Howard Finkel, Legendary Voice in WWE, Passes Away at 69

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Photo: WWE

WWE announced on Thursday that arguably the most famous wrestling ring announcer in the world, and longtime WWE employee, Howard Finkel has passed away. He was 69 years old. Howard Finkel was a unique voice in the ring announcing business, who’s dramatic pronouncement of “And…..NEWWWWWWWWWWW…” would excite generations of pro wrestling fans.

A native of Newark, New Jersey, he first joined WWE in 1975, when it was still the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) doing odd jobs for Vince McMahon Sr. It wouldn’t be until 1977 that he would begin the career that would define him – as the company’s ring announcer – starting his new vocation at a WWWF event at Madison Square Gardens. By 1979, Howard Finkel had assumed the role of lead ring announcer, replacing long time announcer Joe McHugh.

Despite working for McMahon Sr. in various capacities since 1975, he never became an “official” employee of the WWWF (now shortened to World Wrestling Federation) until 1980, but his importance to the company’s rise cannot be understated. During the early 1980s, Finkel would often assist Vince McMahon Jr. in multiple capacities backstage, including creative and talent relations. It was Finkel who branded the event “WrestleMania”, a name that has become iconic within the industry.

Photo: WWE

Howard Finkel was a steadying presence on the microphone until 2000, when his duties and workload softened thanks to the work of Lillian Garcia and Tony Chimel. His workload would continue to diminish and by the mid-2000s, he was only sporadically working WWE Live Events. In 2009, Howard Finkel was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame for his lengthy tenure with the company (he’s recognized as the longest-tenured WWE employee) and would occasionally make guest ring announcing appearances with the WWE. His final ring announcing duties was sadly pre-taped – he couldn’t make it to the 25th Anniversary special for Raw in New York in January of 2018 due to health issues preventing his travel, but he did pre-record the ring announcement for The Undertaker.

Photo: WWE

In the past couple of years, Howard Finkel’s health began to deteriorate further, and last fall in September of 2019, he suffered a stroke. While his friends would mention he was still in good spirits, it appears that his multiple health issues finally caught up to him, and on Thursday, his death was announced by the WWE.

Photo: Curt Hawkins’ Instagram

The Last Word on Pro Wrestling team would like to offer our most sincere condolences to the entire Finkel family, their friends, and peers, during this tough time.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.

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