"Mean" Gene Okerlund was a vital part of the WWE's success in the 1980s.
1. What a crappy way to start off 2019. The WWE announced early Wednesday that iconic broadcaster Gene Okerlund has passed away at 76.
The man known as "Mean Gene" was a staple of WWE (then-WWF) programming in the '80s and was instrumental in getting over talent with this over-the-top commentary and hilarious interviews. His disdain for all the heels made YOU hate them even more. In the '80s, when we thought wrestling was "real," commentators were responsible for selling the storylines and making the audience hate or love a wrestler. He did it better than anyone.
He also played a big role in building up Hulk Hogan when he joined the WWF after leaving the AWA, where he and Oklerlund worked together.
Let's take a trip down memory lane and remember the truly spectacular work by Mean Gene Oklerlund.
• In my opinion, this was his finest work ever.
• Here's the infamous clip of Mean Gene dropping an f-bomb during an interview when something falls in the background.
• Mean Gene training with Hulk Hogan was one of the most memorable vignettes of the '80s
• Here's Mean Gene losing it when Wendy Ritcher drops quite a double entendre.
• This is no suprise given the talents of each man, but Mean Gene and Bobby Heenan had amazing chemistry.
2. A brand new SI Media Podcast features a roundtable discussion about The Office. Alan Sepinwall, the chief TV critic for Rolling Stone, and former MLB pitcher and Office superfan Dan Haren joined me to discuss all aspects of the show. Best episodes, worst characters, favorite one-liners, top opening scenes and more are all covered. Sepinwall also shares some inside details on the post-Steve Carrell years and what could've made Seasons 8 and 9 better. You can listen to the podcast below or download it on iTunes.
3. After defending Booger McFarland's bizarre crane all season, it looks like ESPN may be coming to its senses.
4. Yes, every clip is STILL instantly better when you dub in Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.
5. "How can you disrespect Philly Collins." Baker Mayfield was mic'd up for the Browns' Week 16 game against the Bengals and the first two minutes of the clip are all about Phil Collins and In The Air Tonight.
6. This happened right before the Christmas break, but if you didn't hear it and you've ever wagered on a football game in your life, listen to SiriusXM's Chris "Mad Dog" Russo take you through the highs and lows of betting in this fantastic clip.
7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: Since this week's SI Media Podcast is all about The Office, here's one of the more underrated scenes in the show's history.
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IN CLOSING: As we start a new year, I just want to thank all the Traina Thoughts readers (and SI Media Podcast listeners) for the support in 2018. I've been doing this a long time now, so to still have people read what I write or listen to what I say is a privilege and I appreciate you clicking, reading, downloading and everything else. It means a lot and does not go unnoticed, so thank you.