During a recent episode of her podcast, Lilian Garcia spoke on Howard Finkel being a mentor. Here’s what she had to say:
My very first day on the job, August 23 of 1999, I was told to just show up. It was in Iowa. I didn’t know yet what the job was going to be. In my audition I did backstage interviews. But it wasn’t until that day, Monday, that I was told at 3:30 that afternoon, that was I was taking over Howard Finkel’s job as the brand new ring announcer for Monday Night RAW. Talk about that moment being so heavy, so scary. I was emotional too because for replacing such a legend as Howard Finkel, I knew how much he loved that job.
I looked at him, I’ll never forget, I looked at him. I’m like, ‘How in the world am I going to do this?’ He looked right at me and said, ‘Because you can and you will. I’ll be right there to help you.’ And that’s exactly what Howard did. So selfless. He could have been bitter about that because he had been the announcer there for 20 years. When you heard the voice of Monday Night RAW, you knew it was Howard Finkel. You heard those huge pay-per-views and WrestleManias. That was Howard Finkel, and here I come along with zero training and I’m supposed to step in those shoes?
It’s crazy because it feels like it was just yesterday. But Howard and Tony Chimel, both, anytime I had a question, anytime I needed any kind of advice, because I was learning on the job, I could go right to Howard. I went to him and said, ‘I can’t do this alone. I really need your help. Please.’ He was right there, every single time, encouraging me, helping me. He mentored me without even knowing he was my mentor. Throughout the years, we created such a bond and a relationship from one ring announcer to another.
I loved being a ring announcer. I respect the job of being a ring announcer so much, which is why I still do it to this day. When the PFL called me and asked me to be their ring announcer for MMA, I didn’t hesitate. I was like, ‘Absolutely.’ I have a man that taught me what being a ring announcer was and how to cherish that position.
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Credit: Chasing Glory. H/T WrestlingInc.