TRAVIS BANKS is hoping to steal the headlines at tonight’s historic first-ever NXT UK Takeover after receiving a guiding hand from the Showstopper himself.
The “Kiwi Buzzsaw” takes on bitter rival Jordan Devlin at Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom in WWE’s first British pay-per-view event since 2003.
Excitement is building among the roster as WWE’s developmental brand aim to show the world why everyone is talking about the British wrestling boom.
New Zealander Banks, 31, is no different and he could not hide his excitement as he spoke to SunSport this morning just hours before stepping into the ring.
He said: “I’ve been up since 6.30am in my hotel room, music on and doing some squats and I can’t wait.
“It’s weird to say this, but when I came to the UK I didn’t get expect all this to blow up like it has.
“My independent stuff went really then all of a sudden about 18 months later WWE called.
“I’ve been the first Kiwi to main event at the Royle Albert Hall, and even though I didn’t win, it went really well.
“And for NXT UK to put so much faith in me and put me front and centre shows I must be doing something right, and all my hard work and trying to get noticed is paying off.”
Hard work is nothing new to Banks, as his Instagram followers will know well due to his regular workout videos.
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But he admits it is another wrestling superstar who provides the inspiration for him – and it’s none other the WWE Champion.
Banks said: “Daniel Bryan is the standard-bearer. I’ve always looked up to him, even when he was wrestling on the independent scene.
“He has a crazy work-rate… a working wrestler.
“And if I can be even a third of the wrestler he is then I can be a success as he is such a monster when it comes to professional wrestling.”
Banks was in London yesterday as NXT Founder and WWE legend Triple H announce the opening of the UK’s first performance centre.
Fellow WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, who now helps with training the next batch of big-name performers, was also in attendance.
And Banks admits it sometimes feels like he is living in a dream with the latest development and the opportunity of learning from “Mr WrestleMania”.
Banks said: “He works with us and goes through our matches to give us feedback. He is hands-on and to be honest, he’s awesome.
“Again, if ten years ago someone had said Shawn thought my match was really good I’d just be like ‘get out of here’.
“Sometimes I’ve got to stop myself and appreciate what’s around me.
“It makes me so motivated knowing I have access to that and the Performance Centre and when I get in there it’s just going to be like ‘let’s go’.”
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