Legendary WWE ring announcer Howard Finkel’s health is apparently poor these days.
Jerry “The King” Lawler noted this week on his podcast, Dinner With The King, that Finkel is dealing with some serious health issues. Lawler doesn’t know exactly what the problem is, but it’s not a good situation.
“I just heard not long ago that Howard [Finkel] is in really, really bad health,” Lawler said. “Not good at all. He may have had a stroke. I’m not sure but I just know that he’s not doing well.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about this. A few weeks ago, Corey Jacobs of WrestlingNews.co reported that Finkel has been dealing with some serious health issues during the last several months.
“A friend of Finkel saw him a few months ago told us that he has lost weight but it’s unclear if that has anything to do with his current health issues,” Jacobs wrote.
“Finkel’s voice was used for The Undertaker’s introduction at the Raw 25th-anniversary show in January but we are told that the audio was pre-taped because Finkel was not able to travel.”
Jacobs didn’t offer any more details on Finkel’s status other than he has “slowed down” in the past year or so.
Finkel, who is 68 years old, is thought of by most longtime WWE fans as the best wrestling ring announcer of all-time. He is also the longest-tenured employee in WWE, which began on April 1, 1980. Finkel began working for Vince McMahon, Sr.’s World Wide Wrestling Federation in 1975, two years before he was given the permanent role as a ring announcer (he worked on a handshake deal until 1980).
By 2000, Finkel took on a lighter travel schedule with Lilian Garcia on Raw and Tony Chimel on SmackDown, but he still announced for some of WWE’s pay-per-view events.
By 2006, Finkel rarely appeared at pay-per-view events. However, he semi-regularly announced at house shows and would introduce the WWE Hall of Fame inductees at WrestleMania. Finkel himself was inducted on April 4, 2009, by “Mean” Gene Okerlund. He appeared at every WrestleMania from 1985 through 2016.
Although his on-air role decreased over the years, he continued to work behind-the-scenes at WWE’s company offices in Stamford, Connecticut. According to Jacobs, Finkel told friends that he could not travel to WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, Florida last year because he was sick. He also did not appear at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and JoJo announced the WWE Hall of Fame inductees.
Finkel’s last public appearance apparently came in November at Rhode Island Comic Con. Finkel did this interview and he’s the slimmest he’s been since the turn of the century.
On April 1, Finkel celebrated 38 years of employment with WWE.
Today marks my 38th year of employment by the WWE it’s been a hell of a great ride for me!
— Howard Finkel (@howardfinkel) April 1, 2018