Legendary wrestling commentator Mike Tenay has been reflecting on the career of former broadcast colleague Don West following his sad passing in December.
West and Tenay were considered as the voices of TNA Wrestling and played a pivotal role during the success of the promotion, buoyed by their tremendous off-screen camaraderie.
West lost his battle with lymphoma aged just 59 at the end of 2022 and Tenay recently spoke with Wrestling Observer Radio to look back on their special friendship and West’s contribution to professional wrestling as a whole.
Don West was hired to be the voice of the fans
Well, I think simply his energy [was Don’s best trait]. “He was hired to be the voice of the fan. Combined with the passion that they have for it, I think that’s where it’s different from somebody who’s just playing a role and being loud. I remember watching back one of the shows, and I came to a conclusion, almost immediately, that I needed to get my volume level up if I was going to compete and if I wasn’t going to be left on the side of the road.
You heard that passion from Mike Tenay and Don West, and I think, not to put words in your mouth, but I think your level of appreciation for what we did grew greatly because you realized at that point that nobody really was doing that kind of an announcing job.
Tributes to the 59 year old poured in from around the wrestling world, with the likes of WWE announcer Michael Cole, IMPACT president Scott D’Amore and former NWA World Champion Nick Aldis all paying their respects to West.
But it was Tenay who offered the most emotional tribute to his friend, speaking passionately about their time together at the announce booth. ‘The Professor’ noted that it wasn’t until nearly a year into their work as a duo that he knew they had formed a special team:
I would think probably about a year or so in where it really felt like we both were working in tandem. The personal friendship and relationship that you have with your broadcast partner can be a great help. I don’t think it’s in the announcer’s handbook that you need to be — the play-by-play guy doesn’t need to be best friends with his color man, but it sure helps. I can’t say one specific show, but I think probably somewhere between nine months to a year in. The familiarity and the friendship that’s grown. That’s when you know that you’re hitting your stride
H/T to Fightful for the above transcription.