Returning to WWE after a more than two-year hiatus, Lilian Garcia appeared on Friday’s episode of SmackDown as the program’s new ring announcer.
Tony Chimel introduced Garcia to the live audience at the start of the broadcast, who was already standing in the ring. As Garcia talked about how great it was to be back, she was interrupted by Cody Rhodes, who was standing on the announce table. Rhodes said no one cares she is back since no one noticed she had left. Garcia danced with Hornswoggle later during the show, which gave commentator Michael Cole the opportunity to air a crass backstage joke.
He cracked, “I wish these two would stop horsing around!”
The reference stems from those in WWE’s “inner circle”—Vince McMahon, Triple H, television producer Kevin Dunn and the since departed John “Bradshaw” Layfield—often joking that Garcia has a horse-shaped face. The crass joke was passed around backstage years ago and ultimately acknowledged on television by Layfield and Hunter to amuse company employees. Though Garcia has publicly taken the joke in stride, Mick Foley took offense to Hunter demeaning the “Decade Diva” during an episode of Raw last year in which she had filled in for regular ring announcer Justin Roberts.
He wrote online after watching on television Triple H tell Garcia she can always return to WWE to “horse around,” “Why does someone like Triple H, one of the most talented, well paid guys in the business, do something so shallow and mean? Why would a multi-millionaire, with millions of fans around the world, feel the need (several times over the years) to say something that is only meant to hurt? I don’t get it. I don’t get why it’s done, I don’t get why it’s condoned, I don’t get what possible satisfaction anyone involved gets from demeaning someone like Lillian Garcia. I just don’t get it.”
The latest reference was likely directed by Triple H, who filled in for McMahon at Tuesday’s SmackDown taping since the WWE CEO was off visiting U.S. Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan. Cole is the mouthpiece of the program director, as he is fed lines via headset. It was not the only mean-spirited remark on Friday’s show as Cole made light of Jim Ross suffering from Bell’s palsy after Josh Mathews said Cole speaks out of both sides of his mouth.
Cole quipped, “Actually, there is nothing wrong with my mouth, unlike J.R.’s.”