"I'm the greatest!" |
When most people read that quote, they will think of Muhammad Ali. Me? My mind drifts only to Ernest Miller. Miller is one of those wrestlers who is completely underrated in terms of microphone work, draw value, and short Japanese guy managerial appeal. In fact, I would say that were it not for a certain "Hulk Hogan" or "Ric Flair," Miller might be considered in at least the top one hundred wrestlers of 1999. Obviously he's still number one in my heart, but that space is also filled with Saved by the Bell reruns and the reassuring tones of LeVar Burton, so he's in some cramped quarters.
Ernest, or "The Cat" as I was introduced to him as, first appeared in the magic crate known as the TV in the house of a fellow Leonardite during another masterpiece performance of WCW Saturday Night.
Anyway, like everyone else on that program, I assumed that Ernest Miller had only a remedial personality and mastery of the English language. So low did I think of Mr. Miller, that he actually made it onto our infamous "Perfect World Order" sign that was featured prominently in a WCW Thunder broadcast that featured a distinguished group of heroes like Ciclope and Kendall Windham.
Maybe it was the sign that did it. Maybe it was the fact that he was the President of the company's son's personal karate teacher. Whatever it was, Ernest Miller began showing up on REAL wrestling TV (as opposed to the WCW Retarded Wrestling Hour where he started.)
It was after he showed up, that I single-handedly vaulted him into a state of respectability by repeating his famous "I'm the greatest. I can beat ANYbody" in a tone that started out as mocking but gradually increased to "infatuated" and finally plateaued somewhere between "weirdly obsessive" and "homoerotic."
Real Name: Ernest Miller
Promotions: WWF & WCW
Titles Held: He probably held some of the belts in WCW that by the end of the company's run were as highly valued as their plastic facsimiles being sold by some mullet-laden vendor named "Chico" in the lobby.
WWE Career: WWE these days has decided to piggy-back WCW's tidal wave of success with WCW Saturday Night and create just under ten of these shows of their own that are viewed by nearly eight people in two countries. Some of these examples of terrible journalism and putrid "athletic" theater are "WWE Confidential," "WWE Sunday Night Heat," "WWE Velocity," "The Cleavage Hour with Terri Runnels," and "People with Huge Breasts that Look Like Pre-Teen Boys" again starring Terri Runnels. Somebody once told me that the Cat was a host or a commentator for one of these telecasts, but I refuse to watch any of them. The fact that they are ripping off a show multiple times that totally blew makes me think that these shows must be so terrible that I am really missing out by not watching them (Mental note: Set VCR to "record" and Mean Gene to "scowl.")
I guess that Miller got released not too long ago, but in the business, if you are released from the WWE shows where they show clips from other shows that nobody watched in the first place, they actually refer to this change of employment status as being "liberated."
WCW Career: I'm sure I'm about the only person that could wax poetic about the Cat's career for far longer than Lex Luger's or Ric Flair's, but the simple reason for that is that neither of those guys released an exercise video, danced like a dandy, AND were managed by a Japanese tourist.
The Cat's highest high was when he was being managed by Sonny Onoo. You may remember him from the incredibly stereotypical gimmick in which he walked around like the flocks at Disney World taking pictures of everything he saw in America. You may think that this sounds a bit prejudiced, but that's nothing compared to the "Little Boy's Bastard Son" gimmick that was originally planned for him. This was to consist of him glowing a bright green hue, growing a third ear, and having his left arm morph into an elm tree.
With Onoo at his side, sans camera and genetic defects, the Cat launched a memorable feud with Saturn (Okay, I only remember it because I read about it five minutes ago and even then it sounded like it sucked.) The most memorable part of this time in his career, however, was a little thing I like to call...Cat-Bo.
That's right, with Billy Blanks successfully duping millions into thinking that throwing haymakers like Riddick Bowe would knock them into shape and that they wouldn't look like jackasses doing it, Ernest Miller and WCW decided to cash in with their own "Cat-Bo" workout. This I assume consisted of the "3-Time Worlds (sic) Karate Champion" working out with Sonny Onoo by his side. I would have recommended that anyone buy this over its Tae-Bo counterpart, if for no other reason than there was 100% more Japanese shutterbug in the World Championship Wrestling version.
A follow-up phone call to that number this evening revealed that it has been disconnected, but I am guessing this has more to do with it being flooded with callers and less to do with the fact that it is a five year-old gimmick in a company that has been defunct for almost four years now.
Miller also served as WCW's commissioner for awhile near the end of WCW's run with less Sonny Onoo but a lot more Miss Jones. While it's tough to say, I'm guessing that Miss Jones scored a little higher on the sex appeal chart than the suave Onoo, but it's a toss-up. I'm sure this commissioner angle was funny because Ernest Miller is a damn genius, but I honestly wasn't watching at the time and won't pretend to know anything about it. I do know that he got into a match with Jerry Flynn and cut his ponytail off and I give him credit for winning the match, but also remove the same amount of credit for coming in contact with Jerry Flynn's hair.
Finisher: The Cat used the Feliner as his finisher, which is listed as a "thrust kick" by internet wrestling nerd, Steve Gerweck. I think it was just a superkick style move but let's not pretend like anyone, including the Cat, cares.
Fun Miller Fact: Ernest Miller is like the Tom Emanski of wrestling, in that he always told us about having multiple championships but offered little proof. I think that like Emanski, Miller's titles are for real, but unlike Emanski, Miller doesn't have any commercials featuring Fred McGriff in an over-starched hat.