A Legend in the professional wrestling business has passed away at the age of 76.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund legendary wrestling announcer has passed away.
As a kid I used to love watching Mean Gene’s interviews with the likes of Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Hulk Hogan, The Junkyard Dog, and others. His voice and his tenure will forever be etched in my memories from our childhood.
The WWE released the following statement this morning.
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Gene Okerlund, the most recognizable interviewer in sports-entertainment history, has passed away at age 76.
In his early days, “Mean Gene”, as he was named by fellow Minnesotan, Jesse “The Body” Ventura first came to prominence by interviewing the greatest stars of the AWA, including Ventura, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Hulk Hogan. In 1984, Okerlund made the move to WWE where he became a staple on national cable television by continuing to interview the biggest names in sports-entertainment like Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and many more.
Okerlund branched out from interviewing by providing ringside commentary and hosting several shows, including All-American Wrestling, Tuesday Night Titans, Wrestling Challenge and Prime Time Wrestling. Announcing wasn’t all that Okerlund could do with a microphone, as his distinct voice sung the National Anthem at the first WrestleMania in 1985. Later that year, Okerlund would sing “Tutti Frutti” on WWE’s The Wrestling Album.
In 1993, Okerlund joined WCW as lead interviewer where he continued to interview many of the legends he had worked with in the AWA and WWE as well as WCW stalwarts, Sting, Diamond Dallas Page, Goldberg and others.
In 2001, Okerlund returned to WWE to call the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17 along with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and continued to appear on WWE television programming, including being a cast member on WWE Network’s Legends’ House.
WWE extends its condolences to Okerlund’s family, friends and fans.
Rest in Peace my friend, until we meet again Gene.
Matt Couch is the founder of America First Investigations and the CEO of the D.C. Chronicle News Group. Follow Matt on Twitter @RealMattCouch