WWE: 'Kiwi Buzzsaw' Travis Banks on his 'quaint' life in UK coronavirus lockdown

Life in lockdown has taken some getting used to for Kiwi WWE export Travis Banks. 

The professional wrestler resides in the English city of Wolverhampton, where he is currently in self-isolation.

That tranquility is a world removed from the life Banks has lived, since signing with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) two years ago.

The 33-year-old is a featured roster member of WWE's NXT UK and made his US debut in January.

'The Kiwi Buzzsaw' is trying to keep things as normal as possible in a world turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I live in a nice little dog-walking area called Burton - it's very quaint," Banks tells Newshub. "It's been nice and peaceful for the most part. 

"I'm OK - I have my girlfriend here, so I'm not locked in a corner, going crazy or anything like that."

Banks' new normal includes a home workout, watching WWE events of yesteryear to satisfy his sports entertainment appetite and a little bit of lounge wrestling with his girlfriend.

"Routine is important, but honestly, this hasn't been that foreign to me," he said.

"I still workout at home, I go for walks and runs, and keep as active as possible, and do a little bit of wrestling at home. Nothing has changed too much, apart from not performing in front of a live crowd three or four times a week."

WWE has been one of the very few major sporting organisations to continue holding events during global COVID-19 lockdowns.

In April, the company broadcast WrestleMania from its Performance Centre in Orlando, Florida, in front of a live audience of zero. 

In a business where crowd interaction is 90 percent of the job, wrestling in front of no more than a commentary team and 3-4 cameras resulted in a surreal product.

While Banks hasn't experienced performing to an empty arena, he has taken notes for when business resumes in the coming months - probably with no live crowd. 

"I'd imagine, from what I've seen, that it would be a super weird adjustment period," he says.

"I don't think any pro wrestler has ever prepared to entertain an arena with no live crowd. 

"For me, it would be about connecting with the audience in TV land. Look down the barrel of the camera and express my emotions that way, and hope the fans connect with that."

Travis Banks in action
Travis Banks in action Photo credit: WWE

One of the stars of the two-night event was Australian Rhea Ripley, who featured in a high profile match with Charlotte Flair - daughter of the legendary 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair. 

While Ripley came up short result-wise, her performance was a star-making one and added proof to the evergrowing evidence that Australiasian pro wrestling is flooded with WWE-level talent. 

Ripley and Banks are no strangers, having signed around the same time, after working with each other in both New Zealand and Australia. 

They are just two of the many trans-Tasman superstars making waves in WWE.

Former NRL winger Daniel Vidot made his debut in April, while Kiwi Dakota Kai is a major player in NXT - WWE's third brand.

Banks and Kai shared in a monumental 24 hours for New Zealand pro wrestling, when they featured in marquee matches during Royal Rumble weekend in January. 

"That was the biggest crowd I have ever wrestled in front of," Banks says. "I remember looking at the arena outside and thinking to myself how crazy it was that I would be wrestling there in a few hours.

"Even when we were inside and the crew were setting up, my name was on the big screen and on the video wall banner going around the arena. That whole experience was amazing, and I was really happy with how the match played out and the positivity surrounding it from the fans. 

"Then the next night, watching Dakota... I was sitting in the 'Sky Box' and she came out, and I thought about what a surreal moment it was, given that 3-4 years ago, we were working in front of 150 people at the YMCA in Auckland.

"Then we are at the Royal Rumble and she's performing in front of 70,000 people - it's just insane, man. 

"When I was back on the scene in New Zealand and Australia, I always knew I was working with talented people, but the WWE felt so far away at that point. 

"I never felt like we would make it to the next level, then all these opportunities came and all of us took it with open arms. 

"Hard work pays off and we have proved that the last two years."

Kiwi NXT star Dakota Kai
Kiwi NXT star Dakota Kai Photo credit: WWE

That's some accomplishment for a young man who grew up in Bulls, watching WWE Hall of Famer Bill Goldberg smash people on his TV once a week. 

Banks is far from settled and holds out hope he cracks WWE's main roster in the coming years, but for now - aside from isolation - more hard work. 

"I am so lucky," he says. "I have exceeded all the goals I set for myself when I started to train back in Petone 15-odd years ago.

"I'm super grateful for everything that has come my way, and I just want to continue working hard and the rewards will come in time. 

"Hopefully, we get back to it sooner than later, but at this point, I just have to stay prepared and be ready to go on a moment's notice."