On the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer detailed a backstage incident involving late WWE ring announcer Howard Finkel that occurred in 2001. Finkel was in the phase where he was a part time ring announcer but was still working the house shows (live events). Howard Finkel was bullied and treated cruelly during a case of “wrestlers court”. This happened after a botched spot between he and an unnamed female WWE Superstar.
The spot involved Finkel taking a slap from one of the “Divas” (as the women wrestlers were called at the time). Finkel reportedly knew it was coming and botched the spot completely as he was not used to taking in-ring bumps. The spot fell flat and did not come off well. Howard was taken to wrestlers court where he was bullied and humiliated.
The incident happened following the purchase of WCW and the influx of talent from their company. Apparently, this was done as a way to show how things were ran in the WWE, using Finkel as a guinea pig to spread fear in the eyes of the WCW performers.
According to this source, what happened to Finkel “was totally uncalled for,” and Finkel was said to have been in tears. The whole thing was apparently “uncomfortable” for former WCW talents who did not support the idea of bullying “nice people.” For the newly employed former WCW wrestlers, bullying the nice people backstage reportedly “wasn’t nearly as prevalent” in WCW before the company was absorbed.
When the wrestlers court was over, Finkel was devastated by the event. His punishment was to receive a slap in the face again by another female WWE Superstar. This ended with Finkel allegedly flinching and botching the spot yet again. The wrestlers berated him again, although he was not taken to wrestlers court for that second botch.
The source would go on to indicate this was “one of the most immature and cruel things they’d seen in the business.” This source was reportedly someone who had a long career in wrestling.
Howard Finkel died on April 16th at the age of 69.