In a recent interview on Insight with Chris Van Vliet, Renee Young discussed the first time she interviewed John Cena, the biggest lessons she learned from Mean Gene Okerlund, and much more. You can read her comments below.
Renee Young on her first interview with John Cena before joining WWE: “My first interview with them was with John Cena. They’re like, ‘You’re gonna be interviewing John Cena. I was like, ‘OK.’ I did not even understand the gravity of what that meant. So, I’m doing some research in my head, and I’m like I’ll ask him about Hulk Hogan. At the time, Brooke Hogan was doing her music career or her reality show or something like that. So, I’m like I’m gonna talk to him about that. He’ll love that. I remember standing on our marks, and I had to give them my questions ahead of time. They were counting down, and the PR guy who was with Cena at the time – we were about to do it, and he was like, ‘We’re actually not going to do this interview.’ I was such a jackass. I was trying too hard to make the segments about myself and trying to be funny instead of trying to put over the talent the way you’re supposed to do that job. But I remember Cena was very gracious and sweet.”
On the biggest lessons she learned from Mean Gene Okerlund: “I would say it’s kind of having a case of the ‘Fuck its.’ He was so cheeky all the time, and you could see that in his interviews. The way Mean Gene was able to do his interviews was so different than how we do it. You could talk to wrestlers or backstage interviewers from the 80s and compare it to what we’re doing now, and it’s so different, script-wise. I think us being so upheld to the script changes that drastically. But for him, the way he was able to react to things and he had such a rapport with the wrestlers – you could tell he had their respect and that they all really enjoyed him. That was something that really stuck out to me from my time with him.
“But when him and I worked together, we never really talked about the backstage stuff. That was really never anything we talked about because a lot of times when we were doing Vintage, we were on a teleprompter. We would just be reading the script……but there were times where the best parts were like the mistakes when we would fuck up something. We were like, ‘No!’ It was right at the end, and I’m tired and losing my mind, and Gene is old and over it as well. The stuff that would fly out of his mouth during those screw-ups or in the time when they were resetting something in the back or we would be sitting in the green room bullshitting. He was just the best. And then afterwards, just having a million drinks at the bar together. He would just hold my hand and tell me that he loved me. He was so sweet.”
If using any of the above quotes, please credit Insight with Chris Van Vliet with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.