As reported today by DivaDirt.com, former TNA Knockouts Champion Winter (a/k/a Katie Lea Burchill) has parted ways with the Nashville-based organization. Winter’s contract came to an end yesterday, September 5th, and was not renewed
Winter, formerly known as Katie Lea Burchill in WWE, started her wrestling career in early 2000 and was signed to a developmental contract in WWE’s old developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling. After a two year stint in OVW which included winning the OVW Women’s Championship twice, Katie Lea was called up to to the main roster as the sister of Paul Burchill.
Katie Lea Burchill would make her WWE television debut on the February 11, 2008 edition of Raw, accompanying Paul Burchill in a match against Brian Kendrick. Katie Lea would make her in-ring debut on WWE television on April 18, defeating Super Crazy in an intergender handicap match alongside her (kayfabe) brother Paul.
Katie Lea would receive her first opportunity at the WWE Women’s Champion at the 2008 Night of Champions after pinning then-Women’s Champion Mickie James in two different tag team matches, coming up short. She would receive another opportunity at James’ title on August 4, once again losing.
A few months later in December, Katie Lea and Paul Burchill would be moved to WWE’s version of ECW, embarking on a somewhat memorable feud with “The Hurricane” Gregory Helms, in which Paul Burchill would try to reveal to the world that Helms was “The Hurricane.” After losing a mask vs. career match on November 17, 2009, Katie Lea and Paul would be fired in storyline from ECW.
The following week, Katie Lea and Paul would return, calling themselves “The Beautiful Nightmare” and “The Ripper,” respectively. However, The Ripper would be unmasked the following week on ECW by Hurricane Helms, concluding the storyline. In January of 2010, Katie Lea was moved back to Raw, where she would sporadically appear until being released by WWE on April 22, 2010.
After several months of wrestling in the independent circuit, it was reported on October 15 that TNA had signed Katie Lea to a contract after impressing officials in a tryout match several months prior. Katie Lea would make her debut six days later, now under the name of Winter, beginning a storyline with Angelina Love. After several months of interaction with Love and her tag team partner at the time Velvet Sky, Winter would reveal that she had control over Love’s actions in early 2011, turning them both heel.
With help from Angelina Love, Winter would be named the number one contender for the TNA Knockouts Championship, held by Mickie James. Unlike her two failed attempts in WWE, Winter was able to defeat James for the Knockouts Title at Hardcore Justice. Although she would lose the title back to James 18 days later, Winter would regain the title at No Surrender. She would lose the title to Velvet Sky at that year’s Bound For Glory event. After losing the title, Winter’s tag team partner Angelina Love was granted her release on July 1st, leaving Winter without a storyline. She would then be released after months of not appearing on television.
Although not many details are currently known about this release, I cannot say I am surprised. Winter hadn’t appeared in television for months and TNA creative had no storyline from here after Angelina Love was released. I personally thought that Winter was quite talented, but was thrust into a bad storyline from the get-go that had no chance of getting over. I wish her the best in her future endeavors.