You can’t have Tenay without TNA, and where would TNA be without Tenay.
The Professor Mike Tenay steers the ship as the lead announcer for TNA Impact Wrestling and TNA pay-per-views. The importance of calling a match is very integral to the development of talent and the company.
A good announcer can make a good match better and a struggling match bearable. With his experience, knowledge and teamwork, Tenay makes it work, making him one of the best announcers going today.
Tenay, 58, is a TNA original, handling the lead commentator’s position at the TNA Impact Wrestling broadcast table at Universal Studios Orlando. Prior, he took advantage of his opportunities in WCW.
• Originally from Los Angeles, Tenay debuted with WCW announcing the WCW/AAA When Worlds Collide pay-per-view in November 1994. That was his big break.
His vast knowledge of the wrestlers and lucha style in Mexico, thanks in part to friend Konnan, made him the perfect fit for the position, calling the When World Collide action along with Chris Cruise. With the success of that event, WCW added more luchadores to the roster, so Tenay appeared as a guest announcer during their pay-per-view matches.
Tenay later served as a full-time play-by-play announcer for WCW Worldwide and WCW Saturday Night. He was also backstage interviewer for Uncensored 1995. On Sept. 2, 1996, he was moved to the main show, WCW Monday Nitro, where he served as a third commentator to the team of play-by-play announcer Tony Schiavone and color commentator Bobby Heenan. Using a three-man booth posed a challenge, but they made it work. Sometimes Tenay even found himself as part of a four-man ensemble calling the in-ring action in WCW. Sometimes less is more.
Schiavone nicknamed him The Professor for his vast and impressive knowledge of the wrestling business, history and maneuvers, especially with the luchadores and Japanese talent. Schiavone’s inspiration for the name came from the Atlanta Braves broadcast team, also on Ted Turner’s TBS. Turner owned WCW and the Braves. Calling Braves games was also a three-man team with Skip Carey, Ernie Johnson and The Professor Pete van Wieren.
• The Professor, TNA’s version, opened with pitchman Don West and currently sits alongside former ECW original Taz. He notes the differences between those two broadcast partners.
Not even the Professor could have rationalized the company’s success using a backward formula from that one that’s worked for years.
No weekly free television or house shows. TNA debuted with weekly pay-per-views, an unheard of approach. Somehow the Bizarro World concept led to bigger and better, morphing into a 10-year-old company and counting.
• A student of the game, Tenay realized the potential of the luchador style. A California native, Tenay remembers watching Mil Mascaras and Black Gordman and Goliath, some of Mexico’s finest who helped pioneer the luchador style in the United States, especially California and Texas, across the border.
Tenay was hooked with that fast-paced, precise, action-packed style. Later in life, through Konnan (the Hulk Hogan of Mexico), Tenay traveled to Mexico, home of AAA, learning the history, holds, moves and names of those working it. Rey Mysterio Jr., Juventud Guerrero and more. With no Internet nor cable or DVDs, Tenay watched Japanese wrestling through video tapes he purchased in California.