Where Are They Now?: Ernest "The Cat" Miller

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September 18, 2013

It’s often said that the best ring personas are an extension of the actual person. That was certainly the case with Ernest “The Cat” Miller — the braggadocios WCW star who danced with James Brown and begged somebody to call his mama. WWEClassics.com caught up with the martial arts expert recently and, just like the character he portrayed in WCW and WWE rings, “The Cat” was as confident as ever.

“A 50-year-old man beat everybody,” Miller said of his recent victory at a karate tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y. “I could probably beat some of these young guys, but I let them have their day.”

Check out classic photos of "The Cat" in action | Video highlights

Miller may be boastful, but beneath the brash exterior is a humble man who’s grateful for the opportunities he’s been given. Life wasn’t always great for “The Cat.” Long before he ever stole the show for WCW or acted in an Oscar-nominated movie, he was victimized by neighborhood bullies.

“I was a big kid for my age,” he explained. “I was a target to those older kids, because they got to pick on someone bigger than them.”

A friend at school told him about a karate class he was taking at a local park. That piqued Miller’s interest and he got his father to take him to check it out.

“I didn’t miss a day [after that],” “The Cat” said, “even if I had to walk.”

Miller earned his first black belt when he was 11 years old. Not too long after, he was travelling all over the southeastern United States, competing in tournaments with 14 other students and his instructor. He won his first of many trophies in 1975, at a tournament called The Battle of Atlanta.

He left the karate world during college, and following that, pursued a football career. After five years of going to training camps with teams like the New York Jets and New England Patriots, Miller decided to go back to his first love, karate. He got in touch with Joe Corley, the promoter of the first tournament he won, who operated a group of successful schools in the Atlanta area. Corley hired “The Cat” as an instructor. The new job inspired Miller.

“Being an instructor is a great gift,” Miller said. “I got to train and teach people the things I knew, and I love working with kids.”

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