Former WWE personality and current ESPN interviewer Jonathan "The Coach" Coachman recently appeared on The Ric Flair Show.
On Bringing WWE and ESPN Together: I don’t think wrestling fans understand how much sports means to people like me. It’s been amazing, almost 9 years I have been at ESPN, just flying by. And everyday I try to grow the brand; and the reason why I do this the way that I do it is because I want to bring my two worlds together that I love so much, and we’ve been starting to do that with the WWE and the different things we do together; I’ve never been as happier as I am now, and professionally it’s a big reason, and things are going real well for my life right now.
On Still Being Part of The WWE Family: I left in 2008, my contract was up in August. There are so many little stories that I like to tell; I guess I am very protective of Vince and very protective of the WWE brand. I always like people to know the positives, and what he has done for me. One of the things that Vince did for me was, it was not a secret that I had an opportunity with ESPN. I went up to the interview with ESPN in April; so people knew I was on campus, and with the rumors going around, they called me straight up, which is another thing that I love about Vince and Kevin Dunn is that they talk like grown men. If you have something to talk about you come in and talk about it. They looked me straight in the eye and asked if I was going to ESPN or was I going to stay with the WWE, which I already had been with WWE for 10 years and said that I had to take the opportunity, if I don’t, I will probably never get it again. I have two children, and my daughter was due in 2008, and they said that we know about your first child is being born, so why don’t we take you off TV now. We’re trying to find a spot for Mick Foley, so they put him on commentary, and they said, if we need you, we will call you, if not, then this will be it, but you’ll always be part of this family. I will never forget that conversation, because in July they did call me, and they told me that they needed me to come into the WWE Studio, I thought, wow, what do they need me to come in for? I thought I was going to do some voiceover work. I come into the parking lot, and there is this big tent, and it was a surprise going away party for me. It was one of the coolest things anyone has ever done for me; Vince looked at me and said that I will always be part of this, and I have always remembered that, which is why what we are doing now is so special, because professionally it just doesn’t happen very often that I have, not just with Vince [McMahon] or anybody, but people like you [Ric Flair], you become more than friends, you become family, because you are together all around the world and for so long, and so many years, that’s very special to me.
On the Importance of the WWE and ESPN Relationship: When we look at Wrestlemania this year, and I worked so hard to make it happen, and damn near got fired a couple of times I think, for working so hard, because it’s the right thing to do. Fans like a lot of different things, and it’s not up to us what they should like. We cannot dictate what they should like, and I told my bosses at ESPN all of the time that you may not like Sports Entertainment, but there are millions of people that do. If we ignore them and don’t invite them into our world then we are losing out on a lot of business, a lot of eyeballs and a lot of fans. When I was at Wrestlemania this year in Dallas, Vince pulled me aside backstage and looked me into the eye and said, this is, if not the most important relationship, it is one of the two or three most important relationships that the WWE has ever had, to your point, because of the credibility factor, and getting the WWE, getting these real life people, to get them into your living rooms where people wouldn’t normally watch them, people can see them and say that they like that person, and they want to become whoever they are on Monday Night Raw or Smackdown, and also, I have a dream that someday, at the same time, I can be part of Monday Night Raw on a full time basis and also be a Sportscenter anchor, or, which I believe this will happen one day where I host my own show at ESPN and do it at the same time, I think it’ll be such an incredible moment, and we are getting closer and closer, which I think is one of the coolest things for me.
On Charlotte’s Accomplishment in WWE: It’s really cool. We had her on in January and during Wrestlemania, I remember telling her that I was so proud of how far she has come. In this business you don’t just create and learn how to talk, and when we think about her being your [Ric Flair] daughter, and coming out of our shadow, but then also, you have to step in the ring and perform at an extremely high level with Raw and Smackdown. She is a poised, beautiful woman that I have known for such a long time from being a child to a woman, I was bursting with pride, so I can only imagine what you’re like when you watch her perform now. She says that she calls you and lets you know which segment she is going to be on so you can watch her, and I told her that I don’t think you have to call and tell him which segment you are on, I think he watches all of the time. It’s so cool, because I run into it at ESPN, when you are so good at something, when you are doing that day in and day out, because there are millions of people trying to get to our level, and I try to remember that the level I am at, the level Charlotte is at, it’s at the highest level, and how do you stay there? How do you get better? The person I spoke to, I could not be more proud where she is at. She is an incredible performer in the ring.