2019 got off to a rough start for the WWE as the news has come down that one of its most iconic commentators of all time has passed away. WWE Superstars were shocked by the news of Mean Gene Okerlund's passing and took to social media to share the memories they had of him. Natalya, who lost her father Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart in 2018, shared a video of the two sharing the camera for a classic wrestling promo.
Mean Gene Okerlund's interviewing chops were second to none, and his ability to further elevate a wrestler's interview with his reactions was unparalleled. The Iron Sheik, in particular, was fond of the way Okerlund treated him back in the day. He shared his thanks, as well as a photo of them alongside another WWE legend who passed last year, Nikolai Volkoff:
Other WWE Legends, such as Hulk Hogan, decided not to honor his old friend with a picture from the past. Instead, Hogan honored Mean Gene's by enjoying a glass of the commentator's drink of choice, which appears to be a standard martini with two olives.
Despite his role as a commentator as opposed to wrestler, Mean Gene appeared to have good friendships with a majority of the talent he worked with over the years. The Nature Boy Ric Flair was among a handful who considered him a good friend, and expressed that Okerlund was truly a one-of-a-kind guy.
Mean Gene Okerlund did commentary work in the AWA, the then-named WWF, and WCW over the span of three decades and maintained a solid working relationship with the WWE, with his latest WWE television appearance happening last year. This gave him the chance to interact and impact the lives of wrestlers outside of the golden age as well, such as that of Attitude Era poster boy and all-around badass Stone Cold Steve Austin.
As mentioned, Mean Gene Okerlund worked within the WCW for some time, which meant he got to experience one of the biggest undefeated streaks in professional wrestling history. Bill Goldberg may have had a lot going on at that time, but even he had a good deal of memories he shared with the commentator. Goldberg teased those stories on Twitter and sent his regards to Okerlund's family.
Mean Gene was even celebrated by those who may not have known him as well as others, as stars like Seth Rollins shared their thoughts on his passing. Though Rollins may not have known Okerlund as well as others, he knew what it was that made his talent special, and even spoke about it recently for what could be a WWE special planned for Okerlund.
Mean Gene even got some love from one of the men that many would also call one of the WWE's greatest commentators. Jim Ross paid his respects to "Mean Gene," and expressed some shock at his passing due to his just having seen him at a recent event.
We hear at CinemaBlend would like to offer our condolences to the family of Mean Gene Okerlund, and wish them the best during this trying time.