WWE on Thursday announced that longtime ring announcer Howard Finkel has died at the age of 69. The cause of death is currently unknown.
Lovingly nicknamed The Fink, Finkel is widely regarded as the first full-time employee of WWE. Still wearing a tuxedo, Finkel was known for his distinct voice whenever he announced a wrestler as they walked down the aisle toward the ring. His trademark below “And newww ….”, Drawing from the word new, after a champion has been crowned.
Originally from Newark, N.J., Finkel began his career in 1977 as a ring announcer for the World Wide Wrestling Federation – the company that would eventually become WWE – making it a full-time concert two years later.
Over the next 30 years, Finkel would become a regular fixture at every WWE live and pay-per-view event, including the company’s signature event, WrestleMania – it’s even credited with finding the name of the evening, inspired by the Beatles “American invasion.
“It was in 1984,” Finkel told Slam Wrestling in an interview from 2014, “so I said 20 years ago that four guys from Liverpool crossed the coast of the United States and made a phenomenal impression on everyone. They called it Beatlemania. So I said, “There was Beatlemania. Why can’t there be WrestleMania? »»
In the early 2000s, Finkel cut his ring by announcing homework behind the scenes of WWE.
In 2009, Finkel was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Besides his announcement, Finkel was known to get into the ring from time to time. In 1995, he beat manager Harvey Wippleman in a Monday night tuxedo match on Raw. Finkel lost a tuxedo match to fellow announcer Tony Chimel in a 1999 Smackdown episode.
In a 2002 evening dress vs. tuxedo match on Raw evening in 2002, Finkel was beaten by announcer Lilian Garcia.
Finkel even tried reality TV, starring on WWE Network’s “Legends’s House” show alongside other wrestling figures, Roddy Piper, Hillbilly Jim, “Mean” Gene Okerlund and Pat Patterson for n just name a few.
The wrestling world opened its heart to pay tribute to Finkel on Thursday.
“When I got started in WWE and heard Howard’s voice introducing Edge, I woke up. It was when it became real that I did it, “wrote Adam” Edge “Copeland of the WWE Hall of Famer and Orangeville, Ont., On Instagram. “I will never forget the goosebumps I had at night during a home show at the Skydome when he said” and NEEEEEEWWWW Intercontinental Champion “… More important than all that, he was my friend. He was an authentic, warm and compassionate man who absolutely loved his work. “
“Howard’s voice is iconic and recognized by generations of fans. We will miss him. #RIPHowardFinkel Thank you for everything, ”tweeted WWE Director Stephanie McMahon.
Finkel was an instrumental figure in the 1980s during the rise of Hulk Hogan and Hulkamania.
“Howard Finkle [sic] was on the Hogan team through good times and bad times, “the Hulkster tweeted. ” [E]even when I was outside, Howard called consistently to tell me to always keep my head up, it was “never say never” and “you and Vince [McMahon] it will work “, my good friend RIP, I love you 4LifeHH”
– With Washington Post files