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

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September 18, 2013

“The Cat” loved passing on his karate knowledge so much that he would stay after class and work with any kids who wanted extra training. Though his list of students includes R&B superstar Usher, one child in particular ended up leading Miller down a career path he never would have expected to go.

“I had this little blond-haired, pretty boy kid,” Miller recalled. “He would stay after class every day and I’d work with him on different techniques. He told me his dad was a black belt, too.”

“The Cat” met the boy’s father during an open sparring session. The jet-black-haired man walked into the dojo and put a beating on some of the other instructors.

“He was kicking ass,” Miller said. “I was working with the kids, but I’m thinking I’m going to have to show the guy the buck stops here.”

Dear old dad got a taste of his own medicine from Miller. The karate champion quickly humbled him before discovering that the man was Eric Bischoff. Fortunately, the WCW President was impressed by “The Cat.”

“He said, ‘I’ve never been outmatched like I was with you,’” Miller said. “Then he told me I had charisma and a good look and said, ‘I could make you a very wealthy man.’”

Bischoff sold Miller on joining the WCW roster. After training in the infamous WCW Power Plant, Miller made his WCW debut at Slamboree 1997, kicking his way into the middle of the martial arts rivalry between Glacier and the wicked duo of Mortis & Wrath. Miller jumped into the ring and floored the two villains with a flurry of kicks that made fans take immediate attention.

“I just went kicking crazy,” Miller said. “The crowd was going crazy.”

Watch Miller's WCW debut

“The Cat” hung around WCW for a while, but playing the karate fighting good guy didn’t stick with the fans. A little bit of good-natured ribbing in the locker room, though, led to Miller becoming a star.

“Booker T, Kevin Nash, all these guys were saying karate was fake, just messing around,” Miller said. “But I was giving it right back to them."

“Disco Inferno came up to me and said, ‘If you do that on TV, you’d be huge. You just burned the whole locker room!’ “

Disco told WCW executives about Miller’s trash-talking, so they gave “The Cat” the microphone and let him loose. He started instigating fans, daring them to step in the ring with him.

“When I said ‘Shut up,’ they got louder. I said ‘Sit down,’ they stood up. I had them in the palm of my hand,” he said. 

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