Lilian Annette García (August 19, 1966), is a Spanish-American singer and ring announcer. She is best known for her time in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as a ring announcer. During her first stint in WWE, she became the first WWE Diva to remain with the promotion for ten years.
Early life and career
García was born in Madrid, Spain. She spent many of her early years in Spain due to her father's employment with the American Embassy, and was schooled on an American military base, leading her to describe herself as a "military brat". Upon returning to the United States, Garcia graduated from Irmo High School in Columbia, South Carolina. She went on to attend the University of South Carolina, graduating. Lilian's family comes from Spain and Puerto Rico.
García was a top ten finalist in the Miss South Carolina beauty pageant. Garcia was also one half of a popular morning show on radio station WYYS,"YES 97" in Columbia with Chuck Finley in the early '90s. She was a VJ in Atlanta, Georgia, where she also had a drive-time afternoon radio show. Garcia appeared in the 1990 movie Modern Love as a singer.
García singing the United States National Anthem at a WWE event. García began singing at an early age, and began taking part in singing contests alongside her sister at the age of five. Garcia served as karaoke host at the Nitelites nightclub in the Embassy Suites Hotel in Columbia, South Carolina, and later at the West Columbia Ramada. She often sings the national anthem at various MLB, NFL, NHL, & NBA games including for the NBA's Phoenix Suns, the NHL's New York Islanders, and the NFL's New York Jets, and has performed at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, and as an opening act for James Brown.
García released her first single, "Shout", in 2002. In November of that same year, she recorded Torrie Wilson's theme song, "Need A Little Time", for the WWE Anthology album. In January 2004 WWE released the album WWE Originals which included a new track from Garcia, entitled, "You Just Don't Know Me At All". This became Garcia's WWE theme song for WWE live events. Out of all the musicians who have opened WrestleMania events (most commonly singing "America the Beautiful"), Garcia is one of two singers to have sung the opening song at WrestleMania more than once. Aretha Franklin is the other.
García began work on a solo album with producers George Noriega and Tim Mitchell in 2005. In January 2006, she recorded a duet with Latin pop singer Jon Secada. On Raw in August 2007, she announced that the title of her album would be Quiero Vivir, Spanish for I Wanna Live. The album was released on October 9, 2007.
Professional wrestling career
World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment (1999–2009; 2011–2016)
Ring announcing and storyline involvements (1999–2008)
García was hired by the World Wrestling Federation as a ring announcer in 1999. She made her debut on the August 23, 1999, episode of Raw is War in Ames, IA. She was involved in her first angle on the September 13 episode of Raw is War, when Jeff Jarrett applied a figure four leglock to her after she angered him by announcing his loss by disqualification to Luna Vachon.
Garcia's second angle occurred on the December 13, 1999, episode of RAW. Lilian introduced Miss Kitty for a Women's Championship chocolate pudding pool match. After Lilian announced her, Miss Kitty grabbed the mic and informed Lilian that she was now to be known as "The Kat". Her opponent, Tori, came out for their match and right after the two women began, X-Pac came poolside in a skin diving suit complete with snorkel, flippers, and goggles. As he was adjusting his goggles Tori jumped on his back causing both of them to fall into the pool with X-Pac landing up on top of Tori, giving Miss Kitty an easy pinfall. Lilian announced the winner as "Miss Kitty", which infuriated The Kat, who threw Lilian into the pool of pudding.
García sang in the WWF for the first time on February 14, 2000, at a house show, and began singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at television tapings later that month. Her first televised performance was on April 2, 2000, where she opened WrestleMania 2000. Following the September 11 attacks, Garcia sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" on the September 13, 2001, episode of Smackdown!, receiving a standing ovation. In the course of the evening, Garcia commented on the attacks, saying "Well, to say the least, this has been a real roller coaster of a week. And especially because I live in New York City. Um, I have loved ones there, and I'm just very fortunate and very glad that a specific one didn't get to go to his meeting at 8:30 in the morning that he was supposed to be at the Twin Towers, and uh...so I thank God for that, and I still don't know about a lot of my friends. I have...uh, we'll be finding out, I guess, little by little. I pray for everybody there...".
In mid-2002, García briefly "feuded" with rival announcer Howard Finkel after Finkel left her to be decimated by 3-Minute Warning, culminating in an "evening gown versus tuxedo match" that Garcia won with the assistance of Stacy Keibler and Trish Stratus.
In June 2005, García began an on-screen romance with wrestler Viscera. The angle saw García propose to Viscera, stating that she wanted to marry him during the Vengeance pay-per-view on June 26. The angle ended at Vengeance when Viscera rejected Garcia in favor of The Godfather's "Hos". The angle was briefly resurrected eleven months later when Viscera proposed to Garcia on the May 22, 2006, episode of Raw, but was interrupted by Umaga before receiving an answer.
García took part in her first major Diva publication in 2005 with the release of the Divas 2005 swimsuit magazine and related DVD Viva Las Divas of the WWE.
On the June 5, 2006, episode of Raw, Garcia (legitimately) suffered a sprained wrist when wrestler Charlie Haas inadvertently knocked her to the ground as she stood on the ring apron. One week later, the accident was metamorphosed into a storyline, with Haas incurring the wrath of Viscera. The storyline ended on the July 10, 2006, episode of Raw, when Viscera "accidentally" performed a Samoan drop on Garcia while confronting Haas. Garcia was removed from television for several weeks in order to sell the Samoan drop.
García took part in her second major Diva publication in 2007 with the release of WWE Divas Do San Antonio, in honor because WWE was in San Antonio for the Royal Rumble.
On the April 2, 2007, episode of Raw, García was humiliated in the ring when her blue satin frilled skirt was torn off by Bobby Lashley, revealing her black lycra bikini panties after Vince McMahon attempted to hide his newly shaven bald head under her skirt. The incident resulted in a large surge in searches for Garcia on the Internet, with searches for "Lilian Garcia" jumping 301% and becoming the fourth most searched-for term on the search engine Yahoo!. She returned to announcing on the July 2, 2007, edition of Raw after taking time off to recover from a skiing injury in which she tore the ACL in her right knee. She was not fully recovered as was evident from her only announcing the first two matches from the ring and the rest from the floor.
On the August 6, 2007, edition of Raw, Garcia announced her new album entitled "Quiero Vivir". Lilian then started a feud with Jillian Hall, who claimed to be a better singer than Lilian. The next week, she competed in WWE Idol, a parody of American Idol, in which she sang "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra before being interrupted by Santino Marella.
Retirement and part time appearances (2009–2010)
During the last week of August 2009, Garcia celebrated ten years with WWE, becoming the organization's first and only "Decade Diva." She debuted in August 1999.
On the September 21, 2009, episode of Raw from Little Rock, Arkansas, Jerry Lawler announced to the live audience that it was Garcia's final night with WWE. Garcia then made an emotional speech in the ring, thanking the fans and all of her colleagues. The final match she announced featured Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and Big Show taking on the team of John Cena, Montel Vontavious Porter and Mark Henry. Although, a match between Primo and Chris Masters was taped earlier that evening and aired three days later on WWE Superstars, marking her final television appearance.
Garcia made a special appearance before the Madison Square Garden audience on November 16, 2009, singing The Star-Spangled Banner prior to the evening's Raw telecast. Garcia filled in for Raw ring announcer Justin Roberts on April 19, 2010, due to being stranded in Europe with other WWE Superstars and crew as a result of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption. Her appearance caused a surge in online searches, resulting in the term "Lilian Garcia" becoming the eighth most searched-for term on Google that evening and into the next day. Garcia attended WWE's SummerSlam Kickoff Party in Hollywood, California, on August 14, 2010.
Return to WWE (2011–2016)
On December 5, it was announced on WWE.com, that Garcia would be returning to ring announcing full-time, working for the SmackDown brand. She returned at the December 6 SmackDown tapings. She also serves as ring announcer for Main Event and PPV's
Garcia suffered accidents prior to Smackdown tapings in 2012. While heading to the ring prior to March 13 taping in Columbus, Ohio, the strap on her left high heel broke. One month later, during the April 17 taping in London, England she tripped over pyrotechnic equipment at the top of the stage and fell down the ramp, landing on her knees. At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, she announced that the bell would ring 26 times for the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. On the April 19, 2013 episode of SmackDown, Lilian was involved in a segment with Fandango, learning dance steps from Fandango and being insulted by him. On the June 6th 2014 episode of SmackDown, she was involved in a confrontation with Alicia Fox. After Alicia had lost her match to Natalya, Alicia went on a violent rampage as she had been doing previous weeks. Alicia pranced around ringside threatening everyone in sight. When she came across to Lilian she lured her into a corner and began to scream at her and asked why she rang the bell. Lilian then told Alicia she had no part of it and Alicia backed down. On October 20, 2014, after Justin Roberts was released from WWE, Garcia returned as the full-time ring announcer for Raw.
On August 1, 2016, Garcia announced that she will be leaving WWE soon due to wanting to care for her ailing father, who's currently battling two different unidentified types of cancer. On December 26, she announced that her father had died on Christmas Day.
Second return to WWE
Part-time appearances (2016–2018)
Garcia made a one-night return on December 14, 2016, at WWE Tribute to the Troops where she sang the American national anthem.
She made another special appearance before the Talking Stick Resort Arena audience in Phoenix, Arizona on July 4, 2017, singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" prior to the evening's SmackDown Live telecast.
She was also the ring announcer for the finals of the Mae Young Classic on September 12, 2017.
On January 22, 2018, in the Raw 25 Years special episode, Garcia was honored as part of a segment involving women considered legends that contributed to the company's success, including Bella Twins, Maryse, Kelly Kelly, Torrie Wilson, Michelle McCool, Terri Runnels, Maria Kanellis and Hall of Famers Jacqueline and Trish Stratus.
On wanting to play a heel character:
I think it would definitely be fun to play a heel. I have taken lots of acting classes in my life so I would have to concentrate and apply my acting lessons to the role because in real life I love to be happy and friendly.
García was previously married, but has since divorced. Garcia married her second husband, Chris, on September 28, 2009.
García describes herself as a "military brat" as well as "La Española Boricua" (the female Puerto Rican Spaniard). She is of Spanish/Puerto Rican descent.
García is fluent in English and Spanish.
On March 17, 2007, García twisted her knee in heavy snow while skiing in Killington, Vermont, incurring a torn anterior cruciate ligament. She underwent surgery on her knee on April 5, 2007, in New York City under Dr. Armin Tehrany. She returned to Raw on July 2.
García's first album, ¡Quiero Vivir!, was released on October 9, 2007.
On November 6, 2009, Garcia was assaulted during a ticker-tape parade for the New York Yankees to celebrate their winning the 2009 World Series. Garcia said a "punk kid" came up to her and tried to steal her mobile phone. When Garcia wouldn't relinquish the phone, the assailant threw her to the ground and ran off. Garcia suffered a scraped elbow.
- High Speed Slap
- Roll up