Name: Travis Banks
Nickname(s): The Kiwi Buzzsaw
From: Bulls, New Zealand
Started training: 2009
Companies worked for:
AAW: Professional Wrestling Redefined
ATTACK! Pro Wrestling
Destination One Wrestling
Fight Club Pro
Grand Pro Wrestling
House Of Pain: Evolution
Impact Pro Wrestling
Insane Championship Wrestling
Just Do Wrestling
Melbourne City Wrestling
New Zealand Wide Pro Wrestling
Newcastle Pro Wrestling
NORTH Wrestling NCL
Over The Top Wrestling
Preston City Wrestling
Pro Evolution Wrestling
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
Pro Wrestling ZERO1
Professional Wrestling Alliance
Revolution Pro Wrestling
Ring Of Honor
Riot House Promotion
Saint Louis Anarchy
Southside Wrestling Entertainment
TNT Extreme Wrestling
United European Wrestling Alliances
VII Pro Wrestling
WhatCulture Pro Wrestling
ATTACK 24:7 Championship
FCP Heavyweight Championship
IPW New Zealand Heavyweight Championship
Lucha Forever Heavyweight Championship
PROGRESS World Championship
NZWPW Tag Team Championship
RPW Tag Team Championship
2012 – IPW Armageddon Cup winner
2016 – Fight Club Pro Infinity Tournament winner
2017 – PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16 tournament winner
2017 – #135 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated 500
Corner Springboard Enziguri
If you don’t know who Travis Banks is it’s time for you to hand in your wrestling fan card (and if you don’t have one then are you really a fan?). Since moving to the UK from New Zealand in November 2015 he has taken the UK by storm and has wrestled in all of the largest promotions (Fight Club Pro, ICW, OTT, Progress, WCPW etc). The fact that he has done this without the majority of people having seen much, if any, of his work from before he emigrated makes his rise even more spectacular.
As a fan of Melbourne City Wrestling I was already partially aware of Banks before he travelled to the UK. If you would like to see some of his earlier work I recommend you check out his bout with Dowie James on YouTube. When I spoke to Banks about his series with James his face lit up and he talked about how important that series was as at the time he was starting to fall out of love with wrestling but working with James helped reignite his love of wrestling due to how well he and James clicked and how well the crowd responded to their match.
In his short time in the UK Banks has already produced more fantastic matches than many other performers will have during their entire careers. His matches with various bouts Tyler Bate, Trent Seven, Pete Dunne, El Ligero and Ricochet all warrant a mention but his match with Zack Sabre Jr at WCPW Lights Out in January may well be the best match I have seen live and deserved the standing ovation it got from the sold out crowd. If you haven’t seen that match it is well worth the cost of signing up to WCPW’s on demand service.
Along with making a name for himself as a singles wrestler Banks has also competed in several tag teams. He regularly tags with Chris Brookes as the ‘Commonwealth Catch Kings’ (formerly known as ‘Inter Coastal Violence Factory’), TK Cooper (who he trained when they were in NZ) as the ‘South Pacific Power Trip’, Damian Dunne as the ‘Anti-fun Police’ in ATTACK! Pro Wrestling and he also has a short run alongside Pete Dunne in WCPW as ‘Strong Style’. He is also part of the ‘Prestige’ faction alongside Joe Hendry, Joe Coffey and BT Gunn. Although Banks seems focused on his singles career it was very clear from speaking to him that he values his tag team partners and enjoys the opportunities that being a tag team wrestler has granted him.
When I spoke to Banks we talked about what inspired him to get into professional wrestling. He recalled the first match he watched being Glacier vs Mortis for WCW and largely because Mortal Kombat was his favourite videogame at the time he was completely captivated by the match and decided that wrestling was the new love of his life (along with video games). He remained a fan of wrestling throughout the remainder of his childhood and into his teen years but as he wasn’t sure how to go about becoming a wrestler (the only wrestlers from New Zealand were The Bushwackers) he focused his energy on other sports, mainly rugby. Then in 2008 Banks saw a flier advertising WCW’s Raven wrestling at a nearby town and decided he had to attend the show. He remembers the show being underwhelming and Raven in particular being disappointing but the show did open up Banks’ eyes that there was a wrestling scene in NZ so shortly afterwards he found a wrestling school and left home to give wrestling 100% of his attention. Banks tells the story of his first foray into training on Flash Morgan Webster’s podcast but his first trainer wasn’t equipped to train Banks in the style of wrestling that he required so he shortly moved on to train elsewhere. Having training in New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the United States Banks then decided that the next step for him was to move to the UK where he is currently plying his trade.
Amazingly The Kiwi Buzzsaw travelled to the other side of the world with only the promise of sleeping in his mate’s couch. When I asked him how he can wrestle the high energy type of style he does while knowing he doesn’t even have a mattress to go to sleep on he told me “you gotta make your opportunities, you know what I mean, if I have to make the sacrifice of sleeping on someone’s couch or someone’s floor then I’m gonna do it cos I wanna get out there and take my opportunities.”
Without a doubt Travis Banks is not only one of the best wrestlers plying their trade in the UK but he also has one of the most unique stories of any wrestle working today (after all he has already wrestled on FOUR continents). Speaking to Banks was an absolute pleasure and I would like to wish him all the best in the future.
Facebook – Travis Banks – Professional Wrestler
Instagram – travis_banks13
Twitter – Travis_BanksPW
Dynamite Kid would be Banks’ Dream opponent but he said it was a tough choice between his trainer Ikuto Hidaka (who he says is probably the best wrestler he has ever seen) or Chris Benoit whose reputation and body of work speaks for itself.
Banks represented New Zealand in sumo wrestling at the Beijing World Combat Games in 2010.
*as of March 2017
Written by Neil Rogers