"Mean" Gene Okerlund Passes Away at 76 | Bonehead Picks

“Mean” Gene Okerlund Passes Away at 76

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Only two days into the year 2019 and sadness has already filled the air.

“Mean” Gene Okerlund, who is by far the most prominent and famous interviewer in the history of professional wrestling, has passed away at the age of 76.

Many current and former superstars took to Twitter to send their condolences to Okerlund’s family and friends.

Okerlund was always the man with the microphone during some of the most memorable promos in the history of the business. Whether it was Hulk Hogan telling the kids to say their prayers and take their vitamins, or the very same Hogan who announced the formation of the New World Order as trash flew into the ring, Okerlund was the man holding the microphone through it all. Booker T’s accidental N-word slip? Okerlund was there. Macho Man Randy Savage’s “Cream Rises to the Top” promo? Okerlund was there.

Ric Flair’s famous post Royal Rumble victory promo? Okerlund was there. Then of course during that same rumble, Okerlund famously yelled at somebody to “put that cigarette out” when getting ready to do an interview. Okerlund’s most famous blunder was during SummerSlam 1989 in which he launched an F-bomb due to the falling backdrop, but WWE decided to air it anyway as if it were planned. Okerlund’s off the cuff style and straight shooting approach made his interview segments always must watch material. Even during the days of WCW when things began to fall apart, Okerlund’s interview segments always gave the superstar some meaning because he was interviewing them. You couldn’t have a Ric Flair promo without Mean Gene.

Okerlund spent more than 30 years on our television screens on a consistent basis from his days in the AWA all the way until WCW closed its doors in March of 2001. Okerlund made one more televised appearance in 2001, but this time in the WWE alongside Bobby “The Brain” Heenan at WrestleMania X7 in which the two called the gimmick battle royal. Their chemistry was truly a thing of beauty. It was as if they never had left the WWE.

From then on, Okerlund would make occasional appearances on WWE television. He hosted the controversial talk show Confidential and was the host of the weekly show WWE Madison Square Garden Classics for a few years before being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.

After that, Okerlund would induct fellow Hall of Famers Mr. T and Howard Finkel into the Hall of Fame.

Okerlund would made cameo appearances on old-school Monday Night Raw’s and make WrestleMania appearances, conducting interviews and being involved in skits. However, it wasn’t until the WWE Network was launched in which Okerlund would get a little bit of a popularity boost.

Okerlund’s casting on WWE’s original program Legends House provided Gene an opportunity for the WWE Universe to learn more about him. From his infatuation with the ladies to his newly constructed catchphrase of “HOLY BALLS,”Okerlund and the rest of the Legends House cast became a hit with the fans. The zany reality show became a Network staple. Even though in hindsight it wasn’t exactly the greatest reality show to ever grace the earth, if gave legends such as Okerlund the opportunity to shine once again. He also became the voice of WWE’s original program, Story Time, which still airs new episodes to this day.

Okerlund’s final televised appearance ever was during last year’s Raw 25 show in which he interviewed AJ Styles, much to the liking of the Barclays Center crowd. How could you not have a 25th Anniversary show without Mean Gene?

Mean Gene Okerlund will forever be known as the greatest interviewer in the history of professional wrestling. His iconic voice and interview style will never be duplicated or matched.

I can only imagine who Okerlund’s first interview will be up there in heaven as he sips on a cocktail.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Okerlund.

 

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