'Mean Gene' passes away at 76, leaving behind an unforgettable legacy
For those who grew up in the WWE era that featured Hulkamania running wild and The Ultimate Warrior was sprinting to the ring like a maniac, there was one voice that fans came to love and remember through the years. That was the voice of Gene Okerlund.
'Mean' Gene started his career in as a wrestling announcer in 1970 with the AWA. After working for them until 1983 he left for the World Wrestling Federation, known now as WWE. This is were Okerlund would really cement himself as the greatest interviewer is wrestling history.
One thing that stands out about 'Mean Gene' is obviously his voice. He had the perfect tool for commentary, It was the voice mixed with his personality and quick wit that would separate him from the rest. Watching him throughout the years, he never had a slip up unless it was something that seemed like just part of the show.
For example, Gene was known for his blooper interviews like the one he did with Rick Rude. You can just Youtube the video to see if it for yourself. Words do not do it justice.
Okerlund would leave the WWE in 1993 for WCW during the wave of superstars that jumped ship. Of course, he brought his wit and mastery with him and started the WCW Hotline. I remember watching Nitro and seeing him promote the Hotline and wanting so bad to call. But we all know the scam of hotlines and the way they charge.
Gene Okerlund returned to the WWE in 2001 after they purchased WCW. Signing a lifetime contract with the company he would do some work at the announcers' desk as well as hosting a variety of different shows. Madison Square Garden Classics and Vintage Collection are available on the WWE Network along with the reality show Legends House.
In 2006 'Mean' Gene took his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame being inducted by his friend Hulk Hogan.
Okerlund's legacy will be that he was without a doubt one of the greatest announcers in history with a voice you can never forget. For fans like myself who watched him growing up, it's another legend lost that was a big part of the golden age of wrestling.
R.I.P. 'Mean' Gene Okerlund