Remember When Mean Gene Okerlund Visited the Detroit Zoo
The wrestling world was saddened with the news of the passing of long time WWE commentator Mean Gene Okerlund. Let's take a look back at a few legendary moments in his career that happened in Michigan.
In 1985 Okerlund and Michigan native George 'The Animal' Steele visited the Detroit Zoo and filmed this segment.
Steele was in full character speaking in grunts and monosyllabic words. He compared a weasel like lemur to Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and a hippopotamus to King Kong Bundy, with Okerlund remarking they have a similar training regimen.
Okerlund's Wrestling History
In his early days, “Mean Gene”, as he was named by fellow Minnesotan, Jesse “The Body” Ventura first came to prominence by interviewing the greatest stars of the AWA, including Ventura, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Hulk Hogan. In 1984, Okerlund made the move to WWE where he became a staple on national cable television by continuing to interview the biggest names in sports-entertainment like Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and many more.
Gene Okerlund was also a part of the industry's biggest event, Wrestlemania 3 at the Pontiac Silverdome, with a history told in depth by the Detroit News including Oklerlund's announcement of the sell-out crowd,
whether it was 93,173, as the then-World Wrestling Federation announced, via “Mean” Gene Okerlund’s unmistakable voice, mid-show, or the tempered and more-realistic figure of 78,000 — soaked it all in, every grunt, every clothesline, every oversized head to the turnbuckle and every folding chair to the skull.
Find more of the passing of Gene Okerlund at WWE.com.