IMPACT Wrestling recently lost one of its defining voices, as Don West sadly passed away last month.
The 59-year-old joined the company during its early days in 2002. There, he served on commentary alongside his future long-time partner, Mike Tenay. The duo would call the in-ring action together for IMPACT until West’s heel turn in 2009. Subsequently, West moved to the merchandise development and sales department. With more than a decade spent under the IMPACT banner, West’s legacy remains a largely positive one, especially for Gail Kim.
The IMPACT Hall of Famer recently spoke with The Generation of Wrestling Podcast about her memories with the late announcer. “I always say this and I’m not even exaggerating, I don’t have one negative. I worked with him for years and we did all the live events and a full-time schedule. We saw each other every week. I don’t have one negative memory of Don,” Kim explained. “That voice you heard, that excitement, that positivity you heard, when he was commentating, that’s who he truly was backstage. [He was] just positive, the excitement for the matches. He’d always be so complimentary.”
“He would say, ‘You and [Awesome] Kong, you make it so easy to call a match because I’m just so really invested in it’. He just made you feel good all the time. It was just heartbreaking because I did get to talk to him before he passed. He wasn’t in a good place. So, I guess I was prepared somewhat mentally in some way. I knew it wasn’t going well, but it doesn’t help the sting once the real news gets delivered. Because he was so beloved by so many, it was a really hard one to deal with for a lot of people.”
“I think I want to see him and Mike Tenay in the Hall of Fame this year. I think it’s definitely most fitting and deserved,” she said.
At IMPACT’s Hard To Kill pay-per-view last week, the company opened the show with a ten-bell salute to Don West, with the locker room and officials present on stage.
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