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Michael Cole’s SmackDown tribute one of many for the late Don West

Don West died recently, a year-and-a-half after he was diagnosed with brain cancer. The 59 year old was a staple of TNA Wrestling’s first decade. Whether he was serving as Mike Tenay’s announcing partner or a merchandise pitchman, his infectious enthusiasm about the product & wrestling in general made a lasting impression and earned him a spot in our hearts.

That love was evident in the hours after Tenay shared the news of his friend’s death, including on WWE television where SmackDown’s Michael Cole offered a goodbye (with a slick allusion to the promotion West was synonymous with) before the first match on the Dec. 30 episode.

Not everyone got to express their thoughts & feelings about West on FOX, but that doesn’t make the outpouring on social media any less impactful...

It’s telling that so many of the tributes include personal anecdotes, and are generally just more than a simple “R.I.P.” Don West seemed to touch the lives of those around him the same way he reached many of us on the other end of a television broadcast.

No wonder we wanted to watch wrestling with him.

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