Jonathan Coachman: WWE Punished Me For Not Going To Event In Afghanistan Warzone
Coachman's second run with WWE came to an end in 2018
Jonathan Coachman has revealed how he was beaten up by The Undertaker and Batista to close a WWE show after refusing to go to an event in the Afghanistan warzone.
WWE began producing Tribute To The Troops in 2003 and, in theory, the decision whether to go on the trip was left with each individual performer. Coachman, whose first run in WWE lasted from 1999 to 2008, did one show but then, with a child on the way, opted out of the second.
The Coach has now spoken about how he was then told he was being beaten up by The Undertaker and Batista on the show after.
During a Q&A session on the AdFreeShows Patreon, Coachman said: "This is a story that I've never told. I actually did do it [stand up to Vince and say no] and I'm still a little p*ssed about it, to be honest with you.
"So here's what happened. Back in 2004/2005, the years are blurry, but that's when we were doing our shows in Afghanistan and it was supposed to be that if you didn't want to go you didn't have to. Supposed to be completely up to you because we're going into a war zone and they couldn't make you do it. That's what was told to us.
"So my first child was about to be born six 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.
"Well, to travel to Afghanistan you had to put your name on a list with the Pentagon and all the military and all that, you know, to get clearance, and so I showed up to the building the day that we were supposed to leave in Charleston, South Carolina, and they came out and asked for my bags. I said, ‘I told you I wasn't going.’ They said, ‘I thought you were kidding.’ I said, ‘I'm not kidding about that.’ So I thought it was cool. At the last minute, they were able to get someone because you can only take 18 people. That's why it was so important, you can only take 18, and 12 crew guys, 30 people total.
"So the next week, I was down doing commentary and 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 came over and said, ‘You need to go hit The Undertaker from behind.’ I said, ‘Why?’ He was just like, ‘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 and 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 refuse to go to a warzone... for the second time! I went the year before. So it's not like I said no. I mean, it was just crazy."