Howard Finkel, one of the most prominent legendary voices of professional wrestling for generations, passed at the age of 69. Affectionately known as "The Fink," the long-time ring announcer provided introductions to wrestlers since the days of the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). The New Jersey native made his debut for the company in 1977 at New York's Madison Square Garden. By 1979, Finkel worked full-time as a ring announcer. Finkel became a lifelong employee as the WWWF transitioned as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) under Vince McMahon Jr in 1980. From the 80s-2000s, the Fink's signature voice helped make the likes of Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat," Macho Man" Randy Savage, The Rock, and" Stone Cold" Steve Austin into household names.
WWE's Greatest Voice
When a title changed hands and Finkel announced the "New Champion," it served as the perfect exclamation point for the talent who's made his/her mark with the WWF. The Fink occasionally participated in storylines including his infamous feud with Harvey Wippleman in a Tuxedo Match on Raw. In SummerSlam 1998, he helped X-Pac shave Jeff Jarrett's head in a Hair vs. Hair match. In the 2000s, the WWF rebranded itself to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and Finkel's duties were reduced to special engagements like WrestleMania. During the pay-per-view, he introduced the latest Hall of Fame class inductees as they emerged from the entrance for one final curtain call. Though he remained active backstage, Finkel retired from ring announcing in 2017.
WWE celebrated Finkel's long tenure with the company inducting him to their Hall of Fame in 2009. He holds the distinction as the only ring announcer inducted. Finkel's final appearance for the company was on January 2018 at the 25th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw, providing the recorded audio introduction of the Undertaker. While The Fink decided to step away from the ring, he became involved with the company's programming for WWE Network like Legend's House and The Edge and Christian Show. Those from across the wrestling industry from current and past WWE performers poured various tributes via social media. What is your fondest memory of Howard Finkel?
Saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and WWE's first employee, WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel. The grandest moments in sports-entertainment history were made all the grander thanks to Howard's iconic voice. pic.twitter.com/aAMY2XaHsm
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) April 16, 2020
In what has already been a tough week for our @WWE family, today we lost our 1st ever employee and WWE Hall of Famer, @howardfinkel. Howard's voice is iconic & recognized by generations of fans. He will be missed. #RIPHowardFinkel Thank you for everything. ❤️🙏❤️
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) April 16, 2020
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
I'm sad to hear of the passing of Howard Finkel! He was a gentleman and kind soul! I will always be debted to him for escorting Eddie from Minneapolis to Phoenix after he passed. When he called me….he said…"I don't want Eddie to be flown home by himself". RIP love you friend pic.twitter.com/gZM1ZMCltQ
— Vickie Guerrero (@VickieGuerrero) April 16, 2020
Rest in Peace Howard Finkel.
Greatest ring announcer of all time.
Historian and walking wrestling encyclopedia.
Hall of Famer.
Love you Fink. pic.twitter.com/tqvVq6gMeR
— Bruce Prichard (@bruceprichard) April 16, 2020
So Sorry To Hear Of The Passing Of Howard Finkel, A Great Friend For So Many Years. Rest In Peace! 🙏🏻
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) April 16, 2020
When announcing Bret, Howard would just say "Hitman" NOT "The Hitman." Howard Finkel always wanted everyone to sound as distinct and special as possible🖤 pic.twitter.com/zy8muXo5rN
— NattieByNature (@NatbyNature) April 16, 2020
So sad to hear about the passing of WWE's very first employee… WWE HOFer Howard Finkel. Howard was a great friend and wore many hats in the company. You will be sorely missed. RIP Howard. https://t.co/9flXlegGof
— Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle) April 16, 2020
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) April 16, 2020
Sad to say so long to legendary WWE ring announcer Howard Finkel who died at the age of 69. I was truly honored to have Howard announce many of my WWE matches. Not only was he one of best ring announcers, he was a stellar human being. I have nothing but great memories of this man pic.twitter.com/iDvXhMC1rS
— Marc Mero (@MarcMero) April 16, 2020
Here is Howard Finkel having an absolute blast sending a heel promo to Memphis as part of the USWA vs. WWF feud, where he, naturally, faced Harvey Wippleman.
"…Downtown Bruno. My goodness, that has to be the stupidest name I've ever heard!"
(I *tried* to clean up the audio…) pic.twitter.com/iINimCRnJ5
— David Bixenspan (@davidbix) April 16, 2020
Howard Finkel was a staple of my childhood. The voice we all grew up with. I first met Howard backstage at WrestleMania 33. I walked up and as I said "Hello, sir" and went to introduce myself, he burst out "HELLO, JOHNNY!" I couldn't believe he knew MY name! #RIPFink
— Johnny Gargano (@JohnnyGargano) April 16, 2020
We are saddened to learn that Legendary Wrestling Ring Announcer, Howard Finkel has passed away at the age of 69. Our thoughts are with his friends and family. pic.twitter.com/HiwooWVF4f
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) April 16, 2020
IMPACT Wrestling is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Howard Finkel. We send our condolences to his friends and family.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) April 16, 2020
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) April 16, 2020
When I first got to WWE, I couldn't wait to hear Howard Finkel announce my name. He's without a doubt the greatest ring announcer of all time. #RIPFink
— Booker T. Huffman (@BookerT5x) April 16, 2020
— John Layfield (@JCLayfield) April 16, 2020
Howard Finkel was a great friend and mentor to me. I was so blessed to be able to look to him for guidance, honesty and the occasional bit of humor. He spoke with kindness, and always had a sparkle in his eye when speaking about our industry. Thank you for everything Howard. 💛
— The Brandalorian (@TheBrandiRhodes) April 16, 2020
At WrestleMania 2000 after E&C won our first tag titles I found myself alone in the locker room w/ Howard Finkel after the show. I said "Howard, I've waited my whole life to hear YOU say those words".. AAAND NEWWW.. he hugged me.. He was genuine. He was the best. RIP
— Jay 'Christian' Reso (@Christian4Peeps) April 16, 2020
Very sad to hear #HowardFinkel passed. He was just a great guy always joking, laughing & positive. The greatest Ring Announcer ever, his iconic voice will live in Pro Wrestling history forever. Prayers go out to his family. #RIPFink pic.twitter.com/XGAYVwQrwv
— TAZ (@OfficialTAZ) April 16, 2020
Sad to hear that #HowardFinkel passed this morning. I had the pleasure of sharing the ring with him so many times. Unforgettable voice, and a true loving soul. Prayers go out to his family🙏🏼❤️
— Dustin Rhodes (@dustinrhodes) April 16, 2020
"Iconic" is an understatement.
— WWE (@WWE) April 16, 2020