The WWE Hall of Famer, and widely regarded as one of the most recognizable figures in Professional Wrestling history, has passed away at the age of 76.
WWE made the announcement earlier this morning, with a statement recapping the iconic career of the famous announcer/interviewer:
“Mean Gene”, as he was named by fellow Minnesotan, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, first came to prominence as an interviewer in the American Wrestling Association. In 1984, Okerlund made the move to WWE where he became as recognizable as the Superstars he asked the tough questions to, including “Macho Man” Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and, perhaps Okerlund’s greatest guest, Hulk Hogan. Countless Hulkster interviews included the indelible phrase, “Well you know something ‘Mean’ Gene!”
“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.
Announcing wasn’t all that Okerlund could do with a microphone, as he performed the National Anthem at the first WrestleMania in 1985. Later that year, Okerlund would sing “Tutti Frutti” on WWE’s The Wrestling Album.
Okerlund returned to WWE in 2001 to call the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17 along with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and continued to appear on WWE television programming, including as a cast member on WWE Network’s Legends’ House.
WWE extends its condolences to Okerlund’s family, friends and fans.”
As one can imagine, a wave of current and former WWE/F personalities and superstars have commented and paid tribute to the Hall of Famer. Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative for WWE – Paul Levesque (aka Triple H), tweeted some thoughtful words only a short time ago:
WWE Hall of Famer ‘Iron Sheik’ – Hossein Vaziri also paid tribute:
“Mean” Gene Okerlund left a significant mark on the professional wrestling industry. Setting the standard for professionalism, humility, and respect for one’s craft. We here at the Game Changer Sports Network, send our deepest condolences to the entire Okerlund family.
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Photo Credits: WWE.com, Triple H Twitter, Iron Sheik Twitter