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Howard Finkel (1950-2020)

Real NameHoward Finkel

Lifespan - 6/7/1950 - 4/16/2020

Newark, NJ

Occupational Background - n/a

Promotional BackgroundWWWF/WWF/WWE(`77-`20)

Peak Years`79-`91

Place in HistoryThere are many memorable voices in pro-wrestling from trash-talking heels and fast-talking managers to charismatic babyfaces and analytical play-by-play announcers, but the list of ring announcers is short.  However, Howard Finkel is the one figure who was head and shoulders above the rest.  His booming voice and his eye for detail made Finkel not only a great ring announcer, but a trendsetter.  Howard Finkel was a wrestling fan from Newark who developed a connection to the McMahon family when he was an usher at the New Haven Coliseum.  He began dishing dirt on the IWA to the McMahons, a precursor to his role as the person who collected information from the newsletters and hotlines for his “Finkel Report.”  Howard Finkel became an announcer in 1977, took over as lead ring announcer of big events in 1979, became the first WWF employee in 1980 and took over as the lead TV ring announcer for Joe McHugh in 1984.  His booming voice and timing made him quickly stand out, but it was one trademark line that is best remembered.  His delayed call of “...and NEW” before announcing the title win of a new champion made for many dramatic moments in the WWF, but it was carried over into other companies and sports.  Howard Finkel had several chances to call the action from ringside and many believe he could have been one of the best in that area as well, but his chances were few and far between.  His vast memory, his distinct voice and his genuine enthusiasm were the pieces for a great announcer, but the WWF was never going to use him in that role and even phased him out of his ring announcer role.  Despite being a bald and paunchy relic of days gone by, Howard Finkel was never surpassed by anyone they put in the role and he could step in at any point and be just as good as he ever was.  The company used him in a number of forgettable angles over the years, the most notable being his rivalry with Harvey Whippleman.  Although he was the perfect company man who carried a reputation of being both sharp and kind, many felt the company did not use him well or treat him well.