Thursday, August 4, 2011

Gene Okerlund [RF Video Shoot Interview]

The Good
I've thought interviews with play-by-play announcers have sounded kind of unusual, like Lance Russell for example, it sounds funny because of his distinct voice being in this totally different context. However, listening to Gene Okerlund was kind of surreal. While I've heard only limited amounts of his play-by-play, his distinct cadence, vocabulary and style are so identifiable and listening to that voice talk about pro-wrestling in a kayfabe-breaking way is just bizarre at times. The content is great though. They talk briefly about his pre-AWA background in broadcasting and his transition into the company. Okerlund became most famous as an interviewer in the WWF in the Rock-N-Wrestling days, which is what much of this interview focuses on. Okerlund offers his two-cents on talent, usually an anecdote or two and is very willing to go through name-by-name. While I personally find this approach bland, it was very interesting with him and he knows how to command an audiences attention.

The Bad
For what this was, not many flaws stand out. As an announcer, Okerlund had a certain niche in the business. He interacted with everyone, but was tighter with some than others and worked more closely with some than others. The tendency is to ask him about the many big names he interviewed on TV, but "Mean" Gene was more than just that on-camera personality. It seems like getting into the nitty-gritty of WWF's production would have taken this shoot to the next level. In fact, Kevin Dunn, who is one of those unsung heroes of the WWF's success (although he's been blasted by Jim Cornette for being anti-wrestling and detrimental to the in-ring product) who Okerlund could definitely have talked about. This was a fun interview with someone who had an amazing career and is deceptively knowledgeable about pro-wrestling's history and one can enjoy it for that.

The Rating: ***3/4

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