Famed professional wrestling announcer "Mean" Gene Oakerland has passed away at the age of 76. WWE announced his passing earlier today in a press release: "WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Gene Okerlund, the most recognizable interviewer in sports-entertainment history, has passed away at age 76."
Did you know that Mean Gene was a native Minnesotan? He sure was, having been born in Robinsdale Minnesota. Starting out he became friends with former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura who actually gave him his nick name: "In his early days, “Mean Gene”, as he was named by fellow Minnesotan, Jesse “The Body” Ventura first came to prominence by interviewing the greatest stars of the AWA, including Ventura, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Hulk Hogan. In 1984, Okerlund made the move to WWE where he became a staple on national cable television by continuing to interview the biggest names in sports-entertainment like Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and many more."
Do you remember when Mean Gene came to Rochester? We do. It was back in 2004. He was partnering with, back then was, the Rec Bar and Grill at 2810 N. Broadway for his own personal line of pizzas. He did a two hour autograph session at the bar and fans lined up to meet the legend and try his pizza. We were there. Check out the photos.
Big Mark Clark had a chance to sit down and talk to the legendary announcer before the event that night.
Here is an interview Gene did with Abdre The Giant.