Jonathan Coachman: Corey Graves Didn't Want Me On WWE Raw Commentary
Coach felt "miserable" during his short stint
Back in January 2018, Jonathan Coachman re-signed with WWE after 10 years away from the company and he immediately became a colour commentator on Monday Night Raw alongside Michael Cole and Corey Graves. Coachman would only last nine months in the role, though, before he was replaced by Renee Young in September.
Coach has since departed WWE and the former announcer detailed why his 2018 commentary stint was so short during a recent edition of "Ask Coach Anything Live":
"Here's what happened. This is one of the stories I wanted to get into. When they called me to come back, I left ESPN. Part of the reason I left is I wanted to do more golf. I had been there for 10 years. I had done all the big shows at ESPN. I had done First Take, Mike & Mike, and all those, but yet they wouldn't give me the ball and run with it. I was allowed to go back and do a couple of things while I was at ESPN. I started talking to executives. Michael Cole said, 'We would love to have you back. You can do this. Then we'll let you do all this other stuff because it helps us credibility-wise.' They were okay with everything," Coach began.
"I think this is one of the things that I just don't get to this day about the way they operate at WWE because it doesn't have to be this way. They can do it a different way and have more positive results. I already had a deal to be the voice of the World Long Drive Tour. I already signed it. The one thing I'm not going to do is go back to somebody and say, 'I've already signed this contract but now I'm backing out on it.' That's something I've never done and I never would do. It's bad business if you do because guess what bridge you just burned? That one, and that one was on Golf Channel. That was part of the reason why I left ESPN. I had five Mondays that I had to miss. They knew all of this. This was not something that I sprung on them one week. I could tell after I missed the first one, and whoever filled in, I can't remember, and then Renee (Young) filled in.
"I actually felt bad for Renee because I know how hard it is to do that. After the initial, 'Oh, she's awesome' then came the venom. That's the one thing I wish wrestling fans would just let go of sometimes. Damn, it's just a TV show. It's entertainment. It's two hours, and then you go back to your life. It's not life or death, so when they go on social media and they bust these people, it just doesn't make any sense to me. For somebody like me who has other avenues, I can take it. I'm good," Coach continued.
"I think at his core, Corey (Graves) is a really good guy. I don't think he ever wanted a three-person booth. When I used to work with King and JR, we would actually work together. They would give me lines to say. You see some of the great stuff like when Kane's fire would hit, I would fall over backwards. We all worked on that. Corey just didn't want to do that. He just didn't want me there. You could tell by the things he would say. There was certainly a lack of respect for me being a veteran and for me having that time at ESPN. I certainly never walked in and said, 'I'm taking this over. This is my space.' I never did that. You can ask anybody. Every single week, it got more and more difficult to work with him. It was clear he wanted Renee because they are very, very good friends," he added.
"To be honest with you, I didn't enjoy it. I wanted to be the heel Coach. I wanted to bring that character back. Vince, and again, this was him trying to take care of me, but this is when sometimes I wish they would just trust us a little bit more because of my time at ESPN, he wanted to protect that credibility. He felt like if I went back to talking trash or being a manager of somebody, that they wouldn't have the credibility on Monday Night Raw with me at the desk that I had, and I would lose it at ESPN. None of the places I work with now, not even the PGA Tour, and you would think they would be the most conservative, they don't care if I do professional wrestling because that bridge has now been crossed. I was the first one to do it. The reason why it was so important was so others could do both, so you wouldn't walk in the room and say, 'I want to do wrestling and boxing, or wrestling and basketball' and somebody would tell you, 'No.' That's why it was so important at that time for me to stay in both.
"To stay doing Golf, to stay doing sports while I was also doing Monday Night Raw was very, very important because now you see with the AEW's coming in, you have to have guys that crossover. Whether it's somebody like me, The Rock, Cena, Batista, you have to have guys that are bigger than your audience, so you bring in other people. That short-sightedness is affecting them to this day. I got a call after the fifth Monday, and I could tell it was coming because I could feel that Vince wasn't happy with me missing, and understand that in 10 years, from '99-2008, do you know how many Monday Night Raws I've missed in 10 years? I missed one, and that was for my honeymoon, and that was it. I even went to Raw the Monday after I got married. I didn't even miss that one so I could take a 10-day honeymoon," Coach stated.
"I was as dedicated as anyone that's ever been. I can promise you that. So to miss five times in six or seven months, they acted like I sprung it on them, like, 'You're not dedicated to us', when I said, 'I literally talked to you about it the day you called me', and you said, 'Yes, this is very important for us too.' So it completely changed from that January to when, I don't even remember when they took me off, August or September. To be honest, I was ecstatic to go back to the pre-show. That was awesome because that's where I thrive is being the host of a panel or being a character, not sitting on Monday Night Raw and SmackDown when you're miserable because the people don't want to work with you. I couldn't make Corey want to work with me. I just couldn't do it, so I was very happy. People used to tweet at me, 'Oh, you idiot. You got demoted.' The cheque didn't change, I had more fun, and I travelled only once a month instead of every single week. I see that as a win if you ask me."
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