WWE Hall of Fame ring announcer Howard Finkel has died at the age of 69. Finkel spent more than three decades working for the WWE, and his voice is tied to many of the biggest moments in WWE history, stretching from the very first WrestleMania match, between The Executioner and Tito Santana in 1985, to serving as CM Punk's personal ring announcer at Survivor Series in 2011.
Between his on-air role and constant presence backstage at WWE events, Finkel connected with many different generations of WWE talent. Stars of the past and present expressed their appreciation for Finkel on social media in reaction to Thursday's news.
Saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and WWE's first employee, WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel. The grandest moments in sports-entertainment history were made all the grander thanks to Howard's iconic voice. pic.twitter.com/aAMY2XaHsm— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) April 16, 2020
You weren't someone until you heard Howard announce you. A championship win didn't feel real until you heard him say "and the new!" His voice, his personality, and his positivity will be sorely missed. Thank you for everything...especially your friendship. https://t.co/CYSPt6vnvU— Triple H (@TripleH) April 16, 2020
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I will miss this man. Howard Finkel was the voice @christian4peeps and I emulated when we performed our own ring introductions for our living room or side yard(depending on the weather) wrestling "shows". I know there's an entire generation of kids, now grizzled adults who did the same thing. He was "our voice". When I debuted in the WWE and I heard Howard's voice introduce Edge, I welled up. THAT'S when it became real that I'd made it. I will never forget the goosebumps I had the night on a house show at The Skydome when he said "and NEEEEEEWWWW Intercontinental Champion". Our first tag title win at WrestleMania of all places. The voice? Howard. More importantly than all of that, he was my friend. He was a genuine, warm and compassionate man who absolutely LOVED his job. I remember standing with him nightly with a bunch of the boys firing him up as Welcome to the Jungle played for his ring intro music. This hurts. The Fink. The best. Ever.
Howard Finkle was on Team Hogan through the good and bad times,even when I was on the outs Howard would call on a consistent basis to tell me to always keep my head up,it was" never say never" and "you and Vince will work it out",my good friend RIP,I love you 4LifeHH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) 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.— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) April 16, 2020
The Hall of Famer is now ring announcing in Heaven. #RIPFink
No one was more loyal or loved pro wrestling more than The Fink. 🙏
Last time I saw Howard was when a few of the boys got together to go visit him. He was very happy and so were we.— Kevin (@FightOwensFight) April 16, 2020
At one point, he busted out that trademark flawless ring announcer voice and rocked the whole place. He still had the pipes.
I'll always cherish that memory. pic.twitter.com/WoSFPMVgZB
HE PUT ME OVER. HE MAKE ME LOOK LIKE THE LEGEND. HE MAKE ME SMILE. FOREVER I LOVE YOU HOWARD FINKEL pic.twitter.com/cY8tTHDqds— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) April 16, 2020
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
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 saw a voicemail after a day of training at OVW, it was my call up to raw! Howard Finkel spoke as if announcing a new world champion, at madison square garden! I will never forget that + his "welcome to the jungle" entrance is unmatched & sparked us all to have a great show!— Nic Nemeth (@HEELZiggler) 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— #BROKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) April 16, 2020
Im crushed— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) 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
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
Fink was not only an indelible part of my childhood but he couldn't have been sweeter to me any time I saw him backstage. I'm grateful to have known him.— Florida Man (@WWEBigE) April 16, 2020
Sad to hear that #HowardFinkel passed this morning. I had the pleasure of sharing the ring with him so many times. Unforgettable voice, and a true loving soul. Prayers go out to his family🙏🏼❤️— Dustin Rhodes (@dustinrhodes) April 16, 2020
The Fink was awesome. Love you and miss you, my friend. #RIPFink— Kevin Kelly (@realkevinkelly) April 16, 2020
Rest in Peace Howard Finkel.— Bruce Prichard (@bruceprichard) April 16, 2020
Greatest ring announcer of all time.
Historian and walking wrestling encyclopedia.
Hall of Famer.
Love you Fink. pic.twitter.com/tqvVq6gMeR
My sympathies and prayers go out to the family of HOWARD FINKEL. He wasn't just a WWE Hall of Famer, he was a Hall of Famer in life! You'll be missed brother. RIP. DDP pic.twitter.com/908mSHLEvY— Diamond Dallas Page (@RealDDP) April 16, 2020
Gutted as well to hear we lost the 'Fink' Howard Finkel. A legend and a sweetheart of a man. I'll fondly remember our conversations - until we all see each other again my friend... #RIPFink— CommentaryKingWWE (@WWEDramaKing) April 16, 2020
Finkel had a big impact on the careers of many wrestlers, but he also paid it forward to future generations of ring announcers. That group includes former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts (now with AEW), Greg Hamilton, who currently fills that role with WWE, and Brandi Rhodes, who worked as a ring announcer in WWE before becoming a wrestler and on-screen personality with AEW.
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