A tenuous start, wrestling trivia and the New York Mets

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Arda Ocal, who currently works for ESPN, was a broadcaster for a variety of platforms in Canada before signing with WWE, where he worked from 2014-16 under the name Kyle Edwards. He shares his memory of meeting Howard Finkel and the friendship they ultimately shared.

There was a wrestling convention in Toronto in 2010 or 2011, and at the time I was working for The Score TV, which was a national sports channel. I had a camera person with me, as well as my good friend Jimmy Korderas, a former WWE referee of over 20 years.

We got to the venue and there were legends everywhere: Roddy Piper, JJ Dillon, Bruno Sammartino — it was a stacked event, but the person I was most nervous to approach for an interview was Howard Finkel.

I hadn’t met Howard up until that point. Growing up, “The Fink” was one of my heroes. Like many people, I loved wrestling when I was young. I grew up idolizing the announcers, the broadcasters in WWE, like “Mean” Gene Okerlund, Gorilla Monsoon and, yes, Howard Finkel. I never wanted to be an athlete, I only ever wanted to be behind the microphone.

This was definitely a big moment for me. and what I didn’t know was that my pal Jimmy reached out to Howard before we got to the venue. “Rib the kid a little” was the charge.

So there I went up to Fink, who was by himself at an autograph table before doors opened to the public — and Jimmy was snickering out of my view behind me.

This was my moment — I finally get to meet Fink! Memories filled my head as I approached him.

“BRET… HITMAAAAAAAAAAN HART!” (He would never say THE Hitman, as he would tell me years later.)

“THHEEEE.. UUUUUUNNNDERTTAAAKKKEERRRRR!!!”

And, of course, whenever a new champion was crowned, perhaps the call Fink is most synonymous with:

“AANNDD NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW…”

He was wearing his trademark tuxedo, with the MSG-branded double microphone ready for fans to take pictures with.

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