WWE in mourning as iconic figure dies
The WWE announced today that legendary ring announcer Howard Finkel died at the age of 69. The cause of death was not disclosed.
"The Fink", whose career began with the company (then the WWWF) in 1975, became its longest-serving employee, serving as the full-time ring announcer for more than two decades, before being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.
Finkel debuted as a ring announcer in 1977 at Madison Square Garden in New York and was the voice of countless major moments in wrestling history during the 1980s and 1990s wrestling boom, sparked by "Hulkamania".
Finkel's signature call - "and NNNEEEWWW world champion" - marked the transition of several monumental moments in the company's history, as he stood beside legends such as "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock and many more.
On occasion, Finkel even got involved in the action. In addition to being featured in several storylines over the years, Finkel fought manager Harvey Wippleman in a match in 1995.
Very sad to hear #HowardFinkel passed. He was just a great guy always joking, laughing & positive. The greatest Ring Announcer ever, his iconic voice will live in Pro Wrestling history forever. Prayers go out to his family. #RIPFink pic.twitter.com/XGAYVwQrwv— TAZ (@OfficialTAZ) April 16, 2020
In a 2014 interview with Slam! Wrestling , Finkel said he came up with the name "WrestleMania" for the company's massive 1985 show, which would soon become WWE's version of the Super Bowl.
"This was 1984, so I said 20 years ago four guys from Liverpool came across the shores to the United States and made a phenomenal impression on everybody. They called that Beatlemania," Finkel said, referring to The Beatles. "So I said, 'There was Beatlemania. Why can't there be WrestleMania?' The rest is history."
Finkel's passing marks another blow in a brutal week for the WWE, which fired wrestlers and furloughed several employees on Thursday, citing financial issues caused by COVID-19.
"In what has already been a tough week for our WWE family, (Thursday) we lost our 1st ever employee and WWE Hall of Famer, @howardfinkel," Stephanie McMahon, wrestler and daughter of WWE godfather Vince McMahon, tweeted. "Howard's voice is iconic & recognised by generations of fans. He will be missed. #RIPHowardFinkel Thank you for everything."
Legendary WWE commentator Jim Ross and wrestling megastar Hulk Hogan were among many to pay tribute to Finkel.
Howard Finkle was on Team Hogan through the good and bad times,even when I was on the outs Howard would call on a consistent basis to tell me to always keep my head up,it was” never say never” and “you and Vince will work it out”,my good friend RIP,I love you 4LifeHH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) April 16, 2020
So sad to hear of the passing of my friend, the greatest ring announcer in the biz, Howard Finkel, at the age of 69.— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) April 16, 2020
The Hall of Famer is now ring announcing in Heaven. #RIPFink
No one was more loyal or loved pro wrestling more than The Fink. 🙏
This article first appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as WWE in mourning as iconic figure dies
The voice of my childhood wrestling days 😔 RIP Fink https://t.co/IZzmHo11r4— Adam Curley (@AdamCurleyMedia) April 16, 2020
I’m sad to hear of the passing of Howard Finkel! He was a gentleman and kind soul! I will always be debted to him for escorting Eddie from Minneapolis to Phoenix after he passed. When he called me....he said...”I don’t want Eddie to be flown home by himself”. RIP love you friend pic.twitter.com/gZM1ZMCltQ— Vickie Guerrero (@VickieGuerrero) April 16, 2020
Howard Finkel was a staple of my childhood. The voice we all grew up with. I first met Howard backstage at WrestleMania 33. I walked up and as I said "Hello, sir" and went to introduce myself, he burst out "HELLO, JOHNNY!" I couldn't believe he knew MY name! #RIPFink— Johnny Gargano (@JohnnyGargano) April 16, 2020