Lilian Garcia made a huge impact as a WWE ring announcer. And she's now back with the company as her show Chasing Glory is streaming on the WWE Network. PopCulture.com recently caught up with Garcia and talked about her first day with WWE back in 1999.
"I didn't even know I was going to be ring announcing that night," Garcia said in our PopCulture@Home series. "That was my very first day on the job, I get the tour, and then I'm told at 3:30 that afternoon I'm replacing the legend, Howard Finkel, that night at Raw as the Monday Night Raw ring announcer. I'm like 'How do you do this job?' Thank God that Howard Finkel helped me. ...Howard could have been very bitter knowing that I was replacing him. Instead, he was so helpful."
Garcia was then told she couldn't use cue cards while she was in the ring. "I almost ran in that moment," she said. "I'm not kidding you. I never had the feeling of being so scared that I almost got sick. Something kept me there. I realize that now like 'Wow, what a moment that changed my life.' It was being there and it was really staying there for 15 years and being a part of that world and a part of that home that it made sense when I started doing [Chasing Glory]."
Garcia's decision to say turned out to be the right one as she became the ring announcer for WWE after Finkel, who died earlier this year, took on a lighter schedule in 2000. From announcing at multiple WrestleMania events, singing the national anthem at WWE's first live event after the 9/11 attacks and announcing WWE Evolution, the first-ever women's pay-per-view event, Garcia is on her way to being named to the WWE Hall of Fame. And the interesting thing is Garcia came close to turning down WWE altogether.
"I almost didn't even go to the audition," Garcia revealed. "When my agent told me about it, I was like, 'The World Wildlife Fund?' He was like, 'No, no, no, the World Wrestling Federation.' I was like, 'Wait, wrestling?'" Garcia then said her agent told her to go to the audition because "you never know." She also noted it was the "best advice" she took. "Have an open mind and do it anyway," Garcia said. "You never know."