WOW Women of Wrestling‘s Temptress is a performer known by many names. She’s currently Katarina in Impact Wrestling. When she was called Winter and the company was TNA, she was Knockouts Champion and Tag Team Champion. Before that, she was Katie Lea Burchill in WWE and she’s Katarina Waters in her acting work, including in the recent British zombie movie Redcon-1. She brings a defined persona and a wealth of experience to the WOW roster and Impact women’s division, and shared some of her insights from almost two decades in the wrestling business with With Spandex. That conversation is below and has been edited for length and clarity.
With Spandex: How did you get into wrestling?
Katarina Waters: Well, I was a fan when I was younger, like a teenager. I used to watch a lot of WWF and then WCW and I thought it was the greatest show in the world, and I just always thought it was something cool, but I didn’t necessarily think about pursuing it. And then I was actually in London – I’d done film and drama at university, so I wanted to do something in entertainment, but I wanted to do acting, and, you know, directing and writing, things like that.
Then I was in London and I found that there was a school an hour and a half from me that I could go to and learn how to wrestle and I thought, “This would be cool, to learn how to do it,” so I started going there every Sunday, and then it was a hobby for a while, and then eventually WWE signed me, and then I came to the States and worked for them full-time, and then I worked for Impact, and now I’m with Impact and WOW, obviously, and work independently as well.
And since you’ve been in the business for a long time –
Eighteen years, man. The business has changed so much, and women’s wrestling has changed so much. What’s been your perspective on that over eighteen years?
Well, it’s interesting, because when I started, the companies that I started out it, I was the only girl, so I was wrestling guys… So on the one hand, that was great for me because I was different from everybody else, just biologically, so I kind of stood out in that regard, and then also because I wasn’t limited then by my opponents. I had these amazingly talented guys to work with, so that was really awesome for me, and then when it started changing and at first there was only, you know, a couple of girls here and there. There was always a few more in America, but where I was in England, obviously, there wasn’t much, so then all of a sudden you’re more limited on, you know, who your opponents are and things like that, so it wasn’t quite as challenging for a while.
And it’s interesting, though, when I came to WWE and everything, there’s always been a lot of women’s wrestlers in the United States, but it’s always been a little bit like, you know, the redheaded stepchild of wrestling. In WWE I always felt like it went up and down. Like one minute they’d have these really great, hard-hitting storylines between, you know, women, and then all of a sudden it would be like “Okay, we’re just going to do six-girl Diva matches for several months” and you hardly really got to really wrestle or showcase anything at all, so it was always this up and down.
And then with this whole Revolution-slash-Evolution, thing going on, it’s really interesting because I really feel like it came from the fans, when that hashtag came out “Give Divas a chance,” and they were clamoring for it, to say these guys – you know, it’s evolved to a point where they’re just as good as the guys and doing the same things. They deserve to have the same visibility and the same platform, and so it was really the fans that demanded it, and then this whole time, you know, those other companies – obviously, GLOW and then WOW – always showcased women, you know, in the same light and as equal to our male counterparts, as it were ,and that’s just something that I think has come more back into the forefront as well. It’s all kind of working together to bring women to the forefront and to show that we belong on the same stage.
When people talk about the more Divas-focused wrestling… people talk about the wrestlers not having enough time. Is that something you felt?
Well, that was really in WWE because on the indie circuit, even though there’s always been less women and less women’s matches on the cards you have always had a few standout wrestlers that have been around, and then you had TNA, or Impact as it’s now called. They always really showcased the women, you know. You have a couple women’s promotions like Shimmer that really started that whole, you know, in that time, they were doing women’s workrate matches and that was really their agenda that they were pushing and that people really responded to. So it’s been around, but it’s not really been as mainstream, so it’s now coming more into the mainstream, which is great.
And then how did you get involved with WOW?
Well, I had heard about WOW, of course, and I saw advertised that they were looking for “Superheroes” or wrestlers or athletes, and I thought, “I can do that.” And I thought it was a really great concept, and once I got involved and I could see how great production values are and, you know, how much David McLane is really pushing for these women to be really badass, strong, empowered women. You know, it’s not like a popcorn match… He wants us to be strong and empowered women, so that was really great.
And how did the Temptress character come about?
Well, actually that was my tag team partner Dagger’s idea. She pretty much came up with the character and the backstory. Yeah, that was kind of her brainchild.
How would you describe Temptress and Dagger as a tag team?
Well, we are the vengeful vixens because we’ve both been wronged by, you know, men mainly in our past and we’ve just come to the point where we said, “Okay, enough. We’re not going to let ourselves be cast aside, pushed back, or belittled, you know. We’re fighting back and if what it takes is revenge then we’ll take revenge.”
Do you have a favorite match or a match you’re most excited for people to see that you’ve filmed for WOW?
Well, I’ve only filmed two as part of their tapings, so one was against Fire and one was against Jessie Belle from the Southern Belles. And I actually really liked both of them… so I’d like people to watch and maybe see what they think, which one they think is better.
If you could have a dream match with anyone right now, who would that be?
I’m going to say Dolph Ziggler.
Why would you want to wrestle Dolph Ziggler right now?
Because he’s unbelievable.
Oh man, that’s great… Any other woman wrestler out there, if you could bring them into WOW, who would that be?
Into WOW, let me see… probably Taya Valkyrie. I think she’d be a great fit. She’s already so superhero-esque, you know, her whole character, her persona, and she’s such a great wrestler and such a great person. Yeah, I think she’d be great.