Practical jokes and ribs have existed in wrestling as long as the sport itself. But there is one particular rib that Vince McMahon claims stands above all others as the greatest in WWE history.
During an interview with Chris Van Vliet back in 2021, former WWE announcer Jonathan Coachman recalled an incident where Vince McMahon had him arrested as a prank. The incident took place in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 2001 and was set into motion by Gerald Brisco who asked Coachman if he would run a football pool backstage. Keen to get the pool together, Coachman made a number of photocopies of the list of games and set about collecting money from everyone backstage.
Vince McMahon Threw His Dirty Boxer Shorts At Jonathan Coachman
After being requested to go to the other end of the arena, Coachman was intercepted by two state troopers.
“They’re like ‘Are you Mr Coachman?’ I said ‘Yes.’ They said ‘Are you selling illegal football tickets?’ I said, ‘No.’ They said ‘Is this yours?’ They showed me one of my photocopies. They said ‘Just so you know it’s a felony in the state of North Carolina to run an illegal football pool, and unfortunately we’re going to have to take you downtown.’ Now my heart’s just going.”
Coachman said that he pleaded his case that it was only for ten dollars, but it made no difference. This led to him being marched to Vince McMahon’s office as the police officers wanted to tell him what had taken place.
“There was little things that should have tipped me off, but I was terrified. I walk in and there’s five people in the room. Vince, Triple H, Stephanie [McMahon] Gerald Brisco and Kevin Dunn. So I walk in and he looks up and they say, ‘Excuse me Mr McMahon but Mr Coachman is running an illegal football pool in the state of North Carolina, and we just wanted to let you know that unfortunately we’re going to have to arrest him.’
Vince walks over, and his face is right here [puts his hand next to his face] He goes, ‘A football pool, a f*cking football pool? Do you not have anything else to do with your time all day than run a football pool?!’ I don’t say anything, I’m staring right at Gerald Brisco who’s the one who asked me to run it, and I’m like, are gonna step up at some point and help me out? He says nothing.
The cops say, ‘Well Mr McMahon it’s going to be $1500 to bail Mr Coachman out of jail, will you be helping him with that?’ He looks at me and he goes, ‘F*ck no, he’s on his own.’ They said ‘We’re going to have to take him all of the way down to the station, will you be sending someone to pick him up?’ He goes, ‘F*ck no, he’s on his own.’
They said ‘Well unfortunately when someone’s been arrested for a felony, they have to be handcuffed. So we’re gonna have to put handcuffs on him. Do you have a towel or something so we can at least cover his hands so people don’t see that he’s handcuffed.’ Vince walks over to his gym bag, back then he used to work out all of the time. He picks up his boxer shorts that he wore to work out in that day, and whips them at me and they stick to my face. So I’ve got Vince’s ball sweat on my face.”
The former announcer continued explaining that the police officer then removed the boxers and placed them over his hands as they walked out of the office. But as they walked out, he walked straight into The Undertaker. Coachman said that he had “never felt more shame in his life,” than at that moment.
After being escorted out of the arena, Coachman was placed in the back of a car where WWE’s head of security instructed him to say nothing and he would bail him out. After driving off a message came over the radio to pick up the Head of Security. But when they got back to the arena, Vince McMahon had everyone standing in the parking lot to greet him. Coachman said everyone was patting him on the back and really excited, but he ran into a quiet corner of the arena where he cried tears of relief that he wasn’t going to jail.
Jonathan Coachman initially joined WWE in 1999, going on to work as an interviewer, announcer and presenter. In 2003, his on-screen role expanded as he became assistant to Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff. For the next five years, ‘The Coach’ would hold similar on-screen authority roles while sometimes still working as an announcer.
Coach returned the announce booth full-time in early 2008, before leaving the company when his contract expired later that year. After joining ESPN, Coachman made occasional appearances on WWE television before re-signing with the company in 2018. Coach initially returned to the Raw commentary booth but was later moved to the kick-off show for pay-per-views, and leaving the company the same year.
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