Four Seasons Of Winter - Inside the career Katarina Waters
Four Seasons Of Winter - Inside the career Katarina Waters
By Matthew Milligan
On episode two of Wrestle Talk TV Joel Ross and the Daily Star's Patrick Lennon were joined by Katarina Waters, better known as TNA Knockout 'Winter'. A pioneer on the British wrestling women's scene and by far the most successful female wrestler ever to come from Europe, Kat has worked for multiple promotions around the world as well as being signed to both WWE and TNA. You may know her as Winter, Katie Lea Burchill or Nikita; Now let's take a look at her career in depth.
Katarina was born and raised in Germany to British parents but moved to England when she was 18. Up until this point she had thought that wrestling companies only existed in the USA. That was until she saw a British show advertised in London. Kat wasn't very impressed with the style of the show, as it was more traditional as opposed to the glitz and glamour of the sports entertainment she had seen in the WWF, as it was known at the time. However, not long after that experience she once again became interested in pursuing a career in wrestling in 1999 when she saw Alex Shane and The Dominator on an episode of Jerry Springer UK. Kat was impressed with the characters and showmanship she saw and searched online for a UK wrestling school and shortly afterwards began training to become a professional wrestler.
She started her training and career at NWA UK Hammerlock under the late Andre Baker. Due to many of Hammerlock's previous students such as Doug Williams, Jonny Storm, Jody Fleisch and the man she would later go on to date and work for, Alex Shane, leaving the promotion, Kat would be thrust into the lime light far faster than she ever imagined. In 2001 she would be handpicked to be the first Trans-Atlantic Wrestle Challenge women's champion on the short lived ITV show, despite only having a few months of training under her belt. This exposed a vital flaw in both Hammerlock and the TV company's strategy and the show only ran for one season. However it gave the inexperienced Kat a much needed insight into how possible it actually was for her to become a wrestler on TV and also the internal politics holding the UK scene down.
A year later Kat would meet "The Showstealer" Alex Shane on a tour of Germany. Despite being "rivals" in two different companies, Hammerlock and the FWA, the two got on amazingly well. Within a week they were speaking on the phone everyday and it wasn't long before "the pied piper of Hammerlock" was convincing Kat to jump ship to the FWA much as he and many of his friends had done when relations had gone sour between Hammerlock and many of its most loyal and committed wrestlers. She would eventually take up the offer of an invite to an FWA show and upon seeing the company she instantly knew it was the place to be.
It was during this period where Katarina would make her biggest impact yet on the UK scene. British wrestling fans will know Kat as 'Nikita' in her time with the FWA. Nikita achieved great success as a fan favourite in FWA in part due to her ground breaking matches against many men and also stunts such as her famous dive from a 25 foot balcony at an FWA show in 2003. She also achieved great notoriety through co-hosting 'Talk Wrestling', a wrestling radio programme on talkSPORT, again with Alex Shane. Nikita continued to wrestle in the FWA and the European independent scene until being signed to the WWE and relocating to the United States in 2006. The signing of Kat was a major moment for the UK scene and it marked the first members of the new school of British wrestlers to crack the American market, proving her to be a pioneer even further.
Kat debuted in WWE developmental territory OVW as Katie Lea and began feuding with ODB, Beth Phoenix and Serena. During her time in OVW she won the OVW Women's Championship and became a favourite of the promotion. In 2008 it was revealed that she had a secret admirer in former FWA alumnus Paul Burchill. The storyline eventually led to them both moving up to WWE Monday Night Raw as brother and sister. The storyline way extremely controversial at the time as it was implied that the two had "feelings" for each other but due to WWE's PG13 nature, it was never fully explained. However this did not stop it becoming the talk of wrestling internet forums worldwide. Kat discusses this in detail on Wrestle Talk TV Extra on the official YouTube Channel. www.youtube.com/wrestletalktv
Both Kat and Paul were hyped as being the "next big thing" in WWE but unfortunately they didn't reach the level of success that was predicted, many feel due to managements fears over the controversial storyline the two had been given. Victims of the writer's pen? Perhaps. They both spent 2 years in WWE moving between Raw and ECW before being released in April 2010 to the disappointment of thousands of fans in Great Britain and her native Germany. After her release from WWE, Kat briefly worked on the independent scene in the US but it wasn't long until she signed with TNA much to the joy of her fan base on both sides of the Atlantic.
Kat debuted in TNA as 'Winter' a mysterious figure who had an admiration for Angelina Love and that only Love could see. To add more mystery to this storyline, Winter was later revealed to have Love under a spell! The story line was once again steeped in controversy, due to its fantasy and vampire undertones, and also became a favourite with TV viewers. Some hated it and some loved it and once again Katarina was at the centre of controversy as the result of the writer's pen. Fans worldwide, who knew what she could do it in the ring as a wrestler, felt that she was also once again being over looked as an in ring performer at the expense of being a TV character. This was a criticism that many fans had during her time in the WWE and one that simply was not her fault as is the nature of wrestling. Angelina Love would eventually leave TNA ending the partnership and much like the storyline with her "brother" Paul Burchill, the angle was dropped and never concluded or seemingly explained.
However despite all of that, during this period Winter found success has a solo wrestler winning the TNA Knockout Championship twice. They say the cream always rises, no matter what obstacles and politics are put in their way, a turn of events that Kat had encountered earlier on in her days at Hammerlock and found no different in America.
Kat is still a favourite on the worldwide scene and loved in the UK. This was displayed recently during a summer 2012 tour where she wrestled for all female company Pro Wrestling EVE and NGW against EVE Champion Alpha Female, to rave reviews and incredible fan reaction. Away from the ring, the ten years veteran's career has also continued to blossom. Now pursuing a second career as an actor in LA where she now lives, Katarina is using the talent that she displayed in her wrestling matches, and the fan following that came with it, to get exciting roles in TV and movies. On top of all of this she is now committed to helping others pursue their own pro wrestling careers with her FSM Siren Search contest and will be a regular on Wrestle Talk TV with her "Katarina's Necklace Of Wisdom" segments, giving her insight and knowledge on do's, don't, politics and secrets from working for the biggest wrestling companies in the world for over a decade.
Be sure to check out our interview with Kat on episode 2 of Wrestle Talk TV at 11pm on Challenge Sunday 9th September and go to the official WTTV YouTube Channel to see all of the extra's that didn't make the TV version at www.youtube.com/wrestletalktv