Lilian Garcia Returns To WWE With Her Podcast Chasing Glory [Exclusive Interview]

The Official WWE Network adds longtime wrestling ring announcer Lilian Garcia’s podcast Chasing Glory to its growing roster of shows. Weekly episodes of Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia will be available on the free WWE Network. The first episode with wrestler Braun Strowman launched on Monday October 26th at 10am ET.

Lilian Garcia was born in Madrid, Spain and moved to the United States at 8 years old. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and was a runner up in the Miss South Carolina Beauty Pageant. After college she broke barriers in the combat sports world when she became a ringside announcer for the WWE. This bilingual Diva hosted WWE matches for over 15 years and was the first woman to ever announce Wrestlemania. Her well-known voice and charming personality bring the fights to life for the fans in the stands and people watching at home. Garcia sang the National Anthem before many WWE RAW events and currently holds the record for most musical performances at Wrestlemania. Garcia is a musician in her own right and has released several spanish pop albums. Along with hosting and producing her own podcast, Garcia is currently the first female in-ring commentator for the PFL (Professional Fighters League).

Photo Courtesy of Christian Oth.

Garcia is well-versed in all things wrestling and Chasing Glory makes a nice addition to the WWE Podcast Network team. Garcia goes inside the ring and deep in the minds of the people on her show. Chasing Glory features former and current wrestlers, musicians, athletes, wellness experts, and more. After being a WWE ringside announcer for over a decade Lilian Garcia is a familiar face to many of her guests. This along with her genuine sincerity allows her to connect with them and get a raw and unfiltered look on how they overcome challenges on their path to success. This podcast brings an uplifting and positive message to the audience and leaves the listener inspired.  

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Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia made its debut in 2017. It has over seven million global downloads and broke into the Top 10 on iTunes more than once. Other shows on the WWE Network include the shows Uncool with Alexa Bliss, After the Bell with Corey Garcia and The New Day: Feel the Power. Previous Chasing Glory episodes can be found here: www.YouTube.com/LilianGarcia.

I connected with singer, songwriter, actor, host, and producer Lilian Garcia over the phone from Los Angeles. She told me what signing to the WWE Network means for her podcast Chasing Glory. Garcia spoke about her early days on the big screen and in the squared circle. We connected over our passion for music and Garcia gushed about her favorite singer. Lilian Garcia wants her podcast to help and inspire people and so far she’s doing a great job!

Lilian Garcia: Hi Jake!

Jake Perry: Lillian! Hello! So nice to hear from you.

Lilian Garcia: Hi, how are you?! 

Jake Perry: Doing well, thanks. It’s a big day for you today. Congratulations on signing to the WWE network!

Lilian Garcia: Thank you very much. I really, really appreciate it. It means a lot. This is exciting. 

Jake Perry: So once again, Lilian Garcia has “something to shout about.” 

Lilian Garcia: (laughs) Oh my God, you’re a fan, I love it. Sings “You got something to shout about baby!”

Jake Perry: I must say, you have some good jams! You’re bilingual from growing up in Spain and have a few Latin pop songs out there. I listen to Latin singers like Luis Miguel. That’s how I practice my Spanish. And now you’re on the radar!  “Quiero Vivir” over here. 

Lilian Garcia: Oh my God. sings “Ahora grito, Yo Siento!” Yeah, what a fun time to put that whole album together.

Jake Perry: It seems like WWE really nurtured your music career. They had you on the show performing on RAW, they brought on your musical partner John Secada. And then also, I want to say, you might be the only person to write and perform their own theme song! 

Lilian Garcia: Oh, wow. I didn’t even think about that. 

Jake Perry: Right. You wrote it and performed it! Hulk Hogan definitely wasn’t singing “Real American.” 

Lilian Garcia:  I’m thinking R-Truth (WWE Wrestler) might’ve as well because he’s into music, but there were only a handful, and it was really special that they allowed me to do that. It was fun. It was cool when I asked them if I could go ahead when I did that song for the first one that I did was for the Originals, WWE Originals. And then I said, “Hey, can I just walk out to the song since we put it on the album?” They were like, “yeah.”  And then when we use that one, I was home for a while .I was there for 15 years. So it was kind of like we wanted to change it up. There was another song that I had done, “Ur Girl (til the end of the world)” and so we created that one as the entrance theme song. So that’s cool. 

Jake Perry: Yes, Excellent. You are on the WWE Network. I’ve been listening to the Chasing Glory Podcast and I have to say, you’re a great interviewer. You get people to tell their own story about rising from defeat, persevering through hardship, dealing with fame. Who’s your inspiration when it comes to interviewing? Did you just grow up watching Oprah or Sally Jesse Raphael? You’re really asking these great questions. These people are opening up to you. 

Real, Raw, & Inspiring 

Lilian Garcia: Wow. Thank you, to put Oprah in the same sentence, that’s amazing. I appreciate it. You know, it’s so funny because some people have tweeted to me and they’re like, you’re the Oprah of wrestling. And I’m like, wow. That’s like the biggest compliment ever. I have to say that I just genuinely love peoples’ stories. I love to hear what people go through, how they conquer through those challenges and how they even sometimes are at work and trying to be superstars. But yet they have problems at home and how they’re challenging that, or how they’re on the road all the time. And you know, their families are at home and we’ve gotten some incredible stories of that. Even something that just popped in my mind is Sting (WWE Wrestler), when he talked about how he got his dream and then he’s on the road all the time, but then all he wanted to do was run home and just quit. And he said for me, it was because I didn’t really have God in my life and found that. And it’s just incredible, these stories that you hear from these superstars that you would never imagine. 

Jake Perry: Yeah. I don’t think we’d hear these stories if they were getting interviewed by someone else. I think they feel real comfortable with you and they see your face in the ring and now they’re sitting on the couch talking to you. You’re just a genuine person and they see a familiar face so it makes these huge superstars very vulnerable and open up. And we don’t really get to hear that anywhere else except on your podcast, which is awesome. 

Lilian Garcia: Well, I really appreciate that. I think they have seen from day one that I approach my interviews with zero judgment. I’m not there to exploit their story. I’m not there for clickbaits. I just genuinely want to hear what their journeys are and in hopes with the show and them being so open, we can help somebody out there. Somebody that’s really suffering and somebody that’s feeling alone, but yet when they hear these stories, they’re like, “Oh, I’m not the only one going through this.” And I can apply this into my life and get inspired and then hang on. I mean, that’s the biggest thing is.. suicide rate is so high that I’ve been hearing, people have written in, and said I was really at the bottom of the bottom and I was contemplating something really dark and your show and hearing the superstar’s story saved me. That is extremely powerful. I know that there’s something very special with Chasing Glory and the fans have made it special by sharing it. 

Photo Courtesy of Chris Cuffaro.

Jake Perry: Now that you’re with the WWE Network, are there any changes to the show?  Are you recording from a certain studio or are they putting you up in a studio? 

Lilian Garcia: Yeah. I appreciate you asking that. I want to be clear about this because the WWE also wants to be clear about this. When they signed on this for the network that absolutely were like, we do not want to produce this. We all love the way you produce the show. We love the way you’re shooting this show. So we want you to still have full reigns on that. We want you to bring your team and you guys shoot it. We’re just going to give you access to the superstars. So I fly there with my team. We do the COVID testing, all of that. And then we go in and set up our own set. They give us a room. That’s basically it. They give us a room, we set up our own set, and I run the interviews one-on-one. there’s nobody in the room when I run the interviews. I kick everybody out because that’s the intimacy that you get. I don’t want a superstar knowing that there’s anybody there watching him in the room, being self-conscious, or anything like that. And I love that the WWE has trusted me to run these interviews and then we go home and we produce it ourselves. We edit it, we put it all together and then we turn it into the network. So I want people to know that this is the Chasing Glory product that you’ve been hearing, that you’ve been seeing on YouTube. But now you can see the audio or the video portion on the free side of the WWE network, but you can still hear the audio wherever you get your podcasts. 

Jake Perry: Awesome. Happy to hear that. Censorship’s big right now so I’m glad Vince is giving you total control, which is nice. You’ve been at the WWE for over 20 years but you grew up in Madrid, Spain. How did you even get hooked up with wrestling? Did you connect with this male dominated industry from being a military brat? 

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Lilian Garcia: So my dad and I used to watch it when I was a kid, I used to remember yelling at the TV when Ric Flair was on there. Oh my God. He used to get me so mad (laughs), but then, I went off to college. Then after college and I had done radio and all that, then I moved to New York. And after I moved to New York is when the opportunity came through my agent who said, I’d like to try you out or they’d like to try you out at WWF. And I thought he meant the World Wildlife Fund. When he said it was the World Wrestling Federation. I was like, wait, wrestling? What could I be doing in wrestling? And then when he told me, he’s like, I know it’s not for a wrestler. I’m not really sure exactly what, but I think you should go and try it out anyway. And it was the best advice that I took because what a journey it has led me to. It’s just been able to open up a lot of doors and I just have traveled the world and gained amazing fans. The fans of wrestling are the best. They really are so devoted. They want to see you succeed, which is great. Then to be able to then bring them into Chasing Glory and all these amazing stories, and then now have the network pick it up. Man, it’s my own chase for glory. Right? It’s on my own. Pretty cool. 

Jake Perry: When the WWF to put out that casting call, I don’t know if it said ringside announcer, but if it did, it’s probably the first time they put out a ringside announcer casting call that didn’t say, looking for a balding mid-forties man with a thick mustache.

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Lilian Garcia: (Laughs) Yeah. It’s funny when I went to the audition, I didn’t even know it was for a ring announcer. I had no idea. My audition was more backstage interviewing, which I ended up doing on SmackDown. But I do remember that when I went there, there were hundreds of people, male, female, like all ages, types, everything. And then they narrowed it down to three of us. And then I got the call and they were like, we’d like to try you out two to three months. You can quit at any time during this try out. And at that point I was like, I have nothing to lose. And that was it, August 23rd of 1999. 

Jake Perry: Do you think the audience accepted you immediately? Did you feel a warm welcome from them? 

Lilian Garcia: Oh, hell no!

Jake Perry: No?

Lilian Garcia: No, it was rough because I was replacing a legend, Howard Finkel. And I also had zero training. I didn’t know to the day that I showed up at Iowa State university that day that I was going to be ring announcing that very night. And let me just add on top of that. Not only was I not trained, not only did I find out 20 minutes before I went live on the air that I couldn’t use cue cards, but the day before I had just gotten back from the Dominican Republic and I had Montezuma’s revenge. I was so upside down going through so much in my mind, but I held on somehow and I just learned, went home and really, really studied. And I think they saw the improvements so much for the week two, and how much I was really devoting time to learn and to really engulf myself in this world, that that’s what ended up helping me. And the rest is history, as they say. 

Jake Perry: What a story you have here. Some people are a little bitter about the WWE and Vince McMahon, but everything I hear out of you and everyone on your show is very positive. It seems like a good family to be a part of, which is nice. 

Lilian Garcia: I would not have been there for 15 years and still be a part of it and still sign onto the WWE network if I didn’t hundred percent want to be there. There’s no reason for me to do that. They have been amazing with me and I thank Vince and I thank the team and Kevin Dunn for taking a chance on me, someone who didn’t know anything about ring announcing and to put me out there. It was a sink or swim situation, but at the same time and made me learn really fast. And I think the fans, the reason that they actually took to me eventually was because they saw how hard I was working and they saw that I genuinely wanted to be there. I appreciate them and I think that that radiated and they could see my authenticity of wanting to be there and loving wrestling. So it’s been incredible that that continues today, that fans can be so loving and just so supportive. And now so supportive of the show, over 7 million downloads that we’ve had. That’s the reason that it’s going to be on the network now, they’re part of that. Everybody who’s been a part of this chasing glory journey from day one, they’re what I call my CG squad. I can’t do it without them. 

Jake Perry: Right. I think Vince lucked out. He’s got a good deal. He might be selling you short here. I think he’s secretly keeping you on as a staff therapist. He’s just not telling you. 

Lilian Grace: Hahaha, that’s hilarious. 

Jake Perry: I was checking out your IMDB page. It looks like you did one movie back in 1990, Modern Love

Lilian Garcia: Yess! I did. Oh My God.

Jake Perry: That’s awesome. I guess they were filming in your hometown? I saw that it was filmed in South Carolina. 

Lilian Garcia:  Yes, so it’s funny because Robby Benson, if anybody out there remembers Ice Castles, it was such a big movie at the time. He came as a director and I was actually in college and I was filmmaking producing, directing. That’s what I majored in. So he came to the university to give a class. And you had to audition to be in his class because he was just such a big star and really behind the scenes as a director, he knew what he was doing. So I auditioned for it, made his class. And then as part of the class, he was making a film and he was doing Modern Love. And so he auditioned us for different roles and sure enough, I’m there singing with my band. The funny part, the backstory on that one is I had to sing Hava Nagila at first. They were like, “you know Hava Nagila?” And I was like, “actually I do”, because I was singing in a band at the time and we were doing all these Jewish weddings and also I was like, “yep, sure do. I can do it”. They’re like, “okay, awesome, great. We’re going to have you perform Hava Nagila.”  So then that morning we’re there on set. They were like, “okay, we want you to perform it, but we want you to act like you don’t know the song.” So I’m like, Oh, okay. But they didn’t explain why. And what’s funny is now you watch the movie back and you have no idea why I don’t know the song. They kind of forgot to say, “well, we’ve asked her to play, Hava Nagila, but she doesn’t know the song, but we’re going to do it anyway.” Like they just forgot to set it up. So it looks like I have no idea what I’m doing. (laughs)

Jake Perry: But that’s so cool though. Your first credit, you’re in a movie with Burt Reynolds and Rue McClanahan! I love it.

Lilian Garcia: Yes! I know.

Jake Perry:  And also, I guess you were a karaoke host back in the day. What’s your go-to karaoke song these days? 

Lilian Garcia: Anything by Pat Benatar. Oh my God. I love that woman so much. She really influenced my singing career. My mom would always play her and I would just.. my god “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”, to “Treat Me Right, “Shadows In The Dark” I was just into all her songs because she was one that really sang.  I even trained operatic, as far as my coach, because I heard that she did that. It was the best training that I got because when you train that way, even though I sing more pop rock, but I didn’t lose my voice because I learned the proper way. That was an influence that she had on my life. So she’s definitely somebody I want to get on Chasing Glory. 

Jake Perry: That’d be great.

Lilian Garcia: Oh my God. That would be amazing.

Jake Perry: Who are some of your other favorite singers? Or some Spanish singers that you listen to?  You worked with Noriega. He was part of the Latin boom, and worked with Shakira. You’re part of that movement, bringing the Latin heat! 

Lilian Garcia:  I know. Working with Tim Mitchell, who is the musical director for Shakira and working with George Noriega, who has worked with Gloria Estefan, with John Seceda, with Ricky Martin, with J-Lo. That record was so much fun to put together because the two of them are incredible, incredible at what they do. Songwriting with them, producing, all of that. I remember when the record was done and I did it in Miami and I would just fly back and forth there. And I remember I was listening to it at South Beach and I was listening to it, tears just streaming down my face. Not only was I so happy with the record, but I was also, you know, just so happy at the experience that I had had putting it together. But then I was also sad because it was done. So it was very full of emotions, but I’ve been in awe of.. I love the Latin music and I love the Latin industry. I love being able to still be fluent and use my voice in that culture and also representing the Latino market. It’s an honor for me to be, not only the first female, but the first Latina to ever announce WrestleMania and break that barrier in such a male dominated industry to then fast forward to now being the PFL cage announcer, which is the Professional Fighters League in MMA. It just got announced that I’ll be back for next season. And I was the first female and first Latina to ever be a cage announcer in combat sports. So it’s so crazy and so grateful to have these opportunities to break barriers and just represent the Latino market.  

Jake Perry: Okay, awesome. Talk about breaking barriers! One of my favorite performances of yours was the duet was Stone Cold Steve Austin. Man, that was good. 

Lilian Garcia: Oh, Oh my God. that was so funny. You’re talking about Memorial Day, “America the Beautiful”.. 

Jake PerryYes, yes, that’s the one! 

Lilian Garcia: Hilarious. Okay, let me give you a little story on that one. So he started the song on such a high note, a key, and I was like, Uh Oh, and I knew it was going to be a trouble in the middle and I didn’t want to sound operatic. You’ll hear me drop out in the middle of the song. And he looks at me and then he just goes in and takes that note, you know, just sings away, which ended up being even better that he had that moment where he was by himself. Just wailing, and I join in at the end. Yeah. So that wasn’t planned that he thought I was ribbing him. He thought that I purposely dropped out of the song. I was like, no, dude, you started the song so high. So those are the things that happen on live TV that later on when you hear the story, you’re like, Oh my God, that’s so funny. 

Jake Perry: Great television. Just to wrap things up, once again, congratulations on signing to the WWE Network! 

Lilian Garcia: Thank you. 

Jake Perry: You know, your Braun Strowman interview already got a bunch of clickbait articles. There’s a bunch of little things in there that people are picking up on and making their own articles from that’s how deep you get with these interviews Lilian!

 Lilian Garcia: Woo hoo! I didn’t even know that. Thanks for telling me. I’ve been so busy promoting the show and getting the next episode ready that I didn’t even know that. So thank you. And I want to, I say, I want to thank the media who’s doing that, who’s picking this up, but also the fans  that are definitely tuning in and more importantly, the guests that are coming on and opening up, you know, being so vulnerable and trusting me. I want to thank them so much. 

Jake Perry: Every time I tune into the podcast, I get inspired and feel positive. So you’re doing great! 

Lilian Garcia: Thats awesome. I appreciate that. That means more to me than you know.

Jake Perry: Alright Lillian. Thank you so much. 

Lilian Garcia: Thank you, have a good one. 

Be sure to follow Lilian Garcia on Instagram and tune in to the Chasing Glory Podcast on the WWE Network, iTunes, Youtube, and all podcast platforms.

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Have you checked out LRM Online’s official podcast feed yet The LRM Online Podcast Network? This includes our premiere podcast Breaking Geek Radio: The Podcast, GeekScholars Movie News, and our morning show LRMornings. Check it out by listening below. It’s also available on all your favorite podcast apps!

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