Rock became immensely popular as the “Brahma Bull” often forced him to sing, dance and smile for the camera after multiple insults.
Coachman worked his way into announcing duties, first on Sunday Night Heat with Al Snow, and in 2005, Coachman became a full-time Raw announcer alongside Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. He also co-hosted the first-ever WWE Diva Search and “CoachCast” on WWE.com. However, in 2003, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon presented him with a unique opportunity.
“He came up to me and said, ‘We need to get you in the ring, and I think we can really make people hate you.’”
At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, the former college athlete could convincingly make the transition to professional wrestler. He joined the dark side at SummerSlam in 2003, smacking Shane McMahon with a steel chair during The Boy Wonder’s match with Eric Bischoff. The Coach wasn’t just putting in work on television. Coachman was dedicated to becoming proficient in the squared circle and went to great lengths to do so, working with trainers like Tom Prichard and WWE Superstars such as Christian and The Hurricane.
“I was in the ring every day. I would do Live Events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There were a lot of guys who were willing to help me and teach me. It’s still, to this day, the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.”
After first acting as an executive assistant to the McMahon family, Coachman traded general manager duties with William Regal from August to October of 2007. Coach’s final role with WWE was as a part of the SmackDown announce team with Michael Cole. Jonathan Coachman departed WWE on amicable terms in 2008 to allow him to focus on his other sports broadcast interests.
There were reports this year that Jonathan Coachman was set to return to WWE in the summer on a part-time basis while maintaining his job with ESPN. The speculation was that he would be hosting a SportsCenter type program on WWE Network. Coachman himself even teased an announcement about working with WWE again. Ultimately, it was not to be.
In June, Coach indicated on Twitter that he would not be returning to WWE. After a fan on Twitter wrote that everyone wants him back in WWE, he replied, “everyone except @wwe.”
For those wondering what happened, plans for his return were dropped. There’s no word on why plans for the show were dropped though, although it was likely due to the ROI (return on investment) being too low. This is why WWE’s original programming largely consists of shows that can be cheaply put together in their television studio in Stamford, Connecticut.
There was an idea pitched on the WWE Network for a new show to air on Saturday evening. It would have been like Prime Time Wrestling with two hosts in a studio directing match highlights from the week from all of the shows (Raw, SmackDown, WWE Main Event and NXT). The idea never went far.
On another note, the majority of the people working on the WWE Network aren’t wrestling fans, let alone know much of the industry they cover. This is considered a “big problem” within the company.