Thursday, April 13, 2006
"Mean Gene" Okerlund joins The Rowdy Roddy Piper Show
On Saturday, April 1, one of the long-time voices of WWE will take his place among the greats when “Mean” Gene Okerlund is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
In over 30 years in sports-entertainment, Okerlund has become one of, if not the most recognizable announcers in the business. Nicknamed “Mean Gene” by longtime colleague and fellow Minnesotan Jesse Ventura, Okerlund began as a backstage interviewer in the Minneapolis-based AWA in the early 1970s.
In his early days, Mean Gene was often seen interviewing some of the greatest stars in the AWA, including Bobby Heenan and his protégés and Hulk Hogan. In 1984, Mean Gene came to WWE as a backstage announcer, and sang the National Anthem at the first WrestleMania in 1985.
During his time in WWE, Gene became the lead backstage interviewers, but he also did ringside commentary and was the host of several shows, including All-American Wrestling and Tuesday Night Titans. He also hosted the Event Center and Update segments on such shows as Superstars of Wrestling, Wrestling Challenge and Prime Time Wrestling. In his decade in WWE, Gene also stepped into the ring once, teaming with Hulk Hogan to defeat Mr. Fuji and George “The Animal” Steele.
Gene moved to WCW in 1993, where he was the lead backstage interviewer until the company was bought by WWE in 2001. He returned to WWE at WrestleMania X-Seven to announce the Gimmick Battle Royal with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and he went on to host WWE Confidential for its entire existence.
Today, Mean Gene still makes occasional appearances on WWE programming. He has hosted several segments on WWE 24/7 On Demand, and interviewed Hulk Hogan in the ring at WWE Homecoming this past October. With all that he has accomplished in his career, Okerlund will be able to add one more accolade to his resume come April 1: WWE Hall of Famer.