Updated: May 3, 2020
“The winner of this bout, and…...NEWWWWWW!”
Now I’m fairly certain that as you read those words it was not in your own voice, but that of Howard Finkel. The Fink. Finkus Maximus. For years that spanned decades and generations, Howard’s voice is synonymous with some of the most exciting moments in WWF/WWE history. From Hogan to Bret, from Michaels to Austin and The Rock, wrestlers reached the pinnacle of the business and were announced as champions with those two words that still bring chills to this day and take us back to those moments etched in our memories forever. Although we know the Fink for all of his legendary calls, his impact on professional wrestling goes much deeper than that.
He began his legendary career in 1975 working for Vince McMahon Sr.’s WWWF. In 1977 he made his debut at the world’s most famous arena Madison Square Garden. By 1979 he had become the lead ring announcer for the company and was the first employee hired by Vince McMahon Jr.’s Titan Sports in 1980. He would also be the company’s longest tenured at 40 years.
Howard also played a large role backstage in both the talent relations and creative departments. Howard would be first in line to watch film of wrestlers that the company was interested in bringing in from other territories. In addition to all of this, it was Howard who came up with the name WrestleMania, the company's biggest event and a name recognized by those who have never watched a wrestling match in their lives. If not for The Fink, we could know the show of shows as the Colossal Tussle, WrestlePalooza, or maybe even Great Balls of Fire (oh wait…). He holds the record for most consecutive Wrestlemania appearances at a staggering 32.
As is expected for any talent ever employed by the WWE, Finkel was involved in his fair share of angles both good (being Chris Jericho’s flunkey) and of course the bad (tuxedo matches with Harvey Wippleman).
It’s no big secret that Fink was the target of multiple ribs from the boys over the years. Jim Ross says in his book that no matter how many times Howard was messed with, he bled WWE and would do anything for the company and the business because it meant everything to him. In 2009, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and closed his speech by stealing the signature And NEW line he made so famous.
Howard had said his proudest moment came at Survivor Series 2011 when CM Punk asked to have the Fink be his own personal ring announcer as he was battling Alberto Del Rio who employed his own in Ricardo Rodriguez. The Madison Square Garden crowd showered him with praise and chants of “How-Ard Fin-kel” rained down as you could see him doing his best to keep it together.
As his health started to take a turn for the worse over the past few years, he still contributed in any way he could and was the definition of a loyal employee. Sadly, we lost Howard on April 16th at the age of 69. As a wrestling fan it always comes as a blow to lose someone associated with the business we all know and love. For me, this one stung in a different way. Howard’s calls are ingrained in my mind and they take me back to specific moments and memories that I have with others in my life who are no longer here anymore either.
As has been said many times before, if you have the chance, always meet your heroes.
You never know when that chance may no longer be a possibility. So to The Fink, thank you for the memories, for making the biggest of moments seem even bigger with your legendary calls. Your voice will live on forever. Rest in peace Howard Finkel.
Drew Vencill is a lifelong wrestling fan and proud member of the Ohio Players. Follow him on Twitter @DrewVencill