Lilian Garcia is, without doubt, one of the most recognisable voices in the world of wrestling and, with 20 years of experience in the wrestling industry, WWE's legendary ring announcer has pretty much seen it all.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Lilian Garcia to discuss the heartbreaking reason she started the iconic Chasing Glory podcast, which delves deeper than ever before into the lives of some of the biggest names from around the world of sports entertainment and professional wrestling - and what drives her to keep going.
We also spoke about Lilian's admiration for most recent guest Paige, before discussing her thoughts on the current state of women's wrestling, the possibility of a second Evolution pay-per-view, and whether we'll see Lilian Garcia back in WWE this year.
Check out the full interview via the video below, or read on for the text in its entirety!
Congratulations on all the success you've had with Chasing Glory, which is almost two and a half years old I believe. I know you previously had Making Their Way To The Ring. What made you start the podcast, or maybe I should ask, what drives you to keep going with it?
Boy, yeah, you just said "what drives me to keep going" because it's not easy. I tell people, whenever they want to start a podcast, I say, "If you don't see yourself in this for three years minimum - and just know that it's a struggle, it's a lot of work - then don't even get started."
But I have to say that, when I left WWE, and my dad was really, really sick, and I stepped away from the ring, I was taking care of him and I remember him saying to me, "Lil, I really don't want you sitting here, watching me be so ill," and at the time, he didn't know he was dying - because they told my sister and I but we didn't tell my mother and my father, because we didn't want my dad to have to live with that.
So, he was still fighting for his life, thinking that he could get well and - oh, my God - that time was just so hard for me, but what he was telling me was, "Lil, while I'm sitting here, trying to get better, you just stepped away from WWE, I don't want you to leave your whole life for me. What's your next move? I want you to do something."
I had this idea back in 2004 to do these really in-depth interviews of the Superstars because I've gotten to know such incredible people behind the scenes but no-one really gets to hear their stories and I felt like, "God, if people could just hear the struggles that they've been through and how they've overcome their own journeys, then I feel like it could be so inspiring for others and it would also connect people with the Superstar even more."
So, I took that concept, I was already doing a couple things for Afterbuzz TV, so I went to Kevin Undergaro, he was really open about it and - like you said - it was initially called Making Their Way To The Ring, and that's what we did, and I did some really in-depth interviews on there.
After six months, they had introduced me to PodcastOne, so I went to PodcastOne. PodcastOne was audio only. It's funny, I was doing video before anybody else was doing video in podcasting, then I went to audio, then a year after that, I realised, "I want to be on video again." So, after our 100th episode, we went to video. It's turned into what it is now and I really just have to thank the fans for receiving it the way they have and especially the Superstars for trusting me with such hard and real conversations, and opening up their lives like they have - and that's what's made this show so successful and I'm really glad people have been receiving it the way that they have.
NEXT: Lilian discusses her admiration for Paige
COMING UP: Lilian discusses the evolution of women's wrestling