The world of pro wrestling lost Mean Gene Okerlund, arguably the best interview men in wrestling history.
"Mean" Gene Okerlund, who passed away at age 76, was world-renowned, not just in wrestling but as a household name. He was, in many ways, more popular than many of the wrestling superstars he interviewed over nearly 40 years of work in the business. He'd been made into an animation, hired by the biggest companies in the business and utilized by WWE, almost up until the day he passed. When you think of important voices in the business, you think of "Mean" Gene.
Okerlund interviewed almost everyone that ever was considered a huge star. From personalities like Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior, Ric Flair and, others, he was as instrumental in getting them over as stars as they were in their own promos.
We could pick literally hundreds of good interviews, but here are some of the absolute best.
Related: Mean Gene Okerlund Dies At Age 76
The NWO Turn
For newer fans, this is one of the biggest angles Gene was ever involved in. When Hulk Hogan turned on WCW, and essentially on the fans, he'd so loyally served for 20-plus years, it was about the biggest thing to hit professional wrestling in decades. Okerlund was right in the middle of it.
Hogan was always good at delivering promos, but Okerlund sells this turn better than any other interview ever could have. Within seconds, the world hated Hulkamania and what it now stood for and the NWO was a made faction. Hogan was worried his heel turn might not have been a good move but Okerlund sold it and in the process, helped turned Kevin Nash and Scott Hall into two of the biggest stars in wrestling.
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Ric Flair Wins The Rumble
When Ric Flair moved over to WWE, there was a significant portion of the fanbase that didn't really know how important he was to the wrestling industry. A big star for WCW, Flair wasn't necessarily a household name to WWE (then WWF) fans. Flair came to WWE, won the 1992 Royal Rumble and Okerlund helped Flair deliver one of the most iconic promos in wrestling history.
Granted, Okerlund didn't have to do much but stand there and hold the mic, but when you think about big moments in wrestling, Okerlund was involved at that time. Just having him stand there was enough to ensure it was taken as the "big" moment it was meant to be.
Even Professionals Laugh
As good as Okerlund was and as unpredictable as stars back in the 80's and 90's were, Okerlund was known for staying straight-faced and nailing his duties as an interviewer who had to sell how important every promo was. But, even Okerlund might lose it.
One example was his interview with Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff who somehow referenced himself as sexy and used the metaphor of a turtle's head going back into its shell (insert your own sexual reference here). Okerlund does well, but he's clearly losing it inside.
The Ultimate Professional
This is hardly on the high list of Mean Gene's moments, but it showed just how good he is at his job. Taking one of the worst moments in wrestling history and trying to sell it as a big deal, he was tasked with getting over the Gobbledy Gooker as a good idea. It wasn't.
Okerlund was always the highest of class when it came to any job ever given to him by the company for which he worked. If it meant dancing, he would dance. If it meant trying a cartwheel, why not, right?