Former WWE personality Jonathan Coachman was a special guest on Ad Free Shows to discuss his wrestling career. Subscribers in the “Top Guy” tier had the chance to grill Coachman on the entirety of his career in both wrestling and broadcasting. Coach touched on what led to his transition from the microphone to in-ring work.

“Vince [McMahon] walked up to me one day at the gym in Stamford. He was already upset because I was bigger,” Coachman said. “I’m about 6’3” & a half, played college basketball. Vince likes his backstage interviewers to be really small, so the guys look really big. Plus, I was starting to create this Coach character. So [Vince] said, ‘Hey listen, we have an idea. We would love for you to become a character but in order to do that you’d have to be willing to get in the ring and be physical.’ So I would come to the arena early and train with Chris Benoit, with Steven Regal. I was never gonna be a guy to wrestle 25-30 minute matches, but I could do 10-15.”

Coachmen also elaborated on the bond he created with Chris Benoit during their time together in WWE.

“I hold a very special place in my heart for Chris Benoit, and I know a lot of people don’t understand that,” Coachman said. “But understand, we were together so much I knew the man and the torment that was going on. What he did was awful but how he treated me was amazing. All of that happened on the day that I got married as a matter of fact. That weekend. He’s the one that trained me and thank goodness over the years they’ve had some research to show that he wasn’t in his right mind. He was as gentle and kind with me as anyone.”

Coachman had a unique relationship with McMahon that could be both fantastic and tumultuous at times. Coachman recalled once getting beat up on WWE television for turning down a trip to Afghanistan for the Tribute to the Troops event.

“Back in 2004 or 2005, when we doing our shows in Afghanistan, it was supposed to be, ‘if you don’t wanna go, you don’t have to.’ It’s supposed to be completely up to you because we were going into a war zone and they couldn’t make you do it,” Coachman recalled. “That’s what was told to us. My first child was about to be born. My wife at the time, and rightfully so, didn’t want me going into the middle of a war zone. So I told the people that set it up at WWE, ‘I’m not going’.

“At that point, I had never said no to Vince once in my career, so they thought I was joking,” Coach said. “The next week, I was doing commentary. When the show was over, one of the referees came over and said, ‘You need to go hit the Undertaker from behind’. I said ‘Why?’ and he said ‘It’s just what they’re telling me’. So basically, as punishment for not going to Afghanistan, I got beat up by the Undertaker. Then they hit Batista’s music and he came down and finished the job. As I’m getting my ass kicked, I’m thinking, ‘Is this really worth it?’ I’ve done everything I could possibly do, and I’m getting my ass handed to me for refusing to go to a war zone even though I went the year before.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit AdFreeShows with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.