WWE Hall of Fame ring announcer Howard Finkel has died at age 69, according to a news release Thursday.
Finkel, best known as “The Fink”, made his announcing debut in 1977 for the then-World Wide Wrestling Federation. The WWWF would later become the WWF in 1979 and WWE in 2002.
Finkel became a full-time ring announcer as WWF’s first employee upon establishment in 1980.
The distinctive voice of Finkel was instantly recognizable to all. Finkel would introduce the biggest names of professional wrestling. Those include Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair among many others. He would also be well known for his signature call “and NNNEEEWWW World Champion!”
Howard Finkel and his in-ring involvements
While a ring announcer, Finkel did not shy away from in-ring competition. During a 1995 broadcast of WWE Raw, he battled against long-time rival Harvey Wippleman in a Tuxedo Match.
Finkel would also help X-Pac shave the head of Jeff Jarrett in a Hair vs. Hair Match at SummerSlam 1998.
The release adds that The Fink was an indispensable resource at WWE headquarters with his vast knowledge of sports entertainment. His encyclopedic memory and kindness have made him beloved by superstars, legends and Hall of Famers alike.
Finkel was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 4, 2009, before WrestleMania 25 in Houston.
At Survivor Series in 2011, Finkel had the honor to serve as the personal rink announcer of CM Punk in his match against Alberto Del Rio. Moreover, that was made per the request of CM Punk.
Finkel would also introduce the WWE Hall of Fame inductees for the Class of 2016 prior to WrestleMania 32 in Arlington, Tex.
“You weren’t someone until you heard Howard announce you,” Triple H says on Twitter. “A championship win didn’t feel real until you heard him say ‘and the new!'”
“His voice, his personality, and his positivity will be sorely missed,” Triple H adds. “Thank you for everything…especially your friendship.”
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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.
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