Thanks to Neil Bonser for the picture/graphic
As I’m sure anyone is aware, this was obviously not my intended collum for this week but with todays awful news, I felt that it was only fitting to ask that the initial column that I wrote be pulled and replaced with this one.
Words cannot even begin to describe my feelings and the sorrow I hold in my heart today with the sad news of Kris Travis’s passing, I am not even sure that it has truly sunk in yet, nor when it will. It was just two weeks ago that I sat here and wrote a column about the Kris Travis tribute show, how strong and brave everyone had been and how truly heartbreaking it was to see my friend in so much pain. I had an incling at the time that encounter may be the last time I saw Kris, but when the reality of that fact actually sinks in, I really don’t know how I shall deal with it.
I don’t want to sit here and be morbid, Trav was NEVER morbid around people, he truly was the bravest and most wonderful human being I have ever known. Never once did he wallow in self pity or lash out for everything he went through, he taught me more in the last 18 months of his life than anyone has in the 33 years that preceeded it. I knew when I heard my phone going off early this morning as I rolled over and saw that it was T-Bone, that something was seriously wrong. T-Bone knows me about as well as anyone in this world and knows that ringing me before 11am is a massive no no should you actually want a response. It was a conversation that I had been dreading having for a long time and the second I heard his voice I could tell. Telling somebody that kind of news is horrific, I can vouch for that having called a few people myself today to ensure that they also found out before the news broke and they had to see it on social media.
To say that the news hit me like a ton of bricks is an understatement, no amount of preparing yourself or telling yourself that the ‘chances are it wouldn’t be long’ can really get you ready for hearing someone on the other end of the phone tell you that someone you love is gone. I take solace today in the fact that the man I saw in so much pain just two weeks ago is no longer suffering and is now at peace. I am determined to celebrate Kris’ life rather than mourn his death and on Sunday we will now open the doors to the Over 18’s HOPE show totally for free and are just asking for people to make a donation of their choice towards raising money to help in the fight against this horrific disease. The show will be to honour Kris Travis and all else can go on hold for now.
I said that I want to celebrate Kris’ life rather than mourn his death so I think the best way for me to try and begin to do that would be to share some Kris Travis stories with you from over the years, all of these stories are things that have stayed true in my memory as they were all such fun days and being able to call Trav my friend is something that I am very proud of.
One of my massive favourite Trav stories is actually one involving Rob Sharpe, who I am sure a lot of you will now be familiar with as the guy who has started to break through on the UK Wrestling scene over the past year to eigtheen months or so… well, rewind to a time before Rob was orange and had most defintely never discovered a gym and you will get to the kind of time period for this story. We were up at HXC Wrestling in Manchester, Rob had recently started training to be a wrestler and was training over with Stixx at HOP so we saw a fair bit of him already. To Rob’s credit, he has always been very proactive with getting his face out there and going to shows/offering to drive people… and with my obvious love of alcohol and afterparties (especially HXC ones), it was always nice to have someone offer to drive you from a show. Now, Rob was a MASSIVE fan of Trav in the build up to this, but he had never actually grown enough of a pair of bollocks to introduce himself or go over to him… so imagine Rob’s loss for words when I take Trav down to the car that Rob is outside waiting for us in and ask if he would mind dropping Trav back in Sheffield on our way back to Nottingham! Anyone who knows Rob, knows that confidence is definitely not his issue and that usually, you cannot shut the prick up… well, this was the total opposite, he could barely get his words out as Trav climbed into the back of the car with me and we set off for Sheffield… I like to refer to this story as ‘Fan Boy Rob’.
Another such instance was a trip up to Morecambe a few years back which was actually for the very last ever XWA show entitled XWA vs GPW. This time it was me on driving duties and I would be chauferring Stixx, Trav and some small blonde kid called James Michael Curtin, who seemed to just disappear away from the UK scene soon after that… (I wonder whatever happened to that guy and how he is)… now, Stixx is a pretty level headed dude to travel with, aside from having to make constant stops in search of doughnuts, he’s pretty easy to look after in a car… the other two though… fuck sake!! No sooner had we gotten on the motorway and we are sat in the middle lane, than the two idiots in the back are attempting to either moon people or get people to wind their windows down so that they can say something completely random to them! It was like having two bloody kids in the back the whole way with Stixx playing dad in the front seat and me trying to pretend that I didn’t know either of them and get as far away from anyone they may have offended as I possibly could!
This certainly isn’t where the Trav car journeys stories end either… I will never forget having had a conversation with him one day on the phone about diet and nutrition where I had expressed an interest in getting in the gym and getting in ‘shape’ (no not ’round’ – I’m fully aware that round is a shape and I am far too familiar with it thank you)… It just so happened that I was actually due to pick him up that day to go to UKW in Wakefield and I arrived in plenty of time to get him as always, knocked on his door and was greated by a very hungover Trav (this was also standard practice) who was flying out of his door with a slice of pizza (apparently left over from last night) in his mouth… he devoured that within seconds and got in the car. I shit you not, we’d been in the car for less than 30 seconds before he’s asking me to detour and take him to McDonalds… 20 Chicken Nuggets and a burger later, we were allowed back on the road to get him to the show… for anyone who is even remotely familiar with UKW this was actually the show where Trav accidentily bust Danny Steel’s face open when a ladder smashed into him… not 2 minutes prior to that incident, Trav had crawled past me during the match saying “I fucking hate working with Danny Steel” (which was a total lie as he always complimented Danny to me and told me how underated he actually was), Danny passed me in the other direction a few moments later and also expressed his displeasure at working Trav… I’m sure this was total coincidence with regards to the ladder incident, but in hindsight it was pretty funny… well, for everyone but poor Danny Steel. So… we finish off at the show, say our goodbyes and get back on the road… we are in the car again for less than 5 minutes before passing another McDonalds and Trav grabs himself a further 9 Chicken Nuggets for the journey home… you’d think that’d be it wouldn’t you? Nope… we get 20 minutes from his house and he phones his local takeaway (I believe it was a Chinese he ordered) where he proceeds to order a further £20 worth of food for delivery upon his arrival home… It would never have bothered me about how in shape Trav was, the guy deserved it for the hours that he put in in the gym… what always bugged me was.. we had the same fucking diet!!!!
I could literally sit here all night telling Trav stories and I’m sure that on Sunday in Derby I will get the opportunity to reminisce with a few of you and tell some more and I shall dedicate a section of this column to telling some stories for the next few weeks for sure… I mean, we haven’t even touched on ‘Spider-Trav’ or that time that I totally missed my cue during a Trav vs Mark Haskins match to go out and interupt them, totally destroying the finish of their match… but hey, I do have an excuse for that one as earlier in the day I had suffered a concussion… but still, my cue was a fucking DROP KICK FROM THE TOP ROPE…. Yeah… it’s hardly rocket science eh? Ah well, I promise to cover these soon.
Today, we lost not only a great performer and a great man, but we lost a friend and a brother. Sleep well my friend. I love you x