Behind The ScenesSportsCenter

Turnbuckle smash: “Coach’s Crew” bringing ESPN and WWE together

Editor’s Note: The Dudley Boyz, the most decorated tag team in sports entertainment history, will join Jonathan Coachman on tonight’s edition of SportsCenter’s “Off The Top Rope” segment at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS.

When SportsCenter anchor Jonathan Coachman arrived at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., for “WWE Monday Night Raw” this week, it was truly a homecoming.

WWE superstar Bubba Ray Dudley (The Dudley Boyz) on WWE, ESPN:

“I remember when I was here [WWE] 10 years ago, it was huge. When me and my partner came back, we couldn’t believe how much it had grown to the point where even ESPN has realized how important the WWE is to the world of sports and entertainment. I think the relationship between ESPN and WWE so far has gone together like peanut butter and jelly, it just works so well.

Being in the sports entertainment/professional wrestling industry for 25 years, [I know] people who watch sports – baseball, football, hockey, basketball – all those people are diehard wrestling fans also. They need a place where they can know who hit a home run, who threw a touchdown and who hit a superplex off the top rope.”

“The Coach,” as he’s affectionately known, spent 10 years as an on-air personality with WWE. Though Coachman’s been with ESPN for the past eight years, his WWE relationships and connections remain as strong as ever. WWE employees – ranging from behind-the-scenes production personnel, to legends such as Ric Flair and rising stars like A.J. Styles – were excited about Coachman’s and ESPN’s on-site presence.

Now, Coachman and his crew are utilizing those connections to create compelling content for various ESPN platforms, highlighted by his weekly SportsCenter segment “Off The Top Rope,” which airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS/WatchESPN.

In addition to the weekly segment, the ESPN WWE team is expanding its reach. Producer Ashoka Moore, ops specialist Erik Barone, senior preditor (content edit) Matt Jason, social media producer Steve Braband, editor Bryan Bishop and producer Greg Colli compose Coachman’s crew. They also create a new digital segment, “Post to Post,” and continue the social media push which has spawned excellent engagement amongst SportsCenter viewers and WWE fans alike.

In the video below, Front Row was able to steal a few minutes with Coachman to discuss the ESPN-WWE connection, his on-site activity at “Raw” and what’s in store going forward.

Dave Williams and Ben Cafardo edited this video.

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