Former WWE commentator says Vince McMahon punished him for not going to Afghanistan. That was the first time he told his boss no and paid for it.
Jonathan Coachman recently told the story of the first time he refused to something Vince McMahon asked him to do and what the consequences of it were. During a recent Ask Coach Anything Live podcast, he recalled getting beaten up by The Undertaker and Dave Batista on television for it.
Coachman revealed that years ago, he told Vince that he didn’t want to go to Afghanistan. With his child on the way, his wife wasn’t keen on him being in the middle of a warzone.
At first Vince thought he was joking but once he realized that the Coach really wasn’t coming, he came up with an angle. One that seemed to have been written as a punishment to the commentator.
Former WWE commentator says Vince McMahon punished him for not going to Afghanistan
“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 pissed 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.”