wrestling / Columns

Botched!: Asuka, Lio, Mean Gene, More

January 5, 2019 | Posted by Steve Cook
Gene Okerlund

Hi, hello & welcome to Botched! The first week of 2018 has certainly been a newsworthy one, if not full of wonderful material for this column. We still press on though, and pay tribute to one of our all-time favorite wrestling personalities in the process.

1. Asuka Wasn’t Ready For Asuka: You could tell it was a slow news week in WWE, as Asuka botching a move on a house show in Tampa was one of the top stories. She went for a Poetry in Motion type move on Becky Lynch in the corner, using Charlotte Flair as a springboard. She didn’t step far enough onto Charlotte’s back, leading to her coming up short. She tried to kip up and do something, but Becky was too busy selling the imagined impact.

The amazing thing to me was reading the comments on the tweet & people getting all bent out of shape over the idea of Asuka messing something up. It could never be Asuka! Charlotte didn’t lean forward enough! Never mind the idea that moving is probably the last thing somebody in that position should be doing. I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal if somebody’s favorite wrestler made a mistake. Everybody that’s ever stepped in the ring has. Don’t have a hissy fit, the people backstage sure aren’t. They’re not going to strip Asuka of the title because she messed up a wrestling move.

2. Luchador tries to do 2 of my least favorite things at once : People who have read enough of my work know there are certain things that immediately turn me off of a wrestling match. In this match, Arkangel Divino tried to do two of them at the same time. He went for a reverse hurricanrana (which I hate) on Dragon Bane on the apron (which I also hate).

It didn’t work, and thank goodness it didn’t. Last thing we need is more people deciding that combining these two idiotic things is a good idea.

3. Lio Rush picks a weird way to take Seth’s stomp : This isn’t so much a botch as it is a guy trying to cripple himself.

I mean, I guess that’s one way for Lio Rush to stand out! If you’re a manager you better be ready to bump your ass off. Honestly, we should be happy the guy sold it, considering he no-sold a sit-out powerbomb off of a ladder through a table in CZW.

A Botched! Tribute: “Mean” Gene Okerlund: The wrestling world was saddened by the passing of the legendary “Mean” Gene Okerlund this week. Okerlund was at the center of most of my favorite childhood wrestling memories. He was the man holding the microphone for Hulk Hogan more often than not from the AWA to the WWF & finally in WCW. He was there for the Hulkster’s first WWE championship victory over the hated Iron Sheik. He was there when Hogan went Hollywood & helped form the NWO.

He talked to other people, of course. Of course, Jesse “The Body/Mind” Ventura was the one that gave Gene his nickname. His interactions with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan through the years were legendary. Ric Flair screaming Okerlund’s nickname & first name at the top of his lungs was often a lead-in to something great. Who could forget Randy Savage’s interviews with Gene that propelled the Macho Man towards superstardom? Or Bret Hart asking Gene who he was to doubt El Dandy? Okerlund’s last interview on WWE television was with AJ Styles during Raw 25, making sure that the greatest wrestler of every decade I’ve been alive during had at least one interview with “Mean” Gene Okerlund.

There has never been, and likely never will be, a better pro wrestling interviewer than Okerlund. He was a consummate professional, always on the top of his game & doing his best to make sure his interview subjects were on top of theirs.

Botches happen, though. We all remember Okerlund as the super-serious reporter that wasn’t easily thrown. This AWA interview with “Dr. D” David Schultz was one of the few times Okerlund completely broke down on camera. Who could blame him? Schultz’s delivery combined with the controversial content by today’s standards made for pretty hilarious stuff.

He apparently recovers enough for a follow-up question, so God bless him. It was fairly early in Gene’s career, so what the hell?

Sometimes things were beyond Gene’s control. For example, at SummerSlam 1988 when the SummerSlam sign wouldn’t co-operate with Okerlund interviewing Heenan & “Ravishing” Rick Rude. I die every time I watch this.

The time that Gene broke character in the middle of Ric Flair’s WWF Championship-winning promo to tell somebody to put a cigarette out also kills me every time.

Then there were times that an interview subject lost his way, like when Gene interviewed Harlem Heat & Booker T got on the topic of Hulk Hogan…

To Gene’s credit, he didn’t even sell it. He moved on to Stevie Ray while Sister Sherri, another consummate professional, did her best to get Booker T back into character. When it’s live you just gotta move on, and that’s exactly what he did. Wrestling fans in my age group were horribly spoiled by the presence of Gene Okerlund. He might not have been as easy on the eyes as Maria Kanellis or Renee Young, but he set a standard that’s impossible for anybody to follow, even, as much as I love her, Charly Caruso.

Rest in power, Mean Gene. Say hi to Gorilla & the Weas-er, Brain for us.

Thanks for reading! If you see (or hear) anything wrong in the world of wrestling, let me know via Twitter or e-mail at [email protected] Have a good weekend!