Kris Travis - Warrior
By Rob Maltman
Posted On 03-04-2016 19:28 GMT
Tags: British Wrestling, Kris Travis, #ThankYouTrav, #RIPTrav, #RIPKrisTravis, #WWEHOF, #WrestleMania, Project Ego, Martin Kirby, SOuthside Wrestling, HOPE Wrestling

The wrestling world has recently been stunned with the tragic passing of the Shooting Star Kris Travis. It has been incredible and awe inspiring to witness the entire wrestling community stop and pay tribute to this incredible man. Ten bell salutes, tribute videos, standing ovations and social media literally flooding with marks of respect have truly shown the legacy of Kris. It has even reached as far as the WWE with Kevin Owens tweeting and Finn Balor paying tribute by decorating his hands with Travis’s 3 star tattoo design.

On the day of Kris’s passing Southside Wrestling hosted a show named ‘Lets Kick Cancer to the Curb’, a show that was always going to take place on that day, a show that was designed to raise money and awareness of the plight of cancer sufferers and the doctors and nurses who dedicate their lives tried to aid and help those battling the disease.

The timing was dreadful and the feeling backstage at the event was truly indescribable. Men and Women who have spent their entire lives working and travelling with Kris Travis were sat in shock, hurt and devastated at what had happened to their friend, their brother. They were tasked with going out there and putting on a show, putting on a brave face to raise money for a great cause whilst in a period of shock and mourning. Never let it be said that the men and women in wrestling aren’t pure professionals and the Southside show that evening had taken on an increased level of importance.

As always the news was covering social media and the show was being mentioned by everyone in Wrestling, never before have I ever been involved with something so emotional, personal and important. It was my job to open the show, and I was not / am not the right man for the job. Travis had 14 years’ experience in wrestling whilst I have 7. I hadn’t even met him until I was 2 years into it. There is a long list of men and women in this business that had a much better reason to be standing in that ring rather than me. But I am the announcer and like everyone else I wanted to do what I do to honour and pay respect.

I can’t remember the first time I saw Kris, but I know it was as a fan. I recognized his unique persona and star power and realised he was at the top of the wrestling tree. Kris was great, as much as it is easy to just say that, Kris genuinely could have / should have been a star on the international stage – he had everything – looks, body, ability, and charisma – the IT factor that genuinely cannot be taught.

When I first got into the wrestling business I saw Kris at the top and wanted to be there too. It was at Full House wrestling where I first spoke to the man. I always make a habit of getting to a show early and doing a bit of last minute prep (see what changes have been made to a card, get a feel for the room, say hello to the venue staff etc.) and I remember Kris walking in. Despite the fact he was dressed extremely casual he still carried a presence and that star power was evident. I walked up and shook his hand to which he instantly recognised me from Southside (I was the backstage interviewer at the time) and greeted me like an old friend despite the fact this was the first time we had really spoke, which took me by surprise, after all Kris was a superstar and I was a nobody.

‘How are you feeling’ I asked, to which he replied ‘I am ok – a little tired and hungover – what’s this coffee gimmick I am seeing here?’; as it happens at this show Full House Wrestling Management had put on tea and coffee for the boys, much to Kris’s delight and we sat and had a cuppa together and chatted about wrestling – Kris told us tales of his travels around the country and different promotions, and here I am sat in Peterborough just starting out listening to this all-time great. That evening Kris wrestled RJ Singh and completely stole the show.

Another time I worked with Kris is at HOPE wrestling in Mansfield (I believe it was HOPE 4). The announcers’ job usually entails being a link between the fans and the locker room, with the boys needing someone to go out front and deal with all manner of issues. This show was no different as I was tasked with helping organize the meet and greet, getting all the wrestlers to come from backstage to the front. There was Travis backstage and I had to ask him to come meet the fans. ‘Are there any fit women out there Maltman?’ he asked, ‘not really any’ I replied honestly ‘well I am not going out then’ he stated and carried on getting changed. Who was I to tell him that he had to do it? And to this day I doubt Harvey Dale has any idea this was the reason Kris didn’t sign any autographs that night.

My path crossed with Kris’s from time to time – without Adam Curtis managing Project Ego at Southside I would never have gotten my break on commentary there. When I was lucky enough to work with Triple M and travel with Ric Flair and I knew that Travis & Kirby would be at the Leeds event and I told Ric that I wanted to introduce him to them (we were talking a lot about the British Scene) – it was at this point that Kris was battling his first bout with cancer and when I got to catch up with him to say I wanted to introduce him his first question was ‘did you tell him about the cancer?’ to which I said no. Kris beamed once again he was Kris Travis the wrestler not Kris Travis the Wrestler with Cancer. It was always a pleasure to do something positive for the man.

The real reason I started writing this article is this. When Kris became Southside GM he made sporadic appearances when he could and did his best to raise money for Cavendish Cancer Care in Sheffield of which he was a patron. It is the true measure of the man that despite the fact he was still battling himself he set about working to help others. I suggested to him that we should film some interviews with him as the GM to help develop his character and further storylines plus it would be a lot of fun.

Travis was scheduled to appear at a Sheffield show and we arranged to catch up and film something then. When I got to see him he apologised and said he didn’t feel up to it but took me to one side and ‘Maltman, keep up the good work, your good at what you do thank you.’ I was taken aback – Kris Travis was a star, a big name and he was complimenting me? Behind the scenes in wrestling I have been hazed and put down more times than I care to remember – criticized without any attempt to provide coaching, trolled, ignored, told to my face I should have retired but here was one of the biggest stars of them all complimenting me, and its something I will always carry with me. A man who I respected as a wrestler became a wrestler I respected as a man.

Kris Travis understood that for a show to work everyone on that show needs to be at their best – and that is the lesson I take from his life, treat people with respect and they will respect you back. That is why I felt I could stand in the ring on March 31st in front of all of his friends, brothers and fans and speak on behalf of them and Southside.

I never travelled with Travis, never had his personal phone number but I respected him and he will never know just what a confidence boost he gave me that day in Sheffield and as much of a cliché as it is Kris Travis was an all-time great in and out of the ring and I consider it my pleasure to have met, worked with and had a cuppa with him.

It is because of this I am backing the campaign to have him awarded the WWE Warrior award in the 2017 Hall of Fame. The Warrior Award will be given to someone who has exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of WWE Hall of Famer, The Ultimate Warrior and I believe it would be a perfect way to honour the Legacy of Kris Travis. 

To support the campaign please follow them on Facebook and sign the petition

Tags: British Wrestling, Kris Travis, #ThankYouTrav, #RIPTrav, #RIPKrisTravis, #WWEHOF, #WrestleMania, Project Ego, Martin Kirby, SOuthside Wrestling, HOPE Wrestling

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