Former WWE ring announcer Howard Finkel has sadly passed away, aged 69.
The legendary announcer was the WWE's first and longest serving employee, having joined the WWWF - its regional predecessor - in 1977 before going on to become one the most iconic voices in professional wrestling. In their statement on their website today, WWE paid tribute to the 2009 Hall of Fame inductee:
"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!'"
"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. Well respected by current Superstars, WWE Legends and Hall of Famers, Finkel’s encyclopedic memory and kindness made him beloved among his colleagues. The Fink was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 4, 2009."
His voice ingrained in the memories of so many; a representative of our childhood; loveable, affable, unique, and the greatest ring announcer of all time.
There will never be anyone like Howard Finkel. pic.twitter.com/83qvTr1NZ1
— OVP - Retro Wrestling Podcast (@ovppodcast) April 16, 2020
The Fink was an unforgettable voice for a generation of wrestling fans and may of those he worked with have been paying tribute:
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
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
— John Layfield (@JCLayfield) April 16, 2020
Saddened about the passing of my friend & colleague, Howard "The Fink" Finkel. Fink was my main contact when I first starting getting myself & Jeff booked as extras in the mid 90s. Howard always took great care of us & had a soft spot in his heart The Hardy Boyz. #RIPFink pic.twitter.com/dNPTscanuR
— The #MULTIFARIOUS Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) April 16, 2020
I lost my friend today
I saw him once a month
The Voice of Wrestling
I loved him so much
The Fink pic.twitter.com/EOWmADTkjO
— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) April 16, 2020
God Bless ya Fink. 🙏
Thanks for the childhood memories.
Thanks for always being on our side.
Thanks for being a friend. pic.twitter.com/33UCOChwPc
— Bully Ray (@bullyray5150) April 16, 2020
Finkel was an ever-present face on WWE television throughout the 80s and 90s but gradually faded off our screens after the turn of the century. He did however return for one special introduction in 2011.