Katarina Waters made her mark in WWE through the rings of Ohio Valley Wrestling before making it to the main roster as Katie Lea Burchill. There she was paired with an onscreen pirate brother Paul Burchill. Waters, who is featured in the documentary The Other Side of the Ring, moved from England to the United States and Louisville for OVW, the company’s developmental territory.
“When I was in OVW, that was the complete focus. It was everyday training and then shows and in between thinking about storylines,” she said. “Al Snow, our trainer, would come up and say I have a great idea for a storyline, let’s do that. He would take the time to sit down with us and mold it into the best version of the story as you can get unless it was a horrible idea where he would suggest something else. Having that constant focus of working on something and toward something. Also, trusting your talents.”
One of Waters’ favorite opponents in those early years was Beth Phoenix. The two met in the first women’s ladder match in OVW history.
“At first we thought Al was joking when he said it, and then he was like, ‘I trust you to do it,’” Waters said. “For me, I thought, ‘Wow, maybe I need to trust myself more. Understanding I am as talented as I need to be for a particular thing and really throw myself behind it
“…Being behind the curtain and seeing the ladder, the lights, and music playing. I never so profoundly looked forward as much to walking out here and doing it. I think it was because we were so prepared for it that I really felt confident about it and enjoyed every single second. I remember that moment. I remember the match and everything just flowed. And if you’re going to get into the ring with anyone, it may as well be Beth Phoenix if you wanted something good to come out of it.”
After two women’s championship reigns during her run in OVW, Waters found glimpses of success on the main roster. Among them was facing Mickie James on numerous occasions for the women’s championship. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out for Waters due to a number of starts and stops related to storylines. She was released shortly after WrestleMania in 2010. Although Waters didn’t have a similar experience receiving her things in garbage bags.
“I never even had a drawer because I was not a big enough star to have a drawer. So nothing needed to be returned to me as I brought everything myself,” she said. “I have no experience with that. I knew [the release] was coming because I hadn’t been used as much. There were a lot of incidents where I had my flight information to fly out for TV and the night before at midnight they would call to say they didn’t need me. It was incredibly frustrating and heartbreaking at that time. So it wasn’t a surprise when they called and said they would have to let me go.”
Waters’ career continued on as she had stints with Impact Wrestling and later WOW Women of Wrestling. These days she has turned her attention to acting and flexing the creative muscle behind the scenes. You can also learn more of her story in the documentary The Other Side of the Ring available on Digital platforms (Tubi TV (Where Available), Vimeo on Demand, and Google Play). Katarina’s full interview can be found via the embedded players below: