If you have been a fan for the past few decades, chances are you are on the edge of the proverb when you hear Howard Finkel introduce some of the biggest stars of the modern generation of modern generation professional wrestling.
And oh, that incredible and powerful voice, when the man known as “The Fink” smoothly called for superstars as they prepared to fight. It was a voice whose booming rhythm marked the summit of new champions, such as Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Steve Austin, and marked the event with his signature call, “and world champion NNNEEEWWW!”
The iconic voice was turned off Thursday when Howard Finkel died at the age of 69.
Known as the voice of Madison Square Garden, Finkel was the company’s main ring announcer until 2000 when Lillian Garcia and Tony Chimel took over the assignments on the Raw and Smackdown shows. In the mid-2000s, he was excluded from salary per view and switched to a backstage role, continuing to make occasional appearances throughout the year at special events.
A 2009 WWE inductee Hall of Fame, Finkel was the company’s first employee when he changed from the James Wrestling World Federation of Vincent James McMahon to Vincent Kennedy McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation.
The Newark, N.J., originally joined WWWF in 1975 and made his debut at Madison Square Garden two years later. When WWF was founded in 1980, Finkel was the first on board and finally became the longest-serving employee.
Finkel announced many of the greatest moments in WWE’s history for three decades.
“The grandest moment in the history of sports-entertainment was made even greater by Howard’s iconic voice,” said WWE CEO and owner Vince McMahon.
“You are not someone until you hear Howard announce you,” WWE exec Triple H (Paul Levesque) posted on Twitter. “Championship wins don’t feel real until you hear them say ‘and new!’ His voice, personality and positivity will be missed. Thank you for everything … especially your friendship. “
“In what has been a tough week for our WWE family, today we lost our first employee and WWE’s Howard Finkel Hall of Famer. Howard’s voice is an icon and is recognized by generations of fans. He will be missed, “WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon tweeted.
Famous for his signature tuxedo, Finkel appeared in every Wrestlemania from 1985 to 2016, the same year that the famous Undertaker’s winning streak ended. He returned in 2018 to announce The Undertaker for the 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw.
Finkel told Slam Wrestling in an interview in 2014 that he initially proposed the moniker “Wrestlemania” to Vince McMahon when the concept was first formed.
Recalling the great impression that the Beatles created in 1964, Finkel approached McMahon during the meeting while exchanging ideas for a name.
“This is 1984, so I say 20 years ago four people from Liverpool came to the United States and made a phenomenal impression on everyone. They called Beatlemania. So I said, ‘There is Beatlemania. Why can’t there be Wrestlemania? ’”
Finkel participated in the only match when he was against manager (and old friend) Harvey Wippleman in “Tuxedo Match” on Raw in 1995, and in 1998 at Summer Slam he helped X-Pac shave Jeff Jarrett’s hair with hair vs. hair. match hair.
Lifer WWE, Finkel is universally loved by people throughout the wrestling industry.
Finkel, whose sharp intelligence is suitable for similar joke artists such as Bobby Heenan and Gene Okerlund, is not only a friend during good times, but he is also there for hard times too.
“Howard Finkel was on Team Hogan through good and bad times,” Hulk Hogan recalled. “Even when I’m out, Howard will call consistently to tell me to always keep my head. That ‘never said never’ and ‘You and Vince will solve it.’ My good friend RIP. I love you 4LifeHH. “
“Sad because of the death of my friend and colleague, Howard‘ Fink ’Finkel. Fink was my main contact when I first found myself and Jeff ordered as an extra in the mid 90s. “Howard is always very attentive to us and has a soft spot in his heart for The Hardy Boyz,” tweeted Matt Hardy.
Many wrestling superstars today remember Finkel’s influence on them as young fans.
“A sincere, warm, and loving man who truly loves his work,” Finkel is the best, Edge (Adam Copeland) posted on social media. As a young fan, Edge considers The Fink’s distinctive sound as the soundtrack for his generation.
“Howard Finkel is the voice of Christian (Jay Reso) and I imitate when we do the introduction of our own ring for the living room or side yard (depending on the weather) wrestling ‘show.’ I know there is a whole generation of children, now gray-haired adults, who do the same thing. He is ‘our voice.’ When I debuted at WWE and I heard Howard’s voice introduce Edge, I was excited. That’s when it became apparent that I made it. I will never forget the creeps I experienced that night at a home show at The Skydome when he said and ‘NEEEEEEWWWW Intercontinental Champion.’
The broadcaster’s friendly encyclopedic knowledge about this business also made him a lot of people.
“In addition to his legendary tenure as ring announcer, The Fink is an indispensable resource in the WWE office because of his extensive knowledge of sports-entertainment history … Well respected by the current Superstar, WWE Legend and Hall of Fame, memory “Finkel’s encyclopedic and kindness made him a lover among his colleagues,” WWE said in a statement.
“He was always happy to offer advice too, WWE’s Renee Young posted on Instagram. “Howard always had so many encouraging words for me when I first started working with WWE … happy to know him.”
Loyalty is also not considered.
“It’s sad to hear the departure of my friend, the biggest ring announcer in the world, Howard Finkel, at the age of 69,” tweeted WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross. “Hall of Famer now rings announcing in Heaven. No one is more loyal or prefers pro wrestling than The Fink. “
While no immediate cause was given for his death, Finkel suffered a stroke a few years ago, and in 2016 underwent surgery on a herniated disc in his lower back.
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