Gene Okerlund touched the lives of everyone in pro wrestling during his nearly fifty years in the business.
Perhaps as noteworthy as his sometimes intense, sometimes hilarious, often iconic interviews with stars ranging from Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage & Ultimate Warrior to AJ Styles was his behind-the-scenes reputation as one of nicest, most professional people in the industry.
Even when he wasn’t actively working for a major company like WWE, ‘Mean’ Gene’s legacy was felt in clips being replayed and shared around, and by his influence on those who followed in his footsteps.
It’s not surprising that the outpouring of memories and condolences have come so quickly:
Gene Okerlund was an incredibly rare talent. He made everything and everyone better. #ThankYouMeanGene for all the incredible memories. Our condolences to his family and loved ones. https://t.co/IxpjiLo9UN— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) 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.— Steve Austin (@steveaustinBSR) January 2, 2019
Condolences to his friends and family.
You Will Forever Be MEAN BY GOD GENE!— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) January 2, 2019
Mean Gene I love you my brother HH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) January 2, 2019
So sad today to hear of the sudden passing of my dear friend @TheGeneOkerlund— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) January 2, 2019
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
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
RIP MY BROTHER GENE MEAN. YOU PUT ME OVER LIKE NOBODY. I LOVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SINCE THE MINNESOTA. GIVE MY BROTHER NIKOLAI BUG HUG. GOD BLESS YOU. CAMERA MAN ZOOM IT. pic.twitter.com/5k0VRXbKMI— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) January 2, 2019
I MAKE THE GENE MEAN LAUGH SO HARD HERE HE TELL ME I MAKE HIM CRY. HE HELP ME WHEN I DONT REMEMBER THE JABRONIS NAMES I WRESTLE. I LOVE YOU BROTHER. https://t.co/YFnuEWVFn6 pic.twitter.com/YvgpApVeTE— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) 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
RiP Mean Gene. I will miss you. #thebestever pic.twitter.com/Z0Dd59peb3— Eric Bischoff (@EBischoff) January 2, 2019
So sad to hear of the passing of Mean Gene.— Michael PS Hayes (@MichaelPSHayes1) January 2, 2019
What a classic and was in a category all his own.
Will always treasure doing the Legends of Wrestling shows with him. R.I.P.
So sad to hear of the passing of our friend, Mean Gene Okerlund.— Jerry Lawler (@JerryLawler) January 2, 2019
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
Mean Gene was one of the best TV personalities in our business. I say this because of his facial reactions in response to wrestlers comments. He always made the interview so much more entertaining....I will miss him....RIP my friend— Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat (@real_steamboat) January 2, 2019
WWE reports that Gene Oakerlund has passed. Gene was loved by so many cause he was such a great person in and out of business. No one ever has anything bad to say about him. AwowaChipsala’Cho. Give Brother Jack a hug for me.— Gbrisco ♂️ (@Fgbrisco) January 2, 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
It's been a honor knowing & working with the legendary Mean Gene Okerlund. As far as runs go, he had a great one. #RIPGeneOkerlund #RIPMeanGene #wwe https://t.co/j8uhW8X06Z— Sean Waltman (@TheRealXPac) January 2, 2019
RIP Mean Gene Okerlund. Gene was the mold others aspired to be. Without a doubt one of the most talented individuals I have ever had the privilege to work with. Rest in Peace Gene and thank you for all of your wisdom and help throughout the years.— Bruce Prichard (@bruceprichard) January 2, 2019
Goodbye, old friend. Thank you for the memories ♥️ pic.twitter.com/EMDrs0ozGP— Charlotte Flair (@MsCharlotteWWE) January 2, 2019
A voice of my childhood, and one of the greatest of all time — you will be missed, Gene. https://t.co/15kNprnbRd— Nattie (@NatbyNature) January 2, 2019
Undoubtedly the most well known and greatest backstage interviewer of all time.... so many awesome memories, Mean Gene!!!! Here’s a personal favorite @wrasslinclassic pic.twitter.com/LlGuAL89Zm— Nattie (@NatbyNature) January 2, 2019
RIP Gene— TJ Wilson (@TJWilson) January 2, 2019
I got to spend some time with Gene the last 6 months. We’d talk about the ‘88 Winter Olympics in Calgary and the WCW hotline. Such a funny and witty guy. A true icon and will be missed by many
RIP to an absolute legend of our industry, @TheGeneOkerlund. "Mean Gene" was incredible in many roles, as he wore many hats throughout his iconic career in pro wrestling. My thoughts are with his family & friends today. https://t.co/qB9FHJFx63— #WOKEN, yet #BROKEN, Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) January 2, 2019
Super bummed about Mean Gene. Literally JUST sat down last week to do an interview about his legacy. He was the most iconic backstage interviewer in wrestling history in my opinion. #RIPMeanGene— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) January 2, 2019
I was always a big mean gene fan, as a character and much more importantly, as a person. We should say positive things about good people more often. never know when you won’t get another chance. #RIPMeanGene— Nic Nemeth (@HEELZiggler) January 2, 2019
One of the CLASSIEST Men I’ve Ever had the opportunity to meet and know. Always told me how proud he was to have me in the wrestling business and appreciated what I stand for. Yes I like many others Was a Huge Fan Of His “Work” But I was more Honored to see His WORTH to Everyone https://t.co/biOKHr2OPt— Titus O'Neil (@TitusONeilWWE) January 2, 2019
Legend https://t.co/iAT7I1UnkL— $asha Banks (@SashaBanksWWE) January 2, 2019
RIP MEAN GENE pic.twitter.com/y38g1VtN6z— Zack Ryder (@ZackRyder) January 2, 2019
Mean Gene was the voice of millions of childhoods. Mine certainly. An honor to meet him. Condolences to his family. pic.twitter.com/krsMtbeNIl— Florida Man (@WWEBigE) January 2, 2019
Of the very few regrets I harbor in my career, one was never getting to scream "Mean Gene" when answering the queries of a man who presence was larger than life and ingrained in the better memories of my childhood.— Samoa Joe (@SamoaJoe) January 2, 2019
RIP Mean Gene.
My condolences to the Okerlund family.
If you met @TheGeneOkerlund— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) January 2, 2019
You knew how special he was
The voice of generations
Thank you Mean Gene
Call the hotline and
Celebrate his life pic.twitter.com/xDT6M2y1dA
Rest easy #MeanGene your Legacy shall live in forever— Mickie James~Aldis (@MickieJames) January 2, 2019
RIP Mean Gene! A voice that was powerful and as easy to recognize as any in the business. Gene was always the friendliest and nicest guy to me. Thx for the memories my friend. pic.twitter.com/WokzDQ5dtl— Hurricane Helms (@ShaneHelmsCom) January 2, 2019
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So sad to hear about Mean Gene Okerlund’s passing. Truly a legend, a classy gentleman who was always kind, approachable and someone I respected so much. Thank you so much for everything you have done and I’m lucky to have had many great experiences with you. RIP legend ❤️ ⭐️
I’m so heart broken to hear of the passing of Mean Gene!! Thank you Gene for the laughs, advice, and most of a wonderful friendship! #wwe. #legend. #friend pic.twitter.com/hM7E9VoDIa— Vickie Guerrero (@VickieGuerrero) January 2, 2019
Thanks for the memories Mean Gene RIP @WWE #Legend #friend pic.twitter.com/FIaFxHjTyR— Brooklyn Brawler (@brawlerreal) January 2, 2019
#RIP to a man who made us all more involved fans, who brought the drama of the characters on screen to life with his charm and delivery. You will be missed, Gene— Aiden English (@WWEDramaKing) January 2, 2019
This one stings. RIP “Mean” Gene Okerlund. As a young fan, he was the only backstage interviewer that mattered. He is the man with the golden voice who is SO synonymous with the culture of pro wrestling. I’m fortunate to have met and shared a beverage with him. Godspeed sir— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) 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
When I was younger and just starting out in wrestling all the guys at the wrestling gym went by 2 rules to pick a name..— TJ Perkins (@MegaTJP) January 2, 2019
1) You had to be able to imagine Vince McMahon saying the name on commentary
2) You had to be able to hear Mene Gene saying it with a question#RIPMeanGene
ROH offers our sincerest condolences to the family and fans of "Mean" Gene Okerlund, a truly legendary voice and spirit in professional wrestling.— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) January 2, 2019
RIP “Mean” Gene Okerlund.— Mauro Ranallo (@mauroranallo) 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
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
RIP Mean Gene. The Greatest that ever did it. Thanks for the memories. #RIPMeanGene pic.twitter.com/PtI92xAdhq— Nick Aldis (@RealNickAldis) 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.— Zelina Vega (@Zelina_VegaWWE) January 2, 2019
You will be so missed my condolences to your family.
funny memory: https://t.co/7882p8Pjb4 pic.twitter.com/FgKWy1oY87
RIP Mean Gene pic.twitter.com/oDZASdcOh5— Cathy Kelley (@catherinekelley) January 2, 2019
Wrestling fan or not... you knew Mean Gene Okerlund.— David Lagana (@Lagana) January 2, 2019
His work with talents in their promos is a master class in broadcasting. He was the gold standard of wrestling stick men.
Doing a scene with him at Wrestlemania 20 was a career highlight. #RIPMeanGene pic.twitter.com/IGlwoego1A
Gene Okerlund's warm and comforting presence left an indelible mark on me as a child watching WWF on Saturday mornings. He had superb timing, made wrestling classy and fun. He elevated the product - be it the WWF, WCW, AWA bringing a sense of dignity and quality to wrestling.— Court Bauer (@courtbauer) January 2, 2019
Very cool when one of your childhood idols who was the absolute best at what he did, in real life was one of the most down to earth, funniest and nicest people you will ever meet. #RIPMeanGene #Legend pic.twitter.com/MQtWTXC5fV— Brian Gewirtz (@bfg728) 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
On behalf of the entire Cageside Seats community, we extend our thoughts and prayers to his family and all those missing Gene Okerlund today.
We know we are.