“WWE is saddened to learn that Howard Finkel has passed away at age 69,” the WWE said in their April 16 statement. “When considering the greatest ring announcers in the history of sports and sports-entertainment, you’d be hard-pressed to name one better than Howard Finkel.”
Finkel, who originally hailed from Newark, New Jersey, was best known as “The Fink.” It was “a label that had been attached affectionately to Howard over the years,” the WWE wrote. He debuted as a ring announcer at Madison Square Garden in 1977 for WWWF, which was WWE’s predecessor.
The Fink Welcomed Stars Like Steve Austin and The Ultimate Warrior Into The Ring
Two years after joining WWWF, Finkel became a full-time announcer. He went on to become the first and longest-serving employee of the WWE once it was formed in the 1980s. He became renowned for his distinctive voice and welcoming superstars like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Ultimate Warrior, and many more into the ring with his signature call, “and NNNEEEWWW World Champion!”
Being a ring announcer didn’t mean The Fink never jumped in the ring. It was The Fink’s turn to wrestle in 1995 when he went against longtime enemy Harvey Wippleman. A few years later, in 1998 at SummerSlam, he assisted X-Pac to shave Jeff Jarrett’s head in a Hair vs. Hair Match.
Finkel was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009. “The Fink was an indispensable resource inside the WWE offices for his vast knowledge of sports-entertainment history,” the WWE wrote in their statement. “Well respected by current Superstars, WWE Legends and Hall of Famers, Finkel’s encyclopedic memory and kindness made him beloved among his colleagues.
“WWE extends its condolences to Finkel’s family, friends and fans.”
Celebrities Remember The Fink
Celebrities were saddened to learn of Finkel’s death, taking to Twitter to share their condolences.
Professional wrestler Brian Myers remembered The Fink as an “incredible soul.”
He tweeted: “I’m gonna dearly miss my friend @howardfinkel. Passionate Mets & wrestling fan. An incredible soul. He’s the soundtrack to so many of our childhoods. Nobody has ever done it better. Rest In Peace Fink.”
Florida Man also remembered the WWE ring announcer. “Fink was not only an indelible part of my childhood but he couldn’t have been sweeter to me any time I saw him backstage,” he tweeted. “I’m grateful to have known him.”
Wrestler Brian Heffron said he was devastated over The Fink’s death. “I’m absolutely gutted over the passing of Howard Finkel. Another voice of my childhood has been silenced. Such a sweet, sweet man. I’ll miss our conversations about wrestling and Rock N Roll,” he wrote. “This ABSOLUTELY sucks. Love ya Fink!”
Fans Mourned The Fink on Social Media
The Fink’s death struck a chord with fans, who took to social media platforms to mourn the death of the famed announcer. His name quickly became a top-trending Twitter topic as netizens flocked to the micro-blog to mourn the WWE star. Many remembered him as an indelible part of their childhood.