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.
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel has passed away at age 69. https://t.co/tqmD68ZsQp
— WWE (@WWE) April 16, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
I’m gonna dearly miss my friend @howardfinkel. Passionate Mets & wrestling fan. An incredible soul. He’s the soundtrack to so many of our childhoods. Nobody has ever done it better. Rest In Peace Fink.
— Brian Myers (@TheCurtHawkins) 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 National Wrestling Alliance sends its deepest sympathies to the family, friends and fans of legendary pro wrestling ring announcer Howard Finkel.
— NWA (@nwa) April 16, 2020
Howard Finkel was iconic in every sense. His passion for the sport was endless. Next to Vince himself I don't know if anyone adored WWE as much as Howard. A true sweetheart and kind soul. The voice of WWE/WWF forever left his mark and will forever be missed. #RIPFink
— Court Bauer (@courtbauer) 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
I'm absolutely gutted over the passing of Howard Finkel. Another voice of my childhood has been silenced. Such a sweet, sweet man. I'll miss our conversations about wrestling and Rock N Roll. This ABSOLUTELY sucks. Love ya Fink! pic.twitter.com/eAX0cOktda
— Brian Heffron aka The Blue Meanie (@BlueMeanieBWO) April 16, 2020
It’ll always stick me with whenever The Fink would announce a title change.
I don’t think anybody could ever hit that “And NEWWWWW!” as well as he could!
A sad loss for the world. Rest In Peace Howard Finkel.
— Ligero (@Ligero1) April 16, 2020
Very sad to hear about the passing of Howard Finkel. Howard was all class in addition to being the voice that introduced myself and millions of other kids to our heroes for the first time. The voice of a generation. His importance cannot be understated. Rip. Godspeed sir. pic.twitter.com/TBCYZTo6mt
— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) April 16, 2020
Very sad to wake up to the news of Howard Finkel's passing. The most iconic voice in the history of the wrestling business. I was lucky to meet Howard on a few occasions and he was always so kind, complimentary & classy. My thoughts and condolences are with his loved ones today. pic.twitter.com/iIfdkVWMHC
— Nick Aldis (@RealNickAldis) April 16, 2020