Mike Tenay has opened up about his relationship with Don West.
West sadly passed away last month after a battle with lymphoma, with wrestling fans, analysts, and superstars from all over paying respect to the legendary voice of TNA. Tenay spoke about his friend and colleague during a recent appearance on Wrestling Observer Radio. Check out what he had to say below.
On Don West’s enthusiasm at the commentary table:
Well, I think simply his energy [was Don’s best trait]. 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 anybody before that was really like him, from that energy standpoint. He took the listener, initially, he took them out of their comfort zone.
Says West being so charismatic forced him to step up his own game:
He was hired to be the voice of the fan, which, again, right at the start, I’m, 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’s just playing a role and being loud,” said Tenay. “I remember; I don’t think I probably watched the first couple of shows back until maybe we were three or four in. 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, because you had to have that. I think, probably, that might have been off-putting for people and viewers as well, just because a lot of it was a little extra loud than they were used to. Maybe a little over the top, maybe a little more salesmanship from Don than they were used to. Probably, as I think back on it, the greatest compliment that we got came from you Dave, which didn’t come until just really the last couple of years. That was when AXS TV started replaying some of the older TNA and some of the older IMPACT shows, and you would explain to me that you had watched the first run IMPACT show, and you essentially started to go back to work. 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, 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.
On developing a great chemistry with West:
I can’t narrow it down in terms of that with Don to say, ‘It was Slammiversary 2003, where we clicked, and we looked each other in the eye and said…’ I think it was the process of growing together and realizing along the way that we were getting better. We were clicking, and then you reach a comfort with your partner,” said Mike. “I think probably rather than say a specific show, if I had to narrow it down to a specific time, 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 that it’s 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 shit, it sure helps. Just because you know that you guys are out there on that island. I can’t say one specific show, but I think probably somewhere between, you know, six to 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 and transcribed by Fightful)