Former WWE Lilian Garcia was our guest this week on the WrestlingNewsCo BattleGround podcast to talk about her run as the voice of WWE from the late 90s into the 2010s. Garcia talked about how she got started with the company in 1999, how The Rock got her to sing the National Anthem at shows, and her podcast airing on the WWE Network. All of the new “Chasing Glory” shows will air on the free version of the WWE Network.
Here are some highlights and scroll down to listen to the entire interview:
Lilian Garcia was asked how she got her podcast onto the WWE Network: “I have been doing the podcast since 2016 and the beautiful thing is WWE always allowed me to interview their current roster which was great because not everybody was granted that. I think they saw the type of interviews I was doing. Obviously, I left on very good standing and I have a great relationship with them and I want to thank them for doing that because they set me up for success from the very beginning. I think they noticed I really wanted to make an impact with this show and get those human interest stories. At the beginning of this year, around May, I took off and it was the first time I really took a whole summer off. I decided to take a break that I needed for my own mental health just to take a break and reevaluate a lot of things that were going on in this pandemic and the protests and so much turmoil. It was actually the best thing that happened because we were ready to come back for the new season in the fall when the WWE reached out and asked if I wanted to put it on the WWE Network. I didn’t even have to think twice, especially when they said the free version. I always made Chasing Glory free to access because I think the stories that are shared are important for the world, so it made sense.”
Lilian was asked how she got started in WWE in 1999: “My agent came to me and said, ‘hey there is an audition for the WWF.’ I said, ‘for the World Wildlife Fund?’ He said, ‘no World Wrestling Federation.’ I said, ‘wrestling?’ I used to watch it with a kid with my dad so I love wrestling, but I’m not a wrestler. He said, ‘it’s not for a wrestler but I’m not sure what it’s for, but I think you should do the audition anyway.’ I said, ‘ok.’ I think that’s the best advice that I took and I will spread it to everybody else. You never know, and where it took me? What a ride. I started 8/23/99 and I’ll never forget my first day on the job. I didn’t know what I was doing. It wasn’t until 3:30 that afternoon that I would be the ring announcer that very night, taking Howard Finkel’s position, who is such a legend. I said, ‘how do you do this job?’ It was Howard Finkel and Tony Chimel who set me up for success and then I found out 20 minutes before we went on live that we can’t even use cue cards. I’m not kidding when I tell you I almost ran. I literally almost threw up in my mouth. I was looking at that exit sign saying I could bolt, but I have a photographic memory and that helped.”
Lilian talked about her singing the National Anthem for WWE: “The reason why I almost didn’t do the audition was because I was signing with an agent and a manager for music. My whole life was music. When this audition came around, I said I wasn’t going to do it because it wasn’t music related. But I went. When they called me and said they would like me to try this out for 2-3 months and you can quit at any time, I thought I have nothing to lose. When I went there, I looked in the arena and knew somehow I would be able to sing. I didn’t know how because this is wrestling, but I felt it in my soul that I would be able to sing here. It ended up being because of the Rock. We became friends doing the backstage interviews together. When he found out I sing, one weekend we were doing the live events and they usually play the National Anthem as an instrumental to start it. He asked me if I ever sang the National Anthem. I said, yes, I sang it for my graduation. He said he was going to talk to the producers and see about me doing it. I did it that night. I did it the next night and by Monday, Vince McMahon heard about it and said he wanted me to do it starting that night and he had me do it every night.”
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