Gene Okerlund, the legendary WWE and WCW broadcaster and announcer, has died on the age of 76. The reason for dying has not been revealed. The WWE introduced Okerlund’s unhappy passing in a press release on January 2. Okerlund was a local of Sisseton, South Dakota, and a graduate of the College of Nebraska. He’s survived by his spouse, Jeanne Okerlund, and their two youngsters. Okerlund turned 76 on December 19.
Okerlund was given the moniker, “Mene Gene,” by Jesse Ventura as an inside joke inside wrestling. The joke was that Okerlund was thought-about one of many nicest males within the enterprise. His work was formally acknowledged by the WWE in 2006 when he was inducted within the firm’s Corridor of Fame.
Right here’s what it’s essential know:
1. Okerlund First Started Working With the WWE in 1984
Of their assertion, the WWE mentioned, “WWE is saddened to be taught that WWE Corridor of Famer Gene Okerlund, essentially the most recognizable interviewer in sports-entertainment historical past, has handed away at age 76.” Okerlund started his wrestling profession with the American Wrestling Affiliation within the 1970s earlier than he moved to the WWE in 1984. Famously, Okerlund sang the Nationwide Anthem on the first Wrestlemania in Madison Sq. Backyard in 1985. Later that very same 12 months, Okerlund contributed his rendition of “Tutti Frutti” on WWE’s “The Wrestling Album.”
He remained with Vince McMahon’s promotion till 1993 when, like many stars of the time, he went to work in Atlanta for World Championship Wrestling. Okerlund remained with that firm till their demise in 2001. After which, Okerlund returned to work for the WWE. Okerlund made his first reappearance at Wrestlemania 17 when he did the asserting on the “Gimmick Battle Royal.”
2. Okerlund Had 2 Kidney Transplants, the Final in 2004
Okerlund had two kidney transplants throughout his life. The primary in 1995 and the second in 2004. The second kidney was supplied by his spouse. Throughout a 2005 interview with Slam!, Okerlund described the 2004 incident as being a “main well being scare.” Okerlund added, “I’ve been requested ‘when are you going to retire?’ And my reply again is that I’ve no intentions of retiring. I need to do it like Gorilla Monsoon and take it straight to the top. I hope for well being causes that I’m in a position to do this. Aside from the truth that I’ve just lately run out Viagra.” In 2014, it was reported that Okerlund was scuffling with points referring to his kidneys.
3. Okerlund’s Son Was a Skilled Hockey Participant Who Competed within the 1988 Olympics
Okerlund’s son is hockey participant Todd Okerlund. Taking part in on the right-wing, Todd was a star on the College of Minnesota earlier than coming into the NHL draft in 1982. Todd was drafted by the New York Islanders 168th total. Sadly, a extreme knee damage meant the Todd by no means fulfilled his potential and he ended up solely enjoying 4 video games for the Islanders. Todd additionally spent a season enjoying with the Springfield Falcons within the American Hockey League. In 1988, Todd Okerlund represented america on the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
A 2012 characteristic on Todd Okerlund within the Minneapolis Star-Tribune referred to him because the founding father of Classicwrestling.com. Throughout that interview, Todd Okerlund mentioned that he wouldn’t thoughts seeing his son turn into a wrestler.
4. So A lot of Okerlund’s Interviews Grew to become Viral Hits within the Age of YouTube
Certainly one of Okerlund’s most notorious moments got here at WWE’s Summerslam in 1989 when he yelled, “F*** it,” after an indication fell on the set. Okerlund was within the means of interviewing “Ravishing” Rick Impolite when he uttered the expletive. WWE proprietor Vince McMahon prompted Okerlund’s outburst by saying, “Good transfer!” off digicam. Okerlund later mentioned of the interview, “We pre-taped that specific factor… Some tape man went 10-12 seconds into the tape and mentioned, “That is the reduce.” Then all hell broke unfastened.” Okerlund mentioned he was apprehensive about being fired after the clip was by chance launched however nothing got here of it.
In one other interview with Dave “The Redneck” Schultz throughout Okerlund’s AWA days, the interviewer can not include his laughter as Schultz ranted about being unable to seek out ladies in San Francisco.
5. Okerlund Is Being Mourned by A few of Wrestling’s Greatest Names
As information of Okerlund’s passing unfold, a number of the wrestling’s greatest names have taken to Twitter to mourn the legendary broadcaster. Listed below are a number of the most poignant tributes:
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