WWE Hall of Fame ring announcer Howard Finkel has died at the age of 69, the sports entertainment company announced Thursday.
Finkel will be remembered as a legendary voice of multiple wrestling generations, spanning from the early 1980s until part of the previous decade.
“The Fink” was hired as the very first employee of the WWF in 1980, after Vince K. McMahon took control of the organization. His stylings when introducing talent and announcing winners still resonate with fans to this day.
His trademark, “and new!” while stretching out the latter word, is perhaps what fans will remember most, however it certainly isn’t the only aspect of his work that will be remembered. Finkel had a way of making wrestling fans remember a talent solely based on the way they were introduced. The Fink was able to trigger good or bad memories of a wrestler from his inflection during ring introduction.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin was the most popular wrestler of his era, but that didn’t mean he deserved the same kind of introduction as “Hulk Hogan,” the previous generation’s biggest star. The two were incredibly different wrestlers, with two very different attitudes. Finkel captured the overall feel of Austin with a deep baritone of, “Stone Cold,” emphasis on the former, followed by a more energetic and firey “Steve Austin,” drawing out the latter.
Finkel’s artistic stylings resonated with everyone, including those he worked with inside World Wrestling Entertainment. Former WWE referee and Sportsnet AfterMath personality, Jimmy Korderas worked with Finkel for the entirety of his 20-plus years with the company.
“Howard Finkle was there for me from the first day I joined the WWF. He took me in and became not only a mentor but a wonderful friend,” said Korderas. “He was not only the greatest ring announcer of all-time and the legendary voice of an entire generation of wrestling fans, he was also the biggest wrestling fan himself. Above all of that, Howard had a huge heart and cared for everyone.”
“The world lost a truly great human being. Thank you, Fink. Rest well, my friend.”
Former WWE wrestler Santino Marella, now Sportsnet AfterMath personality Anthony Carelli, also worked with Finkel.
“The Fink is single-handedly the most iconic voice in the history of sports entertainment, professional wrestling, WWF & WWE,” noted Carelli.
“The Fink was a consummate professional and an absolute living encyclopedia with regards to the industry he loved so dearly. His enthusiasm and positive energy only came second to his devote loyalty.”
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. #RIPFink
No one was more loyal or loved pro wrestling more than The Fink.
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) April 16, 2020
Finkel was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) April 16, 2020