Donald "Don" Ronald West
(born June 20
) is an American professional wrestling color commentator
and television personality
. In the late 1990s, West achieved a degree of fame for his loud, energetic, abrasive sales pitches on late night television, with his persuasive style turning him into a minor pop culture
figure. Since 2002, West has worked for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
, providing color commentary alongside Mike Tenay
during episodes of TNA Impact!
and TNA pay-per-views
. He was recently released from TNA wrestling
the Nashville, Tennessee WNSR radio station
West was born in Chicago. He graduated from Purdue University, where he majored in sports broadcasting.
Shop at Home Network
West initially became involved with television shopping when he applied for a job with the Shop at Home Network
as the host of a sports memorablia show, Sports Collectibles
. Despite his degree in sports broadcasting (and the fact that his brother Dale was the chief financial officer
of the Shop at Home Network), West was rejected on the basis of his "scrabbly voice". In 1991, West began selling knives on television, and in March 1993, he was finally given the job with the Shop at Home Network that he had applied for. Between 1993 and 2001, sales rose from US$3
million to US$150 million. In addition to sports memorabilia, West also pitched products such as Beanie Babies
Between November 1996 and March 1997, Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan parodied West and his co-host, Eddy Lewis, on three episodes of Saturday Night Live.
West amicably left the Shop at Home Network in 2001, and began hosting a sports talk show on the WNSR radio station.
In 2000, West was contacted by World Championship Wrestling booker Vince Russo, who invited him to join the company. West declined the offer in favor of "the sure thing" (WCW was purchased by its chief competitor, the World Wrestling Federation, in March 2001).
According to the December 9, 2007 episode of Shop At Home's The Sports Room show with hosts Kevin Hite and Shawn Leflar, Don West will be a guest host on the December 16, 2007 episode of The Sports Room. Host Kevin Hite made the announcement, to the dismay of co-host Shawn Leflar.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
In 2002, West was hired by Jeff Jarrett, who had been introduced to West by Vince Russo, to serve as the color commentator for his newly-formed professional wrestling promotion, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. West made his professional wrestling debut on June 19, 2002, commentating on the inaugural TNA pay-per-view alongside Ed Ferrara and Mike Tenay. Ferrera departed TNA in August 2002, reducing the commentary team to Tenay and West.
Aside from commentating, West accompanies Jeremy Borash on the YouTube-based show TNA Today, where he promotes new TNA merchandise and special packages, called "Don West's Insane Daily Deals". Don West will also be an unlockable character along with providing commentary in the first ever "TNA Impact" video game.
In his time as a wrestling color commentator, Don West has been widely and harshly criticised. Prior to working for TNA, Don West was literally so ignorant of professional wrestling that he did not even know the names of the moves, and even went as far as to ask "Why wasn't he disqualified for that?" when a wrestler in a tag team match broke up a pin attempt.
Championships and accomplishments