Eric Bischoff has remembered the legendary wrestling announcer ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund two years after his passing at 76 years of age.
One of the voices of professional wrestling from the nineteen seventies to the late nineteen nineties, ‘Mean’ Gene was the soundtrack to many a childhood from his early days in the AWA where he graduated from part-time replacement for Marty O’Neil to the company’s regular ring announcer and interviewer.
However, it was his promotion to the World Wrestling Wrestling Federation in 1984 where the star really made a name for himself with his distinctive tones as host of shows such as Tuesday Night Titans and WWF All-American Wrestling.
With the rise of Hulkamania also came the ascension in popularity of the moustache weidling host. The regular interviewer of the uber-beloved WWF Champion, Okerlund would regularly engage in amusing verbiage with the powerhouse as well as memorable skits. The phrase, “Well let me tell you something ‘Mean’ Gene”, the line Hogan used to open every promo with the star, resonates in the present as one of the immortal lines in the history of the industry.
Now, Eric Bischoff has taken to his 83 Weeks Podcast to remember the interviewer and personality as simply the best:
“He was just the best. Usually announcers are, really, they’re like traffic cops. They’re there for a very specific purpose. They kind of glue the show together and keep things moving in the right direction, and fill in little blanks along the way, and it’s a very important job. Don’t allow me to make it seem like I’m minimising it because I’m not. Very few people would tune into a show because of an announcer, Gene might have been that exception. Gene had his own fanbase. Gene could make what would otherwise be a fairly boring and mundane piece of business pretty entertaining and fun to watch and listen to.”
Gene Okerlund made the switch to World Championship Wrestling in 1993, where he brought panache and vigour to what was at the a time very stilted and monotone product. His performance at the famously poor Battlebowl 1993 is a wonder to behold.
Credit for the interview: 83 Weeks