Monday Night RAW featured a traditional ten bell salute to Mean Gene Okurland, the announcer who so many of us grew up hearing the voice of on Saturday mornings and pay per view events.. After the silence, the noise of the WWE live show was burst open by the REAL AMERICAN theme.. Hulk Hogan began his entrance, in character, into the ring..
The video from WWE:
One could wonder how many people in that event knew the Hogan theme as it began.. or did it take a little for the 1980s and 90s to come back to the mind..
As Hogan went through his WWE style eulogy for Mean Gene, he mentioned how angels on high are entering the WWE announcer into the gates.. how the Ultimate Warrior and the Macho Man are enjoying a match.. how Andre the Giant is officiating.. The names went on and the Hulkster’s words forced nostalgia for those good old days of wrestling to come rushing back.
Industry watchers know the level of change that Vince McMahan and Linda have brought over the years. Some would say wrought over the years.. The changes are abundant. From the old days of multiple federations across the East Coast into the WWF, before the animals rights group sued and the F turned into Entertainment.. just about when the Federation figured it was time to ‘entertain’ instead of pretend they were sports..
Hulk Hogan is still from that last breed of character that, in character, holds firm to the vitamin eating traditions of the Reagan Era. When he was a cereal brand.. when he was a national figure during the late 20th century.
His image has been tarnished and his reputation dealt blows.. But his homage to Mean Gene was credible and his words were meaningful.. Yes, indeed.. so many big wrestling stars are in a match in the sky…. Flying high. Superfly..
Hogan’s the last of a dying breed..
Ten bell salutes in the WWE come early and often. So many wrestling perish of overdoses on drugs or alcohol, or overdoses on fame and fortune coupled with dreadful choices for their bodies and families..
It is almost as though the fame of professional wrestling is a curse within itself.. people who are not prone to fame are hit hard by the flashing cameras and even harder by the contracts and jobs that injure without Workers Compensation.
Their tortured careers brought us all laughter and cheers.. We clap and continue to root for the baby faces…
And miss Mean Gene, Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, and all of the voices and personalities that somehow helped form us during the formative years..