Hall of Fame
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Eugene “Mean Gene” Okerlund (born November 29, 1938 in Sisseton, South Dakota), is an American professional wrestling interviewer and announcer.
Okerlund got his start at AM talk radio station KOIL-AM 1280 in Omaha, Nebraska as a DJ. He segued out of radio into a position at the American Wrestling Association (AWA) in the early 1970s when he occasionally filled in for ailing ring announcer and interviewer Marty O'Neill, eventually becoming O'Neill's permanent replacement by the end of the decade. He would stay with the AWA until 1984, when he was one of many AWA personnel to join the expanding WWF. He would stay with the WWF for nine years as their top interviewer, and was host of such WWF shows as All American Wrestling. In 1993, he left the WWF, and would become an interviewer for World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He was with WCW until it was sold in 2001 to the WWF.
Okerlund then returned to WWF (renamed WWE in 2002), as his first post-WCW assignment for the company was as a commentator for the Gimmick Battle Royal during WrestleMania X-Seven in 2001, along with Bobby Heenan. He would go on to host WWE Confidential in 2002, and was there during its entire two-year run. In 2004, he received a kidney transplant, and fully recovered from the operation. As of 2005, he still makes occasional appearances for WWE.
Okerlund is perhaps most famed for interviewing Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. During the interview, Hogan would get all fired up and say, “Well you know something, Mean Gene!” and Flair would often say “Meeeean, Gene” or “‘Mean,’ by God, Gene!”. The Iron Sheik referred to Okerlund as "Gene Mean."
Hulk Hogan inducted Okerlund into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1, 2006 in Chicago.
In the summer of 2006, Mean Gene hosted WWE Madison Square Garden Classics, a weekly series, airing on the MSG Network, featuring classic WWE matches that took place at Madison Square Garden from the last four decades.
Mean Gene is also the host for the WWE 24/7 Hall Of Fame section, which takes a look at a different WWE Hall Of Famer each month.