Grading Coach

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September 26, 2007

MILWAUKEE -- Jonathan Coachman was helped out of the ring by WWE officials Monday night on Raw and back to his office -- or what will presumably be General Manager William Regal's office once again when he returns to Raw next week.

Coachman lay on the office couch, aching from John Cena's bone-bruising FU through the very table Coach tried to get the WWE Champion to lay his title down upon. His authority as Acting General Manager had been defied once again -- this time, perhaps, for the final time. And the boisterous cheers that rattled the Bradley Center when The Champ was given free reign to batter Coach by Mr. McMahon -- Hornswoggle McMahon -- still rang in his ears, haunting him and filling him with anger.

Coachman had done his best to show that he, not William Regal, deserved to be the permanent GM of Raw. He had tried to show that he could keep the chaotic Raw locker room under control and command respect from -- and be feared by - the Superstars. Coach would have proven his mettle as GM to the Chairman by stripping Cena of the WWE Championship. He tried and tried and apparently, it just wasn't enough. Where had Coachman gone wrong?

To some observers, the former commentator hasn't lived up to the high standards he set for himself. But WWE.com wants you to decide. Here's a look at Coachman's performance since he took over as Acting GM of Raw for his injured boss Regal on Sept. 3.

First, the bad news on Coach's evaluation:

MINUSES:

  • The inability to control Hornswoggle -- Coachman was charged with keeping Mr. McMahon's little bastard under wraps, but he couldn't even keep track of him. This enabled, among other things, the leprechaun to hide in Mr. McMahon's limo and hitch a ride to the wedding of SmackDown GM Theodore Long and Kristal Marshall.
  • Failure as a goodwill ambassador -- Coach couldn't control Hornswoggle at Long and Marshall's wedding, and the illegitimate son of the Chairman caused chaos. At one point he ran under the dress of the beautiful bride, and Mr. McMahon looked mortified. Could that chaos have contributed to Long's collapse at the altar?
  • Can't control locker room leaks -- Coach tried to keep Hornswoggle satiated with the vivacious Melina, but the paparazzi princess let it slip that she was only taking the little guy out because the Acting Raw GM had promised her a Women's Title opportunity. Could this have inspired the other "Mr. McMahon" to thwart Coach's efforts to strip Cena of the WWE Championship?
  • He poured more fire on the very personal Cena-Orton war -- Coachman practically forced Cena's father to fight Randy Orton on Raw as punishment for his involvement at Unforgiven. Instead of just letting Mr. Cena indulge in some vengeance on Orton for an attack several weeks earlier, Coachman played a role in The Champ's father -- who is not a trained wrestler -- getting a severe beating at the hands of the Legend Killer. That's very poor judgment for a GM.
  • Alleged vindictive bias and abuse of power -- On Monday, Coachman initially announced he had suspended Orton "indefinitely" for his handcuffing of John Cena on Raw before his father's match. But then he told reporters that he had really only suspended him for 24 hours and that he condoned Mr. Cena's beating. Is this any way for a supposedly unbiased GM to act, especially if he is supposed to discipline Superstars?
  • Lack of respect in the Raw locker room -- Coachman has been repeatedly ridiculed over the years, so it's difficult to take him seriously. He could not get Cody Rhodes to obey his orders to stay out of Randy Orton's match with Mr. Cena, which showed the blatant lack of respect even the newest Raw Superstars have for the former executive toadie.

But all's not bad for Coach. Here are some of his highlights as Acting Raw GM:

PLUSES:

  • A keen eye for blockbuster matchups -- Minutes after WWE Champion John Cena was disqualified at Unforgiven, Coachman announced a Last Man Standing Match between him and Randy Orton at No Mercy. The no-disqualification, no-count-out, no-pinfall matchup could finally put the personal grudge between the two to rest. The WWE Championship main event at No Mercy between Cena and Orton is one of the most-anticipated matches of the year.
  • Coach is loyal and always mindful of the Chairman -- Coachman has always tried his best to keep decorum whenever Mr. McMahon is present. He provided security last Monday to protect Mr. McMahon and himself from a Cena reprisal. It wasn't entirely his fault that security scattered when The Champ started throwing chairs into the ring this past week. And it wasn't his fault that the inept security let Cena into the building weeks ago when he was explicitly banned from entering the arena after Orton attacked his father.
  • Takes a licking and keeps on ticking -- Coach has taken a lot of abuse, but he manages to stick around. If nothing else, he is a survivor. He endures setbacks and comes back for more abuse. Maybe that's a sign of blind stupidity, but even his most ardent critics should respect his persistence.

Comparing Coachman's performance to William Regal's time in the office may be like comparing apples to oranges. After winning a Battle Royal to earn his office in August, Regal looked to make Raw a more entertaining place while remaining unbiased and fair. He lived out his dream to be a game show host with unique versions of The Dating Game and WWE Idol.

Regal also gave fans unique and fun matches, and kept order fairly well until the night John Cena's father was attacked by the Legend Killer. The next week Regal made a major mistake rewarding Orton with a title opportunity at Unforgiven, and he was severely beaten by the enraged champion.

Fast forward to the present, Coachman appears to have dug his own grave in the General Manager's office, and he knows it. Locker room sources at the Bradley Center said Coachman was visibly distraught as he left for his waiting car, even stopping to touch the nameplate on the door with his name and title engraved on it. Onlookers said it was painful to watch a man seemingly broken after giving every ounce of effort he could to keep the locker room in line -- and propel himself up WWE's corporate ladder.

All things considered, has Coach shown that he deserves to be promoted to permanent General Manager of Raw? Or has he disappointed Raw and the Chairman beyond reproach?

It's time for the WWE Fan Nation to give Coach his final grade. How would you grade Jonathan Coachman? Vote here.

Vote: Should Coach be made permanent GM of Raw?

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