Sometimes you have to fall on your face to become as good as you can be.

That’s what happened to Katarina Waters. Before her days as Winter in TNA or Katie Lea in WWE, Waters was Nikita in the Frontier Wrestling Alliance based in the south of the UK. Back in May, we featured Nikita in another Retro from 2003 leaping from the balcony at York Hall in London as part of an intergender tag team match. However, the year before, Nikita had been part of the biggest British show of the young millennium – a big-time show on British satellite and cable TV, the first televised wrestling programme in the country for 14 years. Nikita would take on Lexie Fyfe – one half of former SHIMMER tag team The Experience with Malia Hosaka and the boss of Florida-based customs promotion SLAMmin Ladies.

Nikita had been put on the card despite some reservations about whether she was ready for the biggest stage that British wrestling had seen for half a generation, but the dice were rolled, and after the jump, you can see what happened.

It’s heavily edited because the match was reportedly a stinker. So bad that Nikita reportedly apologised for it after coming back through the curtain. As her then-boyfriend Alex Shane told The Sun back in 2006:

…from that point everything changed. Kat went training twice a week and everyone was saying she was getting really good.

I remember about four or five months later she wrestled Paul Travell and it was the best male v female match I’ve seen in my life. I remember Doug Williams saying to me: ‘What the f*** has happened to Kat?’ At that point I knew it was only a matter of time before the WWE came in and snapped her up.

From this point, Nikita went on to wrestle across Europe, most notably for the Queens Of Chaos promotion as well as venturing to SHIMMER for volumes 5 and 6 before signing with WWE, winning the OVW Women’s Title as Katie Lea after just two weeks in the promotion, before languishing in the shadows once she made it to Raw, and now as master manipulator Winter, who is now set to challenge for the WILD Women’s Championship on August 4 in Las Vegas.