Heartbreaking news from WWE this morning as Howard Finkel, unarguably the greatest ring announcer in the history of the company (and, slightly more arguably, the greatest ring announcer in the history of wrestling) has died. He was 69 years old.
When considering the greatest ring announcers in the history of sports and sports-entertainment, you’d be hard-pressed to name one better than Howard Finkel. A native of Newark, NJ, “The Fink” — a label that had been attached affectionately to Howard over the years — made his ring announcing debut at Madison Square Garden in 1977 for WWE’s predecessor, WWWF.
By 1979, Finkel was the full-time ring announcer for WWWF, and when WWE was established in 1980, The Fink became the first — and eventually longest-serving — employee. Finkel’s distinctive voice was instantly recognizable, and for more than two decades Superstars such as The Ultimate Warrior, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and more would have a title victory marked by The Fink’s signature call, “and NNNEEEWWW World Champion!”
While no cause of death was announced, The Fink had been dealing with health issues that limited his public appearances for the past several years including a 2018 stroke. Even that couldn’t keep him away, however, as he visited Monday Night Raw in September of 2019. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.
The role of Howard Finkel’s voice in our memories of the World Wrestling Federation of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s can’t be understated. Our love and condolences go out to his family, friends, and fans. Below are a few videos of his work, in case you’d like to hear it again. Rest in peace, Fink.