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Howard Finkel (born June 7, 1950) is a professional wrestling ring announcer currently working with World Wrestling Entertainment in a variety of roles. Hired in 1975 by Vincent J. McMahon's World Wide Wrestling Federation, "The Fink" was the first person brought in to the Vince McMahon's nascent World Wrestling Federation and is widely credited as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)'s first and longest lasting employee. He was inducted into the WWE's Hall of Fame in 2009.

Career

Finkel built his reputation announcing matches at Madison Square Garden
Finkel, a native of Newark, New Jersey, began announcing wrestling shows at Madison Square Gardenmarker in 1975. By 1980, he was made lead ring announcer for the WWF's biggest events. Across three decades, Finkel's distinctive voice was one of the trademarks of WWF programming, and was sometimes used in the packaged intros for the company's weekly programming. Finkel's signature call was his announcement of a new champion following a change in titles, in which he would place increased emphasis while stretching out the word "New" in order to draw the greatest reaction from the crowd. Finkel also suggested the well-known pay-per-view name "WrestleMania," which owner Vince McMahon immediately accepted. Finkel also came up with Ricky Steamboat's "Dragon" nickname.

On January 19, 1987, Howard Finkel was presented with a plaque commemorating his 10 years (for WWWF) announcing at Madison Square Garden by Gene Okerlund. In 1993 at the Roman-themed WrestleMania IX, Howard Finkel was introduced as Finkus Maximus.

Finkel in storyline

As an announcer, Finkel was generally separate from the scripted angles, but occasionally became part of the company's storylines. In 1992, Howard Finkel was attacked by Kamala. On March 20, 1994 at WrestleMania X Howard Finkel pushed manager Harvey Wippleman to the ground, after Wippleman had verbally and physically harassed him. This led to Finkel's first-ever in-ring match on January 9, 1995, a tuxedo match against Harvey Wippleman. Finkel won by stripping Wippleman to his underwear.

Finkel was also involved in a feud between X-Pac and Jeff Jarrett after Jarrett shaved the already near-bald Finkel's head. This culminated in a Hair versus Hair match at SummerSlam 1998 with Finkel in the corner of X-Pac. X-Pac won the match and Finkel assisted him in cutting Jarrett's hair.

In August 1999, Finkel became a follower of the newly debuting Chris Jericho. On August 26, 1999, during the pilot episode of WWE Smackdown, Jericho enouraged Finkel to attack Smackdown announcer Tony Chimel and take back his place as lead announcer. Finkel ran down the aisle, shoving Chimel and ordering him to step aside.. As Finkel started to announce, Chimel threw Finkel from the ring. While Jericho helped Finkel to the back, they crossed paths with Ken Shamrock, who jostled against Jericho. Jericho convinced Finkel to distract Shamrock during his match, which he did. After Finkel berated Shamrock, the wrestler began twisting Finkel's finger, permitting Jericho to hit Shamrock from behind with a steel chair. Several weeks later, Finkel adopted the role of "El Dopo," a masked referee who unfairly officiated a Shamrock match, awarding the win to Curtis Hughes. On the October 14 episode of Smackdown! Jericho defeated Curtis Hughes with help from Finkel but then "gave" Finkel's services to Curtis Hughes after the match. Four days later on Monday Night Raw, Curtis Hughes bet and lost Finkel in a game of poker.

On the August 22, 2002 episode of Raw, Finkel began a brief feud with Raw ring announcer Lilian Garcia over the lead spot, before both were attacked by Three Minute Warning. The following week, Garcia defeated Finkel in an evening gown/tuxedo match with help from Trish Stratus and Stacy Keibler, who were ostensibly insulted by a "dumb blonde" remark made by Finkel.

2000-present

By 2000, Howard Finkel had taken a lighter schedule with the additions of Tony Chimel and Lilian Garcia to the Raw and SmackDown shows, but still announced at some of WWE's pay-per-view events.

By 2006, Finkel was rarely heard from even at PPVs. However, Finkel would introduce the Hall of Fame classes during WrestleMania event. Finkel himself was inducted to the Hall on April 4, 2009 by "Mean Gene" Okerlund. Due to the fact that he was one of that year's inductees, Smackdown announcer Justin Roberts replaced Finkel in introducing the group at WrestleMania XXV. Finkel's current television appearances are only sporadic, appearing only at major pay-per-view special events and the occasional episode of Raw or SmackDown!. In one of his more notable facts, Finkel has the distinction of being the only WWF/E performer to appear on-screen at every single WrestleMania event.

Finkel currently supplies the voiceover intro for the WWE.com video show The Dirt Sheet and does behind-the-scenes work for WWE projects, including conducting interviews for various WWE.com programs. He is also WWE's chief statistician. He made another appearance on September 7, serving as announcer for special guest host Bob Barker's Price Is Right-inspired segments. He could also be seen in the background of the Decade of Smackdown celebrations on October 2. He also helps host WWE chat with Corey Clayton.

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References

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