WWE Hall of Famer 'Mean Gene' Okerlund Dead at 76
By RJ Johnson - @rickerthewriter
January 2, 2019
WWE Hall of Famer 'Mean Gene' Okerlund has passed away at the age of 76, the WWE announced on Wednesday.
Okerlund became one of the preeminent voices of wrestling entertainment in the '80s and '90s thanks to his many interviews with wrestling's biggest superstars of the era including, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and Hulk Hogan.
His career spanned several wrestling organizations including the American Wrestling Association, World Championship Wrestling, and World Wrestling Entertainment. His backstage and in-ring interviews with wrestling's superstars were legendary in the business in his career that spanned more than three decades.
Okerlund earned the "Mean Gene" nickname from Jesse "The Body" Ventura as an irony - since many of the wrestlers and promotion staff he worked with considered Okerlund the friendliest person in the business.
Okerlund was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in a ceremony in 2006 by Hulk Hogan.
The WWE mourned Okerlund's passing with a statement Wednesday morning.
"As the respected and reliable man behind the microphone in WWE, Okerlund branched out from interviewing and provided ringside commentary and hosted several shows, including All-American Wrestling, Tuesday Night Titans, Wrestling Challenge and Prime Time Wrestling," the WWE wrote on its website.
Tributes for Okerlund began to pour in from wrestlers who had worked with him over the years after his death was announced.
WWE's Executive Vice President Paul Levesque (who also goes by Triple H), wrote that Okerlund was the voice and sound track to an entire era of their 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," Levesque wrote on Twitter.
Mean Gene I love you my brother HH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) January 2, 2019
Just heard Mean Gene Okerlund has passed away. As an interviewer, pitch man, announcer, or host, he was untouchable. Simply the best. Total professional with quick wit, sarcasm, humor, and that golden voice.— Steve Austin (@steveaustinBSR) January 2, 2019
Condolences to his friends and family.
This one stings. RIP “Mean” Gene Okerlund. As a young fan, he was the only backstage interviewer that mattered. He is the man with the golden voice who is SO synonymous with the culture of pro wrestling. I’m fortunate to have met and shared a beverage with him. Godspeed sir 😢— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) January 2, 2019