WWE: Kiwi pro wrestling superstar Travis Banks living proof that hard work pays off

From the quiet rural streets of Bulls to the bright lights of sports entertainment, Kiwi Travis Brown is living out his boyhood dream. 

The WWE is a long way removed from the small North Island town, population 1,770, but for Banks, it was always in his sights.

He grafted for seven-years on the local New Zealand independent wrestling scene before taking his talents abroad, where he was finally noticed by WWE scouts in 2014, performing for a local promotion in the United Kingdom.

Fast forward five years and Banks is an upper-tier wrestler for WWE's European development territory - NXT UK - having recently challenged for the heavyweight championship.

Speaking exclusively to Newshub's Fight Club podcast, Banks says he is excited about NXT UK's creative direction following a tricky first six months as the brand looked to establish itself. 

"The product is really finding its footing," Banks told Fight Club. 

"To have guys like Shawn Michaels and Triple H critiquing your matches is so rewarding - even when the feedback isn't positive. 

"But they are super excited about the NXT UK product, which in turn makes us excited about what we are doing." 

The 32-year-old made a whirlwind trip home earlier this month to perform in front of local fans for the first time in five years.

That's the great thing about his current WWE contract. Banks is permitted to wrestle abroad for independent organisations approved by WWE. 

It's a win-win as far as Banks is concerned, as WWE looks to build fresh superstars in an ever-growing competitive industry. 

"That's one of the most appealing things about being part of the NXT UK roster," Banks told Fight Club. 

"I can still go out and wrestle all over the world - places like Spain where I currently hold the Spanish championship - yes I am the champion of Spain (laughs). 

"I can do all these crazy things like that and then come out here and wrestle at home which I think is good for WWE as much as it is for me. 

"Social media-wise it's great for them and me to get that buzz around me."

Growing up a huge wrestling fan, 'The Kiwi Buzzsaw' is living proof that hard work and dedication can prevail, following his 2018 signing with the biggest professional wrestling promotion on the planet. 

There were two key moments in Banks' youth that convinced the former Impact Pro Wrestling champion that sports entertainment was what he wanted to do.

"I read Chris Jericho's auto-biography which made wrestling sound like so much fun - too much fun not to do it," Banks said.

WWE: Kiwi pro wrestling superstar Travis Banks living proof that hard work pays off
Photo credit: Twitter; Travis Banks

"Then in 2008 there was a local show on in Palmerston North and former WCW star Raven was on it and I was like 'What the hell is Raven doing on a show in Palmerston North'. 

"So me and my best friend went to the show and I hate to say it, but I was really underwhelmed by the whole thing - there were a few good guys on there but Raven's match was just awful. 

"I watched that and it and I thought I could be as good as some of those guys. I'm not saying that to be disrespectful to them, but I was in really good shape and I felt I was more athletic than half the guys on that show. 

"I rang the promoter and asked him how I could get on one of his shows and the rest, as they say, is history."

And the future is bright for Banks. NXT UK is garnering more and more support each and every week and the Kiwi is a big reason why.

As his star continues to rise, could we expect a move to the big league's in the future? 

"Right now, I want to make NXTUK the best product we can possibly make it. 

"At the end of the day, we will all be making more money if this product is successful and wrestling will be better for that. 

"I would love to be WWE champion, I would love to be at WrestleMania, I would love to be the main event of WrestleMania - those are still my dreams and I'm pretty close when you think about it. 

"But for right now, it's about building this brand."

As for any young pro wrestling fans that hold the same dream as Banks - he has a little bit of sage advice as they follow in his path.

"If this is your dream and wrestling is truly what you want to do - don't make excuses. 

"You can make it all work regardless of your financial position or physical condition. 

"Also be consistent - put in the hard work. So many people don't want to work hard these days. 

"Don't expect it to be handed to you. 

"But if you are out there and want to make a go of it - do it and don't take no for an answer."