Jonathan Coachman has revealed the “punishment” he received in the ring that he thinks came about for refusing to go with the company to Afghanistan.
Speaking on a special ‘Ask Coach Anything’ podcast for AdFreeShows.com, the former WWE broadcaster opened up about a range of topics. One story that stills rankles with Coach is the reaction to his refusal to go to Afghanistan for a show with the company while his wife was pregnant.
According to Jonathan Coachman, everyone was told the trip was voluntary, but yet people claimed to think he was joking when he said no to going:
“This is a story that I never told, and I’m still a little p*ssed about it, to be honest with you. Here’s what happened. In 2004 or 2005, the years are blurry, but that’s when we were doing our shows in Afghanistan. It was supposed to be if you didn’t want to go, you didn’t have to. It was supposed to be completely up to you because we were going into a war zone, and they couldn’t make you do it. That’s what was told to us.”
“My first child was about to be born 6 months after that, so my wife at the time, she, and rightfully so, didn’t want me going to the middle of a war zone. So, I told the people who were setting it up at WWE, I said, ‘Listen, I’m not going.’ At that point, I had never said no to Vince once in my career, not for anything, so they thought I was joking.”
“To travel to Afghanistan, you have to put your name on a list with the Pentagon and the military to get clearance. I showed up to the building the day that we were supposed to leave in Charleston, South Carolina. They came out and asked for my bags. I said, ‘I told you I wasn’t going. They said, ‘We thought you were kidding.’ I said, ‘I’m not kidding about that.’ I thought it was cool. You could only take 18 people. That’s why it was so important. You can only take 18, and 12 crew guys, 30 people total.”
Jonathan Coachman found himself back at the announce desk the next week when he was suddenly told he was to get in the ring with The Undertaker. Coach says he knew what was awaiting him when he got in the ring and claims not going to Afghanistan was why:
“The next week, I was down doing commentary. There’s always been a culture of, I don’t want to use the word hazing because I didn’t get hazed. That wasn’t this. Punishment perhaps? But when the show was over, one of the referees, I can’t remember who it was, Undertaker was ending the show, and he (the referee) came over and said, ‘You have to go hit The Undertaker from behind.’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘That’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. He came down and he 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 still getting my ass handed to me because I refused to go to a war zone for the second time. I went the year before. It was crazy. I was furious about that. The one thing about Vince that I have taken that’s positive is he has this incredible ability to forget what just happened the week before. You can be in a knockdown, drag-out, screaming fight with him, which a lot of people have done, and you think, ‘Oh my goodness. My job’s on the line. They’re not going to keep me. They’re going to fire me’, whatever the case might be. You see him the next week and he’s like, ‘Hey pal. How you doing?’ That’s kind of how he is. I took every finisher they had. I’m proud of the fact that I could take all the finishers, but was it the right thing to do? No, because I always did the right thing without fail.”