If you weren’t watching wrestling during the 80s you have no idea how important Mean Gene Okerlund was in shaping a generation of fans.
He was the interviewer/hype man/commentator who told it like it was and called out the heels for their actions. Mean Gene would verbally spar with the finest talkers in wrestling history without missing a beat. He was the straight man for Bobby the Brain Heenan, Ric Flair, Rowdy Roddy Piper and will forever be known as the way to kick off a promo with ‘Lemme tell you something Mean Gene!’
I’ve been on an 80s kick lately so this one feels like it hurts more than some other legends as I was rediscovering how awesome Mean Gene was with everything in wrestling.
Here are some tributes from some of his peers.
It was impossible not to crack a smile whenever “Mean” Gene Okerlund entered a room. He was the voice behind so many of WWE’s most iconic and entertaining moments, and the WWE family will miss him immensely. pic.twitter.com/zbrkQAvtug
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) January 3, 2019
Mean Gene I love you my brother HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) January 2, 2019
One Of My Closest Friends Since 1972 Until This Very Sad Day In 2019. Not Only The Greatest Voice And Personality In The History Of Announcing, But A Man Who Touched Everyone’s Life Who Were Fortunate Enough To Know Him. Rest In Peace Knowing No One Will Ever Replace You. pic.twitter.com/i7illbxQgw
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) January 2, 2019
You Will Forever Be MEAN BY GOD GENE!
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) January 2, 2019
Goodbye to another dear friend and one of pro wrestling’s great and kind souls. Gene Okerlund brought the best out every wrestler, much like Ed Whalen did for my father’s Stampede… https://t.co/usHi7EMRq5
— Bret Hart (@BretHart) January 3, 2019
I’m very sorry to hear that Gene has passed away. He was a good man and one of the greatest of all time. You will be missed my friend. pic.twitter.com/POLwK2bJ9b
— Sting (@Sting) January 2, 2019
Just heard Mean Gene Okerlund has passed away. As an interviewer, pitch man, announcer, or host, he was untouchable. Simply the best. Total professional with quick wit, sarcasm, humor, and that golden voice.
Condolences to his friends and family.
— Steve Austin (@steveaustinBSR) January 2, 2019
We lost a wrestling legend on the 🎙 microphone.
The incomparable “Mean Gene” Okerlund.
What an iconic career and extremely distinct voice of the squared circle during distinct eras of… https://t.co/h2m0hXqdBO
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) January 3, 2019
So sad today to hear of the sudden passing of my dear friend @TheGeneOkerlund
I just saw Mean Gene in North Carolina at WrestleCade.
It’s so true that our tomorrow’s are never guaranteed.
Say hello to Jan, Mean Gene. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/PQ4ZZGmXnx
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) January 2, 2019
WWE universe has lost one of its greatest announcers and truly one of the nicest guys you’d ever know. “Mean” Gene Okerlund, RIP my friend pic.twitter.com/u3bS6pePmY
— Ted DiBiase (@MDMTedDiBiase) January 2, 2019
So sad to hear of the passing of our friend, Mean Gene Okerlund.
I'll always remember Gene with a smile on his face and a drink in his hand and always wanting to help. His was "The Voice" of @WWE RIP Gene. pic.twitter.com/tgS1Yy3VpA
— Jerry Lawler (@JerryLawler) January 2, 2019
— Diamond Dallas Page (@RealDDP) January 3, 2019
Very seldom does an interviewer become just as popular, and at times even more popular than the superstars he/she interviews. Gene Okerlund was that person. Im saddened to hear of Gene’s passing. It was an honor to know you Gene! #RIPGene
— Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle) January 2, 2019
— Sean Waltman (@TheRealXPac) January 2, 2019
Devastated to hear the news of my friend Gene Okerlund’s passing. He was, and will always be, pro wrestling greatest stick man #meangene
— Tony Schiavone (@tonyschiavone24) January 2, 2019
Growing up in AWA country, I never wanted to be a wrestler. I wanted to be Gene Okerlund. A wonderful friend and mentor for the past 20 years. There will never be another like him. RIP my friend. pic.twitter.com/yAz1T5Dr2d
— Jeremy Borash (@JeremyBorash) January 2, 2019
The world lost an incredible man today. The very BEST at his role in our industry. On-camera—quick wit, great hype, pro’s pro; off-camera— a gentleman’s gentleman. The phrase of “often imitated, but never duplicated” is very appropriate for my friend. RIP ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund
— Jeff Jarrett (@RealJeffJarrett) January 2, 2019
HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE NEWS! One of the best voices in wrestling. Great wit. Great all around work! This one is rough. Rest In Peace "Mean" Gene Okerlund. You were a classic!https://t.co/0CZSrFCap6
— Brian Heffron aka The Blue Meanie (@BlueMeanieBWO) January 2, 2019
Teared up to the news this morning on the passing of my dear friend and legend Gene Okerlund. He was one of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever met and so supportive of me.
You will be so missed 🙏🏽 my condolences to your family.
— Zelina Vega (@Zelina_VegaWWE) January 2, 2019
My heart hurts to learn of the passing of my friend Gene Okerlund. He was a mentor to me with such a love for this business and the people around it. He will be severely missed by every heart that he touched. We love you Gene ❤️. pic.twitter.com/99p1BVx2LR
— Brandi Rhodes (@TheBrandiRhodes) January 2, 2019
My thoughts are with the family, friends and fans of Gene Okerlund. His voice was synonymous with pro wrestling for decades. pic.twitter.com/zDTod9P8sA
— Rob Schamberger (@robschamberger) January 2, 2019
RIP to the legend "Mean Gene Okerlund" https://t.co/oAgpntI4Ft
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) January 2, 2019