Eugene Arthur "Mean Gene" Okerlund (December 19, 1942January 2, 2019) was a Professional Wrestling announcer, backstage interviewer, commentator and former wrestler. He got his start in pro wrestling working for the American Wrestling Association from 1970 until 1984, when he was picked up by the World Wrestling Federation, becoming the most recognizable voice of WWF's Rock 'n' Wrestling connection. He left WWF in late 1993 and was subsequently hired by World Championship Wrestling where he would remain until WCW was purchased by the WWF in 2001. Okerlund returned to WWF/WWE following WCW's demise and made occasional TV appearances and often appeared in documentaries. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006, making sporadic appearances on WWE programming until his death in 2019.
Tropes applying to Okerlund
- Deadpan Snarker: Always, in and out of character. The guy was able to keep a straight face while "Macho Man" Randy Savage delivered a bonkers promo right next to him and when Booker T slipped up and called Hulk Hogan the N-word.
- Dirty Old Man: During WCW's Final Years, where he would practically drool over the female valets. This gimmick made Gene uncomfortable, as he didn't like the fact that his kids (and grandkids) would see him like this on TV.
- Ironic Nickname: Gene was anything but Mean.
- Jerkass Ball: After Madusa lost her match at WCW The Great American Bash 1997 and had to "retire," Gene showed up and utterly buried her, saying, "her career is finished, toast, over," with the crowd responding "Leave her alone!"
- Non-Action Guy:
- A series of vignettes with Hulk Hogan highlighted this, as Hogan had to train Gene to participate in a wrestling match against Mr. Fuji and George "The Animal" Steele at a house show in Minneapolis in 1984. For his part, Gene was more interested in cigars and sleeping in than training, prayers, and vitamins.
- When wrestlers would attempt to inflict violence on him, he'd often threaten them with lawsuits.
- Phrase Catcher: During interviews, most wrestlers, especially Hulk Hogan, would start off with "Let me tell you something, Mean Gene..."
- Precision F-Strike: There's a reason he's called Mean Gene.
- Red Baron: "Mean Gene"
- Seen It All: In an interview with Harlem Heat, Booker T, calls out Hulk Hogan and accidentally involves the N-word. While Booker was embarrassed and manager, Sherri couldn't help but laugh, Gene just turned around and interviewed Stevie Ray without missing a beat like nothing happened, especially considering that he's said worse on Live TV.
- Take That!: A fairly impressive one to Eric Bischoff on the tenth anniversary show of Raw: "Eric, maybe if you'd have shut up and learned how to run your company, we'd be celebrating the tenth anniversary of WCW Monday Nitro."note
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Bobby Heenan. Even in character while he outwardly horrified that Bobby "followed" him to WCW, it was clear on his face that he was happy that his longtime friend and verbal sparring partner was there. In fact in real life it was Okerlund who suggested to Bischoff to reach out to Heenan and make him an offer.