Madison Square Garden had the great Howard Finkel as ring announcer for most, if not all, of the house shows in New York City in the 1980s.
And the Boston Garden got … well, no one quite at the Fink’s level.
Two men primarily took ring announcing duties at the Garden in the 1980s. One of them was, I hate to say it, a fellow whose name I’ve completely forgotten. And probably with good reason, because he was not a great ring announcer. Ring Announcer X, who wore glasses and had a mustache, was monotonous, boring, and uninspiring.
I offer as proof this clip of the ring announcements for a Tag Team Title match in the Boston Garden featuring Dan Spivey and Mike Rotundo vs. champs Brutus Beefcake and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine from November 1985.
If anyone out there remembers this guy’s name, please post in the comments. Even if you don’t know his name, I’d love to hear your thoughts about his ring announcing skills if you ever saw him in action.
The Boston Garden also hosted ring announcer Mel Phillips, who came along in the latter half of the decade. Phillips was a longtime ring attendant who was well-known for an angle during which Terry Funk beat the bejesus out of him. Behind the scenes in real life, Phillips allegedly had a fondness for boys, all of which came to a head in the 1990s during a homosexual sex scandal that gave the WWF a black eye.
I met Phillips briefly once in 1990 the day of a Boston Garden card. He showed up at a JCPenney Outlet Store where I worked in Billerica, MA, and was actually there to buy a wig for “The Genius” Lanny Poffo, who at the time had just had his hair cut by Beefcake.
Later that night, with about 14 friends in the center balcony of the Boston Garden, we chanted, “Mel! Mel! Mel!” loud enough that Phillips stopped his announcing duties, looked up at us, and said, “What?” The way the balcony seats hung out in the Garden, we could actually faintly hear him from down below.
Phillips also did ring announcing duties in the ‘80s for pro wrestling shows at the Philadelphia Spectrum, although I’m not sure if that was a frequent or just occasional appearance.
As for Finkel, I’m not sure if he ever got to ring announce at the old Boston Garden, although he certainly wielded the microphone at the TD Garden, aka the TD Banknorth Garden, aka the FleetCenter, including for WrestleMania XIV in March 1998 (the show during which Stone Cold Steve Austin beat Shawn Michaels with Mike Tyson as referee).
Finkel just made an appearance this past week on the WWE’s “old school” version of Monday Night Raw.