Howard Finkel Who Was the WWE's First-Ever Employee and Beloved Ring Announcer Dies at 69
"Finkel's encyclopedic memory and kindness made him beloved among his colleagues," the WWE said in a statement
Howard Finkel, the longtime WWE announcer, has died. He was 69.
The WWE confirmed Finkel’s death in a statement on Thursday, though his cause of death has not been released.
Finkel, known as “The Fink” and for his iconic “and NNNEEEWWW World Champion!” call, announced his first match at Madison Square Garden in 1997, when the WWE was still known as the WWWF.
When the WWE was established in 1980, Finkel became the company’s first and longest-serving employee. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.
The WWE remembered Finkel as a respected and beloved figure.
“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,” the WWE’s statement read. “Well respected by current Superstars, WWE Legends and Hall of Famers, Finkel’s encyclopedic memory and kindness made him beloved among his colleagues.”
Several members of the wrestling community shared tributes to The Fink on social media.
“You weren’t someone until you heard Howard announce you,” wrote wrestler and WWE exec Triple H (Paul Michael Levesque) 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. Thank you for everything…especially your friendship.”
Wrestler Tommy Dreamer shared on Twitter that he is “crushed” at the news of Finkel’s death and shared a photo of the pair together.
“I lost my friend today,” he wrote. “I saw him once a month. The Voice of Wrestling. I loved him so much. The Fink.”
Brian Meyers added on Twitter, “Nobody has ever done it better,” calling Finkel an “incredible soul.”
“Sad to hear that #HowardFinkel passed this morning. I had the pleasure of sharing the ring with him so many times,” Dustin Rhodes wrote on the social media platform. “Unforgettable voice, and a true loving soul. Prayers go out to his family.”
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Hulk Hogan also remembered Finkel as a dear friend, sharing on Twitter that the announcer would call him “on a consistent basis to tell me to always keep my head up.”
In an emotional tribute, Kevin Owens called Finkel “the best.”
“It’s that simple,” the wrestler wrote on Twitter. “I’ll never forget the last few times I saw him…the excitement he still had for the industry, the genuine concern he showed when asking about how my family was doing despite his own declining health… I’m so grateful I got to know him.”
Owens recalled the last time he saw Finkel with a photo, writing, “Last time I saw Howard was when a few of the boys got together to go visit him.”
“He was very happy and so were we. At one point, he busted out that trademark flawless ring announcer voice and rocked the whole place,” Owens said.
“He still had the pipes. I’ll always cherish that memory.”