Lilián Annette Garcia (born August 19, 1966) is a Spanish retired ring announcer and singer best known for her time with the WWE.
Early life and career
García was born on August 19, 1966, in Spain. She spent the first eight years of her life in Spain due to her father's employment with the American Embassy, and was educated on an American military base, leading her to describe herself as a "military brat". She is fluent in English and Spanish.
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. She also served as karaoke host at the Nitelites nightclub in the Embassy Suites Hotel in Columbia, South Carolina, and later at the West Columbia Ramada.
García began singing when she was a child in Madrid, Spain as she participated in singing contests with her sister starting when she was five. In her early teens – by then Garcia's family had relocated to Columbia, South Carolina – she was singing with a band at clubs around the area; her mom chaperoned so she could get in. She appeared in the 1990 film Modern Love as a singer.
In addition to her broadcasting duties with World Wrestling Entertainment, García sang the National Anthem of the United States of America before most Monday Night Raw tapings from February 14, 2000 until her departure on September 21, 2009. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon asked her to sing America the Beautiful at WrestleMania 2000 and WrestleMania 21, joining a renowned list of legendary recording artists that includes Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Reba McEntire, Gladys Knight and Willie Nelson. Garcia is one of two singers to have sung the opening song at WrestleMania more than once, Franklin being the other.
García is a regular fixture in professional sports with annual performances for the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball. She has also performed at the 1996 Summer Olympics, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, Dancing with the Stars and as an opening act for James Brown.
García's first single, "Shout", debuted at No. 69 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2002. She recalled her reaction to the news years later, commenting, "When my single came out years ago, and it was just a single, I remember the very first week it charted No. 69, and I was screaming as I grabbed Billboard, running down the streets of New York, holding it up and screaming, ‘I made Billboard! I made Billboard!' I'm dreaming for that moment again".
Garcia recorded fellow Diva Torrie Wilson's theme song, "Need A Little Time", for WWE Anthology, a compilation album released by World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002. She co-wrote You Just Don't Know Me At All with producers Doug Kistner and Anthony Krizan, which was released in January 2004 on the WWE Originals album. It became her theme song at WWE live events.
García began work on a solo album with Grammy award winning record producers George Noriega and Tim Mitchell in 2005, who have also worked with multi platinum artists such as Shakira, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez. Her album ¡Quiero Vivir!, which is Spanish for I Wanna Live, was released on October 9, 2007, via Universal Music Latino. Garcia co-wrote eleven songs on the album, including three with Jon Secada, who she duets with on "Adonde". The album contains ten Spanish language tracks, and two English translations; "Under in Love" ("Desenamorada") and "Where Did Love Go?" ("Adonde").
Following her departure from WWE in September 2009, García began work on a follow-up album. The new project will be predominantly English speaking, with possible Spanish nuances included. Garcia reunited with "¡Quiero Vivir!" producers George Noriega and Tim Mitchell to record the first song in Miami, Florida in February 2011. She also recorded tracks with Grammy-nominated producer Oh, Hush!.
On May 27, 2014, Garcia announced that she and her band, The Fuse will be performing every Saturday night at Club Madrid in The Sunset Station Casino in Henderson, Nevada, right next to Las Vegas. Her first show was performed on June 14, 2014.
- ¡Quiero Vivir! (2007)
Professional wrestling career
World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
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, Iowa. 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. 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 so I thank God for that, and I still don't know about a lot of my friends. I have, 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 of the WWE being in San Antonio for the Royal Rumble.
She returned to announcing on the July 2, 2007, episode 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, episode 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".
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 live 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.
Second return to WWE (2011–2016)
On December 5, 2011, WWE announced that Garcia would be returning to ring announcing full-time, appearing on SmackDown. She returned at the December 6 tapings of the show. She also served as the ring announcer for Main Event and pay-per-views.
Garcia suffered accidents prior to SmackDown tapings in 2012. While heading to the ring prior to the March 13 taping in Columbus, Ohio, the strap on her left shoe broke. One month later, during the April 17 taping in London, England, she tripped over pyrotechnic equipment on the top of the stage and fell down on the ramp, landing on her knees. On the April 19, 2013, episode of SmackDown, Garcia was instructed dance steps by Fandango and insulted.
On the June 6, 2014, episode of SmackDown, she was involved in a confrontation with Alicia Fox after Fox lost a match to Natalya. On October 20, 2014, after Justin Roberts was released from WWE, Garcia returned as the full-time ring announcer for Raw. In April 2015, Garcia underwent knee surgery, leaving her off television. Lilian returned from knee surgery On May 31 at Elimination Chamber.
On August 1, 2016, Garcia announced her departure from WWE due to wanting to care for her ailing father, who's currently battling two different unidentified types of cancer.
García was previously married, but has since divorced. Garcia married her second husband, Chris Joseph, on September 28, 2009.
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 almost got robbed during the New York Yankees' 2009 World Series ticker-tape parade. She said that a "punk kid" came up to her and tried to steal her phone. When Garcia wouldn't relinquish the phone, the assailant threw her to the ground and ran away. Garcia suffered a scraped elbow.
On October 26, 2012, Garcia was struck by a car in Los Angeles, causing multiple contusions and lacerations on the left side of her body. Doctors immobilized Garcia's neck, after which she was said to be in a stable condition. She was released from the hospital two days later.
- Signature moves
- Wrestlers managed
- Entrance themes