Throughout her two decades with WWE, Lilian Garcia has had many roles, including ring announcer, a backstage interviewer, and singing the National Anthem. The role of announcer often had her talking to The Rock, in which he delivered his signature, electrifying promos to the delight of fans.
Having to keep a straight face during those promos couldn't have been easy, and Garcia revealed what helped her maintain professionalism during those interviews when she joined Table Talk w/DVon.
"I'm so glad that I had acting classes because that is the only way that I was able to get through all of that," admitted Garcia. "I would say, 'Scene!' and I would get really, really serious, and then I would bust out laughing afterward. Yeah, acting classes paid off."
Because of her singing chops, Garcia got to perform a Hall of Famer's theme song. She sang Torrie Wilson's theme of "Need A Little Time", which also appeared on a compilation album called WWE Anthology.
Garcia shared the story behind Wilson's theme song, and also recalled when she was able to sing it live.
"So, I was actually working with the WWE on a theme song for a superstar. At the time, they didn't know who it was going to be for. I went to the studio with Jim Johnston and we formed the song, and they were going to give it to a specific superstar who didn't feel it was right for her," revealed Garcia. "Then they asked Torrie if she liked it, and she loved it. I really think it went really well with Torrie, and it was just so special that I got to do that and sing for a superstar's entrance theme.
"I think it was Judgment Day, the pay-per-view, that we did this whole thing where we were behind this sheet, and we laugh about it now because we thought we were so cool. We were behind the sheet where you can see the shadows and silhouettes - the sheet comes down and it reveals that it's us, and she goes to the ring. I'm sitting there singing live to her, and it was just a fun thing to be able to do that.
"Even now, when she got inducted to last year's Hall of Fame, all of a sudden, her music hits for her to go and I was sitting there to watch her be inducted. And I'm like, 'I totally forgot about the fact that there was me singing her entrance theme.' And there it was. So, it's very cool."
After a year of being solely a ring announcer, those in WWE got to see and hear just how nice of a singing voice Garcia has. She recalled which WWE Superstar first heard her singing and how that made its way up to Vince McMahon, who decided that she would sing the National Anthem going forward.
"The fact that I got to do The National Anthem-- and it was because of The Rock. It was him who found out that I sang, and when I went to one of the live events, he was like, 'Oh, well we always play The National Anthem as an instrumental, so we should probably have you do it to see what you sound like.' Then I did it Friday, Saturday, and Sunday," stated Garcia. "By Monday, I remember Pat Patterson running in to tell Vince McMahon and some of the other producers that, 'Oh my God, she killed it all weekend.' And Vince was like, 'I have to see this for myself.'
"It started that night, which was in February of 2000 - to sing it - and I ended up doing it at WrestleMania for that year. A year later, it's 9/11, and it was a special moment to be able to try to use that song to bring us all together on 9/13, and to be able to do it for Tribute To The Troops also. Forever it's just going to be very dear to my heart because of the ties that I have and the fact that I got to try to bring us all together."
Perhaps the most memorable rendition of the Anthem that Garcia sang was at WWE's first event following the 9/11 attacks. It was a SmackDown event, and the entire locker room filled the stage as Garcia performed the Anthem in the ring.
She discussed Vince McMahon asking her to sing, and who gave her a pep talk before her rendition.
"I was the vehicle that got presented an opportunity to try to bring us together. I remember when Vince asked me to sing, I couldn't say no. In my mind, I was going, 'How am I supposed to pull this off?' I had no music - just me in the ring, and I was so emotional because I lived In New York City at the time. I was like, 'What is happening with the city that I live in?'" recalled Garcia.
"I remember Paul Heyman looking at me and seeing that face of mine, of, 'How am I supposed to do this?' And he says, 'Look, you got this.' It's I like I had the training ground leading up to it, being able to sing it every single week. He says, 'You got this!' And he goes, 'Look, if you fall hard and you cry, you cry. Just don't worry about it. Just be you, and go out there, and sing the feeling you are feeling right now.' I needed that. It's almost like a pep talk, and I'll forever be grateful for him to stop and say those words to me."
You could hear the emotion in Garcia's voice while she was singing, but she said that moment was bigger than her. She also says that she now longs for the togetherness that we all shared at that moment.
"You see it at the end where I do fall apart, but I knew that I just had to keep my composure because it wasn't about me. I just had to make it happen in the fact that we had to unite somehow. [D-Von] said it - 'it is one of the last times that we have been united', and I hope that this country can get to that and remember we're all Americans and we can have different viewpoints, and we can get along somehow and someway. We don't need to wait for somebody to attack us to then become united. That is my sincere hope, that we can get to that again," said Garcia.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Table Talk w/DVon with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.