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Mean Gene cries foul over nickname
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun




Gene Okerlund has been known as Mean Gene for years.

But the guy who's got burger joints named after him (Mean Gene's Burgers, the burger that says 'Bite Me') -- is not so sure he likes the moniker hung on him by his WWF broadcasting sidekick at the time, Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

It was in Minneapolis, in the old AWA," says Okerlund. "Jesse said to me that he'd been partying all weekend long with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.

"He asked if I even knew who that was. I said, 'Jesse, I know who Tom Petty is ... he's that race car driver.'

"He said to me, 'You are so mean, Gene' ... and that was it.

"I consider myself a bonafide sports journalist. I have to be Mean Gene? Peter Jennings isn't Bruiser Peter Jennings."

Okerlund, 62, says he's feeling better now than he was 20 years ago. And his role within WWE has increased, with his presence on WWE 24/7 (contact your local cable provider to put heat on them to add it here).

Some of the action on WWE 24/7: ECW matches; bouts from historic venues like Boston Garden and Madison Square Garden from the 1970s and '80s; and pay-per-view events from not only WWE, but also NWA, AWA and WCW. Remember, because it's the On Demand service, you can watch the shows, then pause, rewind and fast forward when you want. WWE brought in Rowdy Roddy Piper, Bobby The Brain Heenan and Okerlund for Wednesday's official launch.

- More great news for wrestling fans: TNA will finally get some air time in Canada, with a weekly one-hour program airing on Spike TV beginning this fall.

- Lord Alfred Hayes died at the age of 77, following a series of strokes.

- One of the villains in the Survivor Series screwjob of Bret Hart is no longer with WWE. Referee Earl Hebner and his brother Dave were both released this past week.

- Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels at Summer Slam? One more match? Fans should really be careful what they wish for. The Heartbreak Kid will really have to bring it to elevate this match.

- WWE's Diva Search may be getting nice ratings, but last Monday's segment was a disaster. Boring!

- Chris Masters ... meet The Big Show. Finally, this whole Master Lock thing may be gaining some momentum.

- Matt Hardy disrupted another Edge match on Monday.

- WWE has been pressured into abandoning Muhammad Hassan's character, taking heat for a recent skit that involved "terrorists." It's suggested that Hassan's swan song may be tonight's match against The Undertaker.


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