Infotainment Factory: WWE mourns death of wrestling icon

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Wednesday, 2 January 2019

WWE mourns death of wrestling icon


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Legendary professional wrestling broadcaster 'Mean' Gene Okerlund has died at age 76, the WWE announced on Thursday (Australian time).

Okerlund was one of the most recognisable faces - and voices - in pro wrestling history, enjoying a career that spanned nearly 50 years. He became famous interviewing wrestling superstars such as Hulk Hogan, Randy 'Macho Man' Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and Andre the Giant.

In a statement on its website, the WWE called Okerlund "the most recognisable interviewer in sports-entertainment history".

"WWE extends its condolences to Okerlund’s family, friends and fans," the statement said.

The cause of death has not been announced. Okerlund reportedly had kidney transplants in 1995 and 2004.

Having started in wrestling after dropping out of journalism studies at the University of Nebraska, Okerlund worked the microphone with inimitable style for the American Wrestling Association (1970-1984), the World Wrestling Federation (1984-1993), World Championship Wrestling (1993-2001), before returning to the WWF in 2001 for its conversion to the WWE in 2002. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006, by Hulk Hogan, and held a lifetime contract with organisation.

Hogan, arguably the biggest star in pro wrestling history, led a flood of tributes to 'Mean' Gene on social media. 'The Hulkster' created an iconic catchphrase in partnership with Okerlund, starting his interviews with a boisterous: "Well you know, Mean Gene...!"

https://twitter.com/HulkHogan/status/1080487340697665536

Okerlund got the 'Mean' Gene moniker from fellow Minnesota product Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, as he explained to Sports Illustrated in 2017.

“Jesse and I were talking on the air in Minneapolis with the AWA,” Okerlund said.

“Jesse said something about once serving as the bodyguard for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and I said, ‘Tom Petty, that’s a pretty big name.’ Jesse didn’t miss a beat and responded, ‘You don’t even know who Tom Petty is!’ I corrected him and said, ‘I certainly do, Jesse, he is the famous race car driver.’

“That’s when Jesse said, ‘That’s mean, Gene,’ and that is how the origin of ‘Mean Gene’ started."

Okerlund was not just an announcer; he also sung the national anthem at the first WrestleMania in 1985. His influence stretched right through the golden era of wrestling to the stars of today.

https://twitter.com/TripleH/status/1080494046924193792

https://twitter.com/StephMcMahon/status/1080510646754660355

https://twitter.com/shanemcmahon/status/1080543085019447303

https://twitter.com/steveaustinBSR/status/1080499511741448192

https://twitter.com/RealKurtAngle/status/1080522052308791296

https://twitter.com/WWEBigE/status/1080494344203837440

Legendary professional wrestling broadcaster 'Mean' Gene Okerlund has died at age 76, the WWE announced on Thursday (Australian time).

Okerlund was one of the most recognisable faces - and voices - in pro wrestling history, enjoying a career that spanned nearly 50 years. He became famous interviewing wrestling superstars such as Hulk Hogan, Randy 'Macho Man' Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and Andre the Giant.

In a statement on its website, the WWE called Okerlund "the most recognisable interviewer in sports-entertainment history".

"WWE extends its condolences to Okerlund’s family, friends and fans," the statement said.

The cause of death has not been announced. Okerlund reportedly had kidney transplants in 1995 and 2004.

Having started in wrestling after dropping out of journalism studies at the University of Nebraska, Okerlund worked the microphone with inimitable style for the American Wrestling Association (1970-1984), the World Wrestling Federation (1984-1993), World Championship Wrestling (1993-2001), before returning to the WWF in 2001 for its conversion to the WWE in 2002. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006, by Hulk Hogan, and held a lifetime contract with organisation.

Hogan, arguably the biggest star in pro wrestling history, led a flood of tributes to 'Mean' Gene on social media. 'The Hulkster' created an iconic catchphrase in partnership with Okerlund, starting his interviews with a boisterous: "Well you know, Mean Gene...!"

https://twitter.com/HulkHogan/status/1080487340697665536

Okerlund got the 'Mean' Gene moniker from fellow Minnesota product Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, as he explained to Sports Illustrated in 2017.

“Jesse and I were talking on the air in Minneapolis with the AWA,” Okerlund said.

“Jesse said something about once serving as the bodyguard for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and I said, ‘Tom Petty, that’s a pretty big name.’ Jesse didn’t miss a beat and responded, ‘You don’t even know who Tom Petty is!’ I corrected him and said, ‘I certainly do, Jesse, he is the famous race car driver.’

“That’s when Jesse said, ‘That’s mean, Gene,’ and that is how the origin of ‘Mean Gene’ started."

Okerlund was not just an announcer; he also sung the national anthem at the first WrestleMania in 1985. His influence stretched right through the golden era of wrestling to the stars of today.

https://twitter.com/TripleH/status/1080494046924193792

https://twitter.com/StephMcMahon/status/1080510646754660355

https://twitter.com/shanemcmahon/status/1080543085019447303

https://twitter.com/steveaustinBSR/status/1080499511741448192

https://twitter.com/RealKurtAngle/status/1080522052308791296

https://twitter.com/WWEBigE/status/1080494344203837440

http://bit.ly/2F2a5ti
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