During the NXT UK tapings in Hull, SteelChair had the pleasure of speaking to The Kiwi Buzzsaw Travis Banks following an epic three-way match between Banks, Ligero, and Joseph Conners and as the hype for NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool II got underway.
The first episode of NXT UK from Hull appeared on the WWE Network on 21st November 2019, and this series of episodes from Bonus Arena is setting up for a fantastic, groundbreaking NXT UK Takeover.
From the first night of NXT UK recordings in Hull, the Triple Threat on NXT UK between you, Ligero, and Joseph was phenomenal and didn’t have the endless “one person on the outside” segments that often mar triple threats:
All three of us were on the same page, and those types of triple threats can be cliched, and we wanted to do something different. It’s the first triple threat in NXT UK history, and we wanted to make it different and creative.
(This match was in towards the end of the first night, so it should appear on the 5th December 2019 episode of NXT UK.)
Recently, I watched My First Match with Mark Andrews. Starting from that point, did you ever think you’d be a permanent fixture in the UK and where you are now?
My journey in professional wrestling is very goal orientated. I didn’t think I could ever be a professional wrestler. I thought I’d train and have one match and see how I feel. One match became ten matches. It turned into winning a title and going overseas. The goals got bigger, and all of a sudden, I thought, “I might see if I can get signed with WWE.” I think, always, in the back of my mind, the goal was always there, but I didn’t know how it would come about, especially from New Zealand as there was nobody before me to carve the path, but it all fell into place.
With the likes of Shawn Michaels, Sean Hayes, William Regal, and others, what’s it like having access to these guys backstage?
I think, sometimes, I get too comfortable with it. I think, “oh, there’s Shawn Michaels” and then realise, “oh, actually, THERE’s Shawn Michaels.” I was at the Performance Centre, watching matches with Shawn Michaels, and thought, “is there a better place to learn about wrestling right now than where I’m sitting?”
I think, since starting with all this and being in contact with the likes of Shawn, Triple H, and Regal, I’ve grown exponentially as a wrestler. It’s also little things (to help you improve) and never “you need to change yourself as a wrestler.” It’s always things that you might not have thought of. It’s the little things that turn you from a good wrestler to a great wrestler.
What have you learnt from having Sean Hayes as a trainer?
What I’ve learned is a whole different work ethic. When we’re getting in there and training with him, and if you’ve ever met it, you’ll understand, it jazzes you up and the way he puts together training plans in ways I haven’t thought about before when it comes to working out. For any wrestler who doesn’t grow when signed with WWE UK, if you don’t grow as a professional wrestler, I don’t know what’s wrong with you!
With the likes of Callum Newman and Joe Nelson, there are people biting the heels of Tyler Bate to be the next far-too-young-and-talented big thing in British wrestling.
It’s funny you should say that – last night DeReiss debuted in NXT UK, and he’s one of my trainees. I was very proud of him last night. It’s one of those moments that you don’t really realise until you’re watching it, that “I trained him.”
There’s been a mixed response, especially on social media, to NXT UK with a small, vocal minority saying WWE is killing British wrestling. If there’s one thing you could tell British wrestling fans, what would it be?
I think they build up WWE as the big bad, but they’re giving a platform to see how good British wrestling is. I wish they’d take the negative glasses off and look at the product. The quality of wrestling in NXT UK is so high, and I want them to see that and just how good the UK scene is.
There was a show right before the first WWE UK Tournament. There was me, Wild Boar, Pete Dunne vs. Tyler Bate, and there were 50 people. A week later, it was Pete vs. Tyler in WWE UK, and it’s incredible the difference a week can make.
With NXT UK being so new, it’s still in its infancy, and people think that “this is all it can be.” They don’t realise how much bigger this can get because we’re all still trying to figure it out.
Do you think NXT UK could go to weekly shows?
I think so. I hope so. That would be the goal.
You can follow Travis Banks on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Travis_BanksPW
NXT UK can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NXTUK
You can watch NXT UK every Thursday at 8 pm on the WWE Network
NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II will be live on the WWE Network on January 12 2020
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE and Travis Banks