Jonathan Coachman might be best known for the decade he spent with WWE from 1998 to 2008. During that time, he was a well-put-upon backstage interviewer, and a slightly-less-put-upon heel manager and authority figure. He eventually moved on to ESPN to become a SportsCenter anchor, but has popped up in WWE from time to time over the past decade for guest appearances.
Back in 2015, WWE and ESPN really ramped up their working relationship with a weekly “Off the Top Rope” segment during SportsCenter that was hosted by Coachman. The segment eventually disappeared from ESPN in the past year, as did Coachman.
In October, Coachman announced that he has parted ways with ESPN, but he hadn’t really elaborated on his decision to leave, beyond vaguely answering some Twitter questions from fans and saying that a full-time return to the world of pro wrestling wasn’t necessarily out of the question.
On the latest episode of the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast, Coachman elaborated on his decision to leave ESPN, and it had a lot to do with ESPN being reluctant to get fully on board with their coverage of WWE.
“I took a long time off [from watching wrestling regularly], but now that I am transitioning away from ESPN and I’m starting to control my content and what I do and once I am able to announce what my next venture is than certainly everybody will know. I am going to be doing three or four different things and it had gotten to a point at ESPN where they didn’t want to embrace my background which is WWE and they want to have their toe in the water but not both feet in and that becomes very frustrating.
“I started watching it again intently to keep my skills sharp. I started a show on Periscope and Twitter every single day and it’s just thirty minuets talking about 3 or 4 different topics depending on the day and depending on what we talk about so I watch Raw every week and I watch Smackdown every week. I think there is a part of me now that I am free and no longer under contract [because at ESPN] they own you and tell you what you can and cannot do and I missed performing outside of the studio.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever go back [to WWE] and I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything with them again but I want to have the freedom to do it so I started watching it again a lot lately and if for some reason I am called upon I am ready to go.”
Coachman covered a lot of other topics on the show, including what it’s like to be produced by Vince McMahon, and his infamous interactions with the Rock. Perhaps we’ll be seeing Coachman back on WWE television someday. It could realistically happen at any time now.