You’ve been in the wrestling scene for a while now – how did you first start to get involved in it all?
Depends what scene we are talking about here!
I started in the NZ Wrestling scene.
My first contact with it was in 2008 when there was a show promoted in a small town close to me with Raven (of ECW) on the poster. I couldn’t believe my luck! I didn’t even realise there was wrestling in NZ let alone getting to see Raven!
I went along to the show and was really unimpressed with a lot of it including Raven himself. I thought right then and there I could do a better job so that’s what I did! January 2009 I started training and March 9th of the same year I made my debut.
If we are talking about the U.K. scene though that’s a bit of a story.
I was training and wrestling in the USA in 2013 when I met Pete Dunne and Mark Andrews. I kept in contact with them and they gave me the idea to come to the U.K. eventually. Kyle O Reilly I was training with and he gave me the Fight Club: Pro hook up. So I had some great connections to get my foot in the door when I landed in the U.K. in 2015.
How have you seen the wrestling scene change over the last let’s say 10 years?
There is definitely more of a buzz more now than there ever has been in independent wrestling.
A lot more eyes even from abroad through social media are on it.
Hell, when I got here to the U.K. in 2015 there really wasn’t many massive opportunities. Then all of a sudden WWE, NJPW and AEW etc were all here on the doorstep looking to sign up people. So I was very fortunate with timing moving here.
However I don’t think the passion from the fans have changed and I think that is what has built up this scene over so many years.
How have you seen wrestling merch change?
When I started nobody was doing it. Especially not in NZ. I was one of the first to start selling shirts.
Then I moved here and again it was quite rudimentary if anything.
As the scene grew the merch got more elaborate and the designs got better and now I think it’s almost cool again to wear a wrestling shirt in the streets.
If not a shirt it's a cap, a badge, a sticker... you name it, the wrestlers are selling it now and I think it’s great as we as wrestlers can make this a viable career.
Why do you think it’s important for wrestlers to focus on their merch and incorporate it in their brand?
It lets fans be part of your team. It lets them support you in their own way and for me as a wrestler there is nothing better than coming out and seeing a lot of people supporting you with all the gear on.
Also I can express myself or my ideas and present my character in any certain way I see fit on a piece of merch. Fans see that and will get behind you accordingly if it’s something they like.
Enough about merch! What has been one of your best experiences as a wrestler?
Winning the Fight Club: Pro Infinity Tournament and then on to the Fight Club: Pro World Championships (Defeating Pete Dunne) and the whole storyline leading up to it. I’ve never been in anything like that before with the crowd so invested in everything I did.
Another was winning SSS16 2017 for Progress and then on to win the Progress World Championship (Defeating Pete Dunne) at Alexandra Palace and having my parents there to see it all happen and get in the ring at the end.
Also getting signed with the WWE (again my parents were in the room when I got the call) and getting to Main event the Royal Albert Hall.
What wrestling event are you looking forward to?
Wrestlemania baby! I’m fortunate enough to be part of the team of NXT:UK and we get to be there to see it live!
Random one – what do you do to psych yourself up before a match? Any specific music or band you listen to? Do you look in the mirror and pump yourself up? What’s your routine if you have?
I take two scoops of pre-workout and smack myself to wake up my body. I also have this oil called “Hot Stuff” that burns you a little bit and by the time that had all taken effect I’m on another planet! Haha.
Thanks mate, appreciate the time. Where can our readers see more of you? Any social media you’d like to promote?
Instagram - Travis_Banks13
Twitter - Travis_BanksPW