An article you goobers might like.

WWE hall-of-famer reflects on three decades inside the ring<!--subtitle-->

The (not so) 'neeeeewww' world champion announcer for Stamford's WWE



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Updated: 05/06/2009 11:29:32 PM EDT

STAMFORD -- On Jan. 17, 1977, Howard Finkel, a self-professed wrestling fanatic, nervously donned a red tuxedo with a matching ruffled shirt and stepped into the Madison Square Garden ring to introduce a lineup of wrestling stars that included "The World's Strongest Man" Ken Patera.

Though he had worked before as a World Wrestling Federation ring announcer, he considers that night in New York City to be his real debut.

"The Garden is the Garden," Finkel said matter-of-factly. "You haven't made it until you've made it to the Garden."

The performance was a tryout. After the Garden show, he became a regular announcer.

Only a year before, Finkel had been plucked from his job as a New Haven Coliseum usher by wrestling impresario Vince McMahon Jr. He eventually would become the most recognizable ring announcer for the organization later renamed World Wresting Entertainment.


"Howard Finkel is WWE's Michael Buffer," said Joey Styles, himself a former announcer for the organization. "When any WWE superstar or WWE fan imagines winning the WWE championship, the voice in their head making the official announcement is Howard Finkel."

Like Buffer, Finkel is known for generating suspense through the inflection of certain words. Finkel's trademark is bellowing the phrase, "neeeeww world champion . . ."


"I wanted to make sure that I took these folks on a ride," Finkel said.

Behind the scenes, he served as the "legs" of the WWE promotion and publicity departments. In the early 1980s, he helped Connecticut high schools hold fundraisers so they could host professional wrestling shows.

"It was better than a bake sale and a car wash," Finkel said. "You don't get wet; you don't get fat."

Finkel, known as "The Fink," is considered the WWE's first and longest-serving employee. The media and entertainment juggernaut has been based in Stamford since 1986.

The 58-year-old Norwalk resident has witnessed the expansion of a business that once consisted of a traveling road show with dueling heroes and villains, otherwise known as "babyfaces" and "heels."

WWE's three television programs -- "Monday Night Raw," "Friday Night SmackDown" and "ECW" -- are among the most watched on cable. They are broadcast live from cities worldwide. Like a soap opera, the season never ends.

"We give fans a lot," Finkel said. "Action, adventure, entertainment, athleticism, highs and lows."

As evidence of the show's popularity, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama each taped messages for "Monday Night Raw" during last year's presidential campaign.

In Stamford, WWE has more than 500 employees, in departments that include marketing, publishing, and television and Web production.

A team of 100 young writers and producers create content for the Web site, including video, chat rooms and blogs.

Finkel is part of this technologically driven enterprise. Last year, he became a contributing editor and blogger for the company's Web site at This allows him to express his insights on the week-to-week machinations of the three wrestling shows.

After more than three decades, Finkel still approaches the subject with the same voracious intensity and innocent awe as when he saw his first show at a smoke-filled arena in New Jersey. He can be both analytical and sentimental. Referring to a diminished wrestler, he recently wrote on his blog: "The wick in the candle of opportunity was getting ever so smaller for him."

Because of his longevity and memory -- he made it a point to know the hometowns and weights of every wrestler he introduced -- Finkel also functions as a historian for the organization.

"Howard is my last line of defense," said Mark Keys, WWE's vice president of Web production. "He has the final say on everything."

Last month, Finkel was inducted into the WWE's Hall of Fame for his role as an announcer.

"I wear this with pride," he said of his thickset ruby Hall of Fame ring, his voice filling with emotion. "This is my main event. It's everything that I have worked so hard for."

Recently, co-workers surprised him with a video of career highlights.

Treating the occasion seriously, Finkel pulled himself close to the computer and studied the images. There was footage from his string of appearances at "Wrestlemania" events, the annual pay-per-view show that he coined. Dressed in a tuxedo, he seemed to lend a sense of gravity to the sweaty bouts between spandex-clad wrestlers.

But when Wrestlemania took place at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, he, like everyone else, wore a white toga.

As the film ended, and his colleagues broke into applause, Finkel said with a sly grin, "Now, I want to have a meeting to figure out how to sell this product."

there is a neat slide show with audio and some pics in the article