WWE Hall Of Fame and arguably the greatest interviewer in wrestling history ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund passed away today at the age of 76.
Okerlund, a staple of both WWF and WCW’s most notable periods, began his career in the AWA, interviewing the likes of Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura, Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan and a young Hulk Hogan.
He made the move to WWE in 1984, becoming a staple of the ‘rock and wrestling’ era, not only interviewing stars backstage but branching out from interviewing by providing ringside commentary and hosting several shows, including All-American Wrestling, Tuesday Night Titans, Wrestling Challenge and Prime Time Wrestling. Okerlund even sung the National Anthem at the first WrestleMania in 1985. Later that year, Okerlund would sing “Tutti Frutti” on WWE’s The Wrestling Album.
He moved to World Championship Wrestling in 1993, where he stayed until it’s closure 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. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
Many of wrestling’s biggest stars have paid their respects to Gene:
Devastated to hear the news of my friend Gene Okerlund’s passing. He was, and will always be, pro wrestling greatest stick man #meangene
— Tony Schiavone (@tonyschiavone24) January 2, 2019
Mean Gene I love you my brother HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) January 2, 2019
A voice and sound track to an entire era of our industry. He was the star of some of @WWE’s most memorable segments. “Mean Gene” was beloved by all who got to work with him. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. https://t.co/9ddj6372eE
— Triple H (@TripleH) January 2, 2019
TWM extends our condolences to Okerlund’s friends and family.