Podcast host and former WWE ring announcer Lilian Garcia had been with WWE for a very long time. In fact, she served as ring announcer for the company between 1999-2009 and 2011-2016. Garcia is also returning to help announce the first-ever all-women’s PPV, Evolution tomorrow night in Uniondale, New York.
Garcia was interviewed by the New York Post, where she talked seeing the women’s evolution unfold in front of her eyes through her work in WWE and as a fan watching at home after she departed the promotion to focus on the ailing health of her father.
The former announcer is asked if there are any differences to seeing the matches as a viewer and being so close to the talent as a ring announcer.
I was there when the Divas were given three- and four-minute matches and I was there for the bra and bikini matches and all these matches that you don’t see now.
So, when they were given a chance, then all of a sudden it was like, whoa, wait, these girls, they can carry a match, they can carry a Royal Rumble match going over the top rope with no different stipulations than the men. They can do the Elimination Chamber match, they can do a ladder in the match, Money in the Bank ladder matches. It was just so impressive to see the work and that was all because they were given an opportunity.
In response to being asked what held women back from being able to express themselves in the ring in the way they do now, Garcia explains that society plays a major role in it.
So, it is society. I don’t think WWE was intentionally doing anything to harm the women or anything like that. It’s not just WWE that’s changed. Look at the movies with women. Now you have movies that are led by women. They are the stars of the movie. It’s not just like the man is the lead and then you have the female being the co-star. You have the female that is the lead. Same thing with the Me Too movement, it was just a whole society that was ready. It exploded at the same time because you just couldn’t hold it back any more.
Garcia recalls a time when she was one of, or sometimes the single woman to come out from behind the curtains for an appearance in front of the WWE Universe.
I’ll never forget I was sitting ringside at this one particular pay-per-view, I look at the card and I’m watching the show and I’m looking around and I’m like, “Oh my God. I am the only female that came out tonight for this crowd.” And I was blown away.
I was like, “There is something wrong,” the fact that I am the only female on this entire night that has come through that curtain. It just felt that little by little I kept seeing at least one women’s match on a card on a pay-per-view. Now you get to see three and a headliner. What a relief.
Garcia was asked whether she felt a level of frustration from female talent wondering what it would take for them to get an opportunity.
Oh, absolutely. I think the women have always wanted an opportunity to show what they can do and be on a pay-per-view. You can’t be working [for] this company [WWE], working so much and not want to be in a pay-per-view. I’m sure they were like, “What is it going to take for me to be on a pay-per-view at least or WrestleMania?”
You work all year long and then there was just one [women’s] match for WrestleMania and just a couple of women who were involved. Thank God, now there is the Royal Rumble so that everyone can get involved.
The interviewer asks Garcia if she ever felt uncomfortable participating in matches. One example made is the pudding pool match.
No, they were all into it, absolutely. They were talking about which bikini looked better on them. It was just the norm, so it wasn’t like it’s a bad thing. I don’t think it’s a bad thing now. We wear swimsuits all the time to the beach, I just think the business has evolved where it’s more about athleticism and that’s cool. So, I think it’s appropriate to be evolving into more athleticism.
But there was a time too to be all about entertainment. I did some stuff too that was totally for entertainment and the guys did some stuff that was totally entertainment. I remember Howard Finkel and I had a match. My one and only match, by the way, I am 1-0, undefeated. We stripped him down to his underwear. So it was a “ha ha.” It was part of the entertainment of it. I don’t think it was a, “Now we are going to make fun of you” and he had a great sense of humor with all of that.
She also explained what her reaction was to learning Roman Reigns is battling with leukemia.
I love Roman Reigns! He has always been so nice to me, such a gentleman, and always received me with such a huge smile. I did not know that he was ever sick, so it shocked me. One thing I do know about Roman is that he is a fighter and I know will get through this!
You can read more from Garcia in the interview here.
Are you excited for Garcia’s return to announcing? What, to you, is Garcia’s most memorable WWE moment? Let us know your thoughts, opinions, and reactions in those comments below.