Remembering Pro Wrestling’s Mean Gene Okerlund
This morning, news broke that Mean Gene Okerlund had died at the age of 76. For many people like myself, Mean Gene was a huge part of pro wrestling in the 1970s and 80s. In fact, his arrival in the World Wrestling Federation in 1984 from the American Wrestling Association coincided with Hulk Hogan's rise to fame and the explosion of Vince McMahon's wrestling promotion. Known as the best interviewer in the business, Okerlund never shied away from asking tough questions which made him a household name in the world of pro wrestling. He also would serve as an analyst on many of the older televised shows from Madison Square Garden in the mid to late 1980s.
If anyone has ever watched Hulk Still Rules DVD, there is a terrific vignette featuring Okerlund and Hulk Hogan training for their 1984 match in Minneapolis against Mr. Fuji and George the Animal Steele. Whenever I am feeling nostalgic about my teenage years watching the WWE, I will pull up some of my favorite old promos on YouTube which always involved Mean Gene. His many interviews with Randy Savage and Roddy Piper were classics. He also had a famous "f-bomb" blooper in 1989's Summer Slam as he was getting ready to interview Rick Rude. Here are some of my personal favorite clips.