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Mike Tenay reflects on Don West, tributes from WWE and AEW

West passed away on December 30, 2022.

Mike Tenay opened up regarding his friendship with Don West on Wrestling Observer Radio. 

Tenay joined our own Dave Meltzer and Garrett Gonzales and spoke about his friend and former colleague in the wake of his passing on December 30, 2022. 

Tenay said:

Everybody goes to this card, the larger-than-life personality, Don was the definition of that. The definition of larger than life personality and he had a heart to match.

You can see by the social media reaction, universally loved by everybody that worked with him and I think equally respected even by those who didn't work with him. We've seen by TV tributes from both the WWE, which I have to say was a very pleasant surprise, and by AEW. 

In the wrestling business, and I think it's just by the nature of the business, you make a lot of great aquaintences but very few great friends and that's exactly what he was. 

Tenay was asked about what made Don succeed in his role and what was his best trait as a broadcaster.

Simply his energy. If we look back on the history of wrestling announcers, and I'm willing to be corrected here, I don't think there really was anyone before that was really like him from that energy standpoint. 

He was hired to be the voice of the fan. I'm not sure thinking back on it that I thought that he was going to succeed right from the start but when you see someone's energy level, which is one thing, combined with the passion that they have for it, I think that's where it's different from somebody who is just playing a role and being loud. 

Tenay also reflected on something Meltzer once said that is perhaps the greatest compliment his commentary pairing with West ever received.

As I think back on it, the greatest compliment we got came from you, Dave, which didn't come until really the last couple of years and that was when AXS TV started replaying some of the older TNA and some of the older Impact shows and you had explained to me that you had watched the first-run Impact show and you essentially started to go back to work and you had left the TV on and as you sat there you heard that energy, you heard that passion from Mike Tenay and Don West. 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.