Source: The Ross Report
As previously reported, legendary professional wrestling commentator Jim Ross welcomed former WWE personality and current ESPN broadcaster Jonathan Coachman to The Ross Report. During the podcast, Coachman talked about whether he regrets his WWE run, how working for WWE has improved his broadcasting skills, whether he would ever return to WWE, who trained him for the professional wrestling ring, and Chris Benoit missing his wedding.
"My dream was to do what I'm doing now, it was to be a sportscaster and to ultimately get to ESPN. And I say now 'by the grace of God' because I would not be here if it wasn't for my nine years in the WWE, so it was a great time. I had a lot of fun. It was my entire 20s. And it just kind of fell in my lap. It wasn't something I planned. And everybody, at the time, told me it was not the right thing to do, that I was going to regret it down the line, and I've never regretted it a day."
Coachman said that working for WWE prepares performers for the entertainment industry insofar as it makes people tougher and improves their ability to think on their feet.
"If it wasn't for what Vince [McMahon] taught me, what [Ross] taught me, the [professional wrestlers] taught me, I'm as tough as anybody there is, and it is because of that. They don't understand how tough you become, and, also, how good you become as well! You become really, really good." Coachman added, "I remember the night that Hulk Hogan was inducted into the [WWE] Hall Of Fame and Sylvester Stallone showed up late and I was kind of the voiceover guy. And I'm sitting next to Vince, and, of couse, he's flipping out, [saying] 'where is he? My goodness.' And then, when [Stallone] got there, he looked up and he said, 'where's my script? Where's the teleprompter?' And I remember saying to Sly Stallone, 'we don't work with teleprompters here at the WWE.' And it just became a part of our lives, and, so now, that's another thing that still comes back to me that if the teleprompter goes down during [ESPN] SportsCenter, I'm not going to miss a beat."
Coachman indicated that the decision to leave WWE was not hard to make and he never thinks about a full-time return. With that said, Coachman would be open to returning on a part-time basis.
"It was time to go. And just like WWE happened in my life in 1999, ESPN just happened. The right things fell and when I got the offer, there was no way I was going to be able to turn it down. I just would have been an idiot. And because I was incredibly proud of my time there, and, also, the thing I'm most proud of, J.R., is I never said 'no' to Vince. Whatever I was asked to do, whether it be fly back on Christmas Day to shoot something, or go to Afghanistan, [or] whatever it is, I never said 'no'. And I think that's why Vince, to this day, is still so kind to me. It's because I was incredibly loyal to him. So, no, it wasn't hard to leave and I never think of a full-time comeback because I'm where I was always supposed to be. This is where I'm supposed to be. I would come back part-time. I'd come back certainly and be The Coach again on [WWE] Monday Night RAW. I'd do that in a heartbeat! But to come back full-time, no, I don't think that will ever happen."
According to 'The Coach', Tom Prichard, Shane McMahon, and Chris Benoit all had a hand in his training for the squared circle.
"Dr. Tom Prichard was my main coach back in Stamford [Connecticut]. And then, Shane [McMahon] would come down, and we, all three, would train together. And then, when I was on the road, Chris Benoit would train me and he was nice enough to come in a couple of hours before showtime and we'd get in there and I would train my ass off. So those were the guys who trained me."
Apparently, the tragedy involving the deaths of Benoit and his family occurred over the weekend of Coachman's wedding. Benoit and Coachman were friends; however, a week before the wedding, Benoit told Coachman that he would not be attending, so he could take care of some family matters.
"For me, what is so close to home, and I'm divorced now, so life is good, but that happened on the day I got married and him and I were friends. And he called me the week before and said, 'hey, I can't make it. I've got some family things going on.' And I'm getting married and it's just a tough thing. It's a tough thing that those things happened on the same day."
To listen to the podcast, click here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Ross Report with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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