Jonathan Coachman Opens Up About The Reasons He Decided To Make The Leap From WWE To ESPN In 2008

Nick Hausman

The latest episode of former WCW President Eric Bischoff’s podcast Bischoff on Wrestling was released yesterday. It features Eric’s over hour long interview with his former RAW GM Assistant and current ESPN personality Jonathan Coachman.

We have transcribed Coachman’s comments regarding why he decided to make the transition from WWE to ESPN below.

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JC: When I was getting ready to leave WWE it was for several reasons. My first child was born. I was going to have two kids. I did not want to miss all of those early years. That was one of the reasons. If it was just my kids I could have handled that but I was like, “If I don’t leave now I may not be alive to see my kids grow up.” It can be a destructive lifestyle if you allow it to be. I was not always the most mature person on the road and all of the pitfalls that come with it. The one thing that used to drive me nuts is when certain guys would blame Vince for their mistakes. That drove me crazy. It still does to this day. Vince, or you in WCW, would supply an outlet for them to perform. It’s up to them to live the lifestyle. It’s up to them to be responsible. It’s up to them to get from town to town to town. I always did that. I am also lucky on a lot of levels that I made it through those ten years. When I decided I’ve got to get out the biggest reason was because this was not my dream. WWE was not my dream. ESPN was my dream. Sportscasting was my dream. If I signed one more contract that stigmatism and being a “wrestling guy”… I was going to have no shot at ever making it in mainstream sports again. I knew that. I felt that. So I believe it was 2006 or 2005 I started sending tapes out to these small cable networks and they all said the same thing, “We think you’re talented call us when you’re not in wrestling.” I wanted to do both. I still had another two years left on my deal. I’d just get, “Nope, you’re a wrestling guy.” Every place I went. It was beginning to be very discouraging and I didn’t know what to do.

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Related: Jonathan Coachman On His Early WWE Years, Becoming The Rock’s “Guy”, Working w/ Michael Cole, More

This week’s episode of Bischoff on Wrestling starts with Eric talking to Nick about their weird arm wrestling connection before telling Nick the story of how he broke his forearm.

Eric also takes a moment at the top of the show to comment on the recent sale of TNA to Anthem. He also offers an update on his current lawsuit with TNA.

Eric then welcomes his guest for the week his former WWE RAW GM Assistant and current ESPN personality Jonathan Coachman! Coachman speaks candidly to Eric about:

  • What his dream job was when he was a child
  • Growing up in a diverse family
  • His parents reaction to him working for WWE
  • Wanting to be an actor when he was in college
  • His brief job as a “Boyfriend In A Box”
  • What it was like covering Owen Hart’s passing while working as a local reporter in Kansas City
  • Who at WWE was the person that hired him
  • What his first few years with WWE were like
  • Learning to wrestle because he was getting so much heat
  • Why he was nervous to do his first physical thing ever in the ring
  • Tajiri’s tendency to mess with people
  • The effect The Rock leaving WWE had on his Hollywood career
  • Why he left WWE for ESPN and what that transition was like
  • The stigma of being a “wrestling guy” on ESPN
  • Ronda Rousey’s most recent loss
  • Who his “One Bad Cat” is
  • What’s something about him that we don’t know
  • More…

Eric then closes the show by answering some fan questions from the #BischoffOnWrestling mailbag.

You can listen to the full archives from Bischoff on Wrestling in the embedded audio player below:

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