WWE chairman Vince McMahon has paid tribute to legendary interviewer "Mean" Gene Okerlund, who died on Wednesday aged 76. He became the first announcer inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006. The incomparable "Mean Gene" Okerlund.
Okerlund launched his interviewing career at the American Wrestling Association in the 1970s and went on to work for the World Wrestling Federation, later renamed the WWE and World Championship Wrestling.
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. He was rushed to a hospital on Wednesday, where he died with his wife Jeanne at his side.
"You only had to tell him once" how to pitch and sell a wrestling story, Ventura told the AP about Okerlund's knack for salesmanship.
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Nishikori had the better of the second set but couldn't take advantage of eight break points. After winning the first set in a tiebreak the Canadian looked in control.
"He's like a carnival barker ..." And he never did retakes ... Later that year, Okerlund would sing "Tutti Frutti" on WWE's The Wrestling Album.
"He really was the ultimate, the consummate entertainer", his son, Tor Okerlund, told The Associated Press on January 3.
Okerlund's ability to handle the mic and help elevate talent through his interviews stands alone in pro wrestling lore.
I think this plays a highly important part as the fans all knew how close Gene and Hulk Hogan were as friends, and to see Gene in the ring as disgusted as he was with Hogan and telling him so, really brought more emotion to the incredible scene. "That's all you need.' There were a few bucks involved, so I dived in", Okerlund said.