It's been a tough week for WWE. Right after announcing the release of numerous superstars and backstage employees, the company announced WWE Hall of Fame ring announcer Howard Finkel died at the age of 69. He was the company's first employee, and ended up being WWE's longest-serving member.
Finkel was known for his distinct voice, and it led to him being beloved by fans and wrestlers. He has announced a countless number of shows including WrestleMania III, which was headlined by Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. The event also had 93,000 fans, which was a record at the time. When talking about the event, Finkel said: "They can never take it away from me. It's something that I cherish and I've always enjoyed, that WrestleMania in 1985, moving even into the one in 1987 in Pontiac, Michigan. How do you think it felt to announce in front of 93,000 people? It's not easy."
Because of the impact Finkel made on the company, he was named to the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2009. In recent years, Finkel has been working backstage, but he was also dealing with health issues. Fans and WWE personalities all expressed their love for Finkel on social media.
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
Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer sent a message to Finkel, thanking him for all he did for WWE. His voice was a big part of WWE's rise to fame in the 1980s, and when the company transitioned into the Attitude Era in the 1990s, Finkel was right there with WWE.
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
Longtime announcer Jim Ross is another person who has known Finkel since his start in WWE. Ross called him the "greatest ring announcer" in pro wrestling history, and he mentioned how much Finkel loved his job and everything about it.
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
Brandi Rhodes, the Chief Brand Officer of AEW, knows Finkel very well, as she spent time in WWE with her husband Cody Rhodes before they launched AEW. During her time with the company, Brandi Rhodes looked to Finkel for advice, and by the looks of things, it has paid off.
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
WWE legend Christian talked about the time he and Edge won the tag team championships for the first time, and Finkle announced them as the winners. Finkel is known for saying, "AAAND NEWWW," anytime new champions are crowned, and Christian absolutely loved it.
The Fink returning to announce CM Punk at Survivor Series 2011 at Madison Square Garden was such a cool moment to experience live, commentary team making fun of him for being a little rusty aside. Still killed it, that voice is forever untouchable.
RIP Howard Finkel. pic.twitter.com/nxmOr0ey5H— 🐯TIGER DRIVER🐯 (@TigerDriver9X) April 16, 2020
During the Survivor Series in 2011, Finkel returned to be the ring announcer for CM Punk, and received a big ovation from the fans. Finkel turned out to be a good luck charm for CM Punk as he beat Alberto Del Rio to win the WWE Championship.
Another Great Moment
Howard Finkel made every big moment bigger . Rest Easy Fink. pic.twitter.com/9T9CPI8R24— Peter Rosenberg (@Rosenbergradio) April 16, 2020
As mentioned earlier, Finkel was the ring announcer at WrestleMania III, and he announced Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat becoming the new Intercontinental Champion. The match between Steamboat and "Macho Man" Randy Savage is considered one of the best in WWE history, and Finkel made it bigger.
First met Howard Finkel in 1993 when I started working with @WWE.— Jerry Lawler (@JerryLawler) April 16, 2020
Always the most helpful and genuine friend to everyone he came in contact with. My favorite day with Howard was when he and I attended a Cleveland Browns, New York Jets game together. Miss you, Fink! RIP pic.twitter.com/z5PP9MeEEJ
"The King" Jerry Lawler talked about the time when he first met Finkel, which was in 1993. Whenever Lawler needed anything, Finkel was right there, and he was like that with everyone in the company. Lawler also revealed they went to an NFL game together.