WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel passed away at the age of 69 on Thursday, April 16. This week's edition of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter featured a lengthy bio on The Fink, and included a sad story from an incident that took place in 2001 after Fink was taken off TV, but was still working live events.
Finkel was reportedly put on trial at the backstage Wrestler's Court, which is a practice that was done away with several years ago. The Court was done during the days of heavy locker room antics and bullying, with the idea of keeping certain people in line, and was led by various top talents at the time. There were also writers and other employees that ended up in Wrestler's Court for various reasons.
There was reportedly a spot on a WWE event where The Fink was supposed to take a slap from one of the female performers. Fink knew it was coming and since he wasn't a professional at taking moves, he flinched badly and the spot fell flat. Finkel was then taken to Wrestler's Court because the spot came off looking bad.
It was said that Finkel was "bullied and absolutely humiliated" while on trial at Wrestler's Court. This was shortly after WCW wrestlers were brought over to WWE after the purchase of the company, and some believed they were doing this to show the new guys how things are handled in WWE, and Finkel was just the scapegoat. The Observer's Dave Meltzer was told that the incident was totally uncalled for, and that Finkel was on the verge of tears. This made it even more uncomfortable for a lot of the wrestlers that weren't into the bullying of nice people, which wasn't a thing in WCW the way it was in WWE.
Finkel was described as devastated after the "trial" was over, and was sentenced to get slapped in the face again by another female competitor. As he did before, Finkel reportedly flinched again because he wasn't a trained wrestler. Finkel was not taken back to Wrestler's Court after the second incident, but he was once again berated for it.
One veteran wrestler described the Finkel incident as one oft he most immature and cruel things he'd ever seen in the pro wrestling business.
Despite the Wrestler's Court incident with The Fink, the original WWE employee was well-liked and well-respected during various eras of the company. There have been numerous stories of Fink being ribbed in the earlier days, but he remained a favorite among many backstage.
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
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