Howard Finkel dead: Tributes pour in after legendary WWE ring announcer passes away at 69
Legendary WWE announcer Howard Finkel has passed away at the age of 69, the professional wrestling promotion has confirmed. Finkel had begun working for the WWE, then the WWWF, in 1977.
A statement on WWE’s website read: “WWE is saddened to learn that Howard Finkel has passed away at age 69.
“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.
“A native of Newark, NJ, “The Fink” — a label that had been attached affectionately to Howard over the years — made his ring announcing debut at Madison Square Garden in 1977 for WWE’s predecessor, WWWF.
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“By 1979, Finkel was the full-time ring announcer for WWWF, and when WWE was established in 1980, The Fink became the first — and eventually longest-serving — employee.
“Finkel’s distinctive voice was instantly recognizable, and for more than two decades Superstars such as The Ultimate Warrior, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and more would have a title victory marked by The Fink’s signature call, “and NNNEEEWWW World Champion!”
“Despite being a ring announcer, Finkel didn’t shy away from in-ring competition in certain circumstances. In 1995, he battled his longtime rival Harvey Wippleman in a Tuxedo Match on Raw, and later helped X-Pac shave Jeff Jarrett’s head in a Hair vs. Hair Match at SummerSlam 1998.
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“In addition to his legendary tenure as a ring announcer, The Fink was an indispensable resource inside the WWE offices for his vast knowledge of sports-entertainment history.
“Well respected by current Superstars, WWE Legends and Hall of Famers, Finkel’s encyclopedic memory and kindness made him beloved among his colleagues. The Fink was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 4, 2009.
“WWE extends its condolences to Finkel’s family, friends and fans.”
Stephanie McMahon wrote on Twitter noted that Finkel would be recognised for generations.
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“In what has already been a tough week for our WWE family, today we lost our 1st ever employee and WWE Hall of Famer, Howard Finkel,” she said.
“Howard’s voice is iconic & recognised by generations of fans. He will be missed. Thank you for everything.”
Legendary commentator Jim Ross also had his say on the untimely passing.
“So sad to hear of the passing of my friend, the greatest ring announcer in the biz, Howard Finkel, at the age of 69.
“The Hall of Famer is now ring announcing in Heaven.
“No one was more loyal or loved pro wrestling more than The Fink.”
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