The role of the heel is often under-appreciated. It’s easy to forget when we’re booing and jeering these contentious wrestlers, how important they really are in the big scheme of things in professional wrestling. They do more than make the face look good. A truly great heel invokes strong feelings from the crowd. Perhaps they remind us of our high school bully, or in other examples, they can represent the selfish and entitled ultra-rich, the villainous foreigner, or the elitist intellectual who looks down on everyone. We rally behind them just as easily as we do our hero’s in very different ways. Over the years I have developed a strong appreciation for a good heel. One who invokes those strong feelings, cheering for the other guy to take out this popups ass! This is the Golden Boy Travis Williams.
When a good heel comes along its time to take notice! When I first saw the “Golden Boy” Travis Williams enter the ring with his cocky grin, arrogant swagger and entitled air, I knew I was seeing someone who knew what he was doing in the ring. With a skill set developed around his character that included a number of dubious moves it became clear, this wasn’t just some guy pretending to be an ass. This was a truly talented heel.
Like all heels, they are usually portrayed by truly nice people. There is a sort of catharsis experienced when you can turn off the censors and say or do the things that you normally wouldn’t. As I worked with Travis on this article there were several words that came to mind, professional, respectful, congenial and kind. This is pretty much the opposite of the character he portrays in ring, but don’t expect to see these things if you encounter him at a show! You’re likely to get the “Golden Boy” Travis Williams! Don’t worry though, it’s rather fun to interact with the “Golden Boy!” He’s full of insults and venomous comebacks so expect to be thoroughly entertained!
Getting a spectacular talent like Travis to take the time to sit down and answer some questions is a real treat. I was lucky enough to have this opportunity recently and got a rare glimpse behind the curtain with one of the rising talents in our region. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Philip Jones: Tell us about your history with being a fan of professional wrestling. Were you always a fan? Did it come later when someone introduced it to you?
Travis Williams: I became a fan of wrestling when I was 11 years old and a friend had introduced it to me. I instantly became a fan of Jeff Hardy and that’ who got me hooked as far as I can remember.
Philip Jones: Who do you look up to in the business? Who inspires you?
Travis Williams: After Jeff Hardy, I started to lose interest in wrestling, and it was CM Punk who brought me back to it. He was the one who inspired me to become a wrestler and I decided that as soon as I finished High School, I would pursue it.
Philip Jones: At what point did you decide to take this to the professional level?
Travis Williams: As soon as I graduated, I reached out to a PNW Legend by the name Scotty Mac. He told me I would have to wait till I was eighteen to start training. I had my ECCW tryout almost immediately after my 18th birthday.
Philip Jones: When you decided to train where did you go? Who did you train with? both trainers and other students.
Travis Williams: I went to ECCW’s training school in Surry, BC Canada and was trained by Artemis Spencer, Nicole Matthews and Tony Baroni. My tryout class consisted of Shareef Morrow, Jacky Lee and Erik Strange, whom I still wrestle with frequently in ECCW and other companies such as PWA Canada.
Philip Jones: How would you describe your style in the ring? Do you have a favorite move? Are you perfecting any new moves you’re hoping to add to your repertoire?
Travis Williams: My wrestling style is more of a classic heel which was heavily inspired by my trainers and tag team partners in ECCW, Tony Baroni and Billy Suede. They both had a massive impact on how my character developed and me finding my groove as the Golden Boy. I have also introduced a more fast paced style to my repertoire,which plenty of wrestlers in the PNW are currently using.
Philip Jones: You’ve been doing this how many years? So far who have been your favorite competitors? Top five favorite matches?
Travis Williams: I started training in December of 2016 but have officially been wrestling since June 2017. My favorite matches in no particular order have been against Nicole Matthews, Douglas James, Artemis Spencer, Jacky Lee, and in particular a four-way match against Judas Icarus, Elliot Tyler and David Starr for ECCW’s Ballroom Brawl 12.
Philip Jones: Where are you hoping to go with all this? AEW? WWE? King of the Indies?
Travis Williams: Right now, my goal is to wrestle as frequently as possible and to just get my name out there. I definitely have a bucket list of companies I would like to work for such as Smash Wrestling, Beyond Wrestling, Rev Pro and Melbourne City Wrestling just to name a few.
Philip Jones: You’ve had some great opportunities here, south of the boarder. Between Without a Cause and DEFY you are really getting some well-deserved attention. How does it feel to get traction like this? What are you hoping will be the next step for you?
Travis Williams: I have definitely had some awesome opportunities as of late as far as companies and opponents. I hope to keep getting those opportunities and will definitely keep working hard for them.
Philip Jones: “Golden Boy” Travis Williams, tell us about your gimmick. What is his back story and how has he evolved as a character?
Travis Williams: When I first had my debut match, I was going for a Jock/Frat Boy gimmick. I came out with a letterman jacket from my Football team in High school and a backwards hat. Eventually that evolved into a golden Jacket which in a promo one day, I called myself the Golden Boy which seemed to stick.The evolution of my character has a lot to do with me joining a Tag Team known as “the Wisemen” with Billy Suede and Tony Baroni. They influenced my attitude as well as my style in the ring.
Philip Jones: You make no qualms about being a heel. Tell us about taking heat. What drew you to be a heel? Do you find catharsis in being the “Golden Boy”?
Travis Williams: The moment I decided to be a wrestler,I knew I wanted to be a Heel. CM Punk was a huge inspiration, especially his Ring of Honor Stuff. As well as Adam Cole, as far as his attitude and the way he represents himself. I would have to say that joining “the Wisemen” and teaming with Suede and Baroni was, and still is my biggest influence as a heel.
Philip Jones: What does your family think of all this? Wrestling? Your character?
Travis Williams: My family has been extremely supportive of me pursuing my dream of being a professional wrestler. They have been to almost every show in Vancouver and have travelled out to Washington to see me compete in Defy and Without A Cause.
Philip Jones: You’ve got great ring chemistry with the people you step into the ring with. What makes a match special for you? Is there a style of wrestling or trait some wrestlers have that makes them particularly great to with?
Travis Williams: Everyone I have worked with has been extremely professional and easy to work with. It’s great knowing that everybody is out chasing a dream and is willing to work hard. Everyone seems to have somewhat different style so whenever I have the chance to work someone new, I try to absorb as much information as I can.
Philip Jones: If you could book your absolute dream matches, what would they be and with whom?
Travis Williams: Some dream matches of mine include Scotty Mac, Jeff Cobb, Caleb Konley, Chris Bey, just to name a few.
Philip Jones: I want to play a word association game with you. This is where I name someone, and you describe them with the first thing that pops into your head.
Artemis Spencer – TW: Coach D
Eli Surge – TW: Big Match Jawn
Tyler Elliot – TW: Underappreciated
Nicole Matthews – TW: Chest Kicks and good at twitter
Judas Icarus – TW: Big Dumb Jude
Douglas James – TW: Round two?
David Star – TW: Round two too?
Philip Jones: How do you stay in shape for all of this? How often do you train in the ring?
Travis Williams: I work out four to five times a week in the gym and train two to three times per week in the ring. This doesn’t count the wrestling shows.
Philip Jones: If someone were to approach you and ask about becoming a professional wrestler, what would you advise.
Travis Williams: I would tell them to look up a local professional wrestling school and don’t be afraid to ask their favorite local wrestler where they started. There are plenty of options around the Pacific Northwest that have great reputations.
Philip Jones: Tell us about what it’s like to train at ECCW’s training school. What should someone expect when they start training?
Travis Williams: I may be a bit biased but… I think the ECCW training school is one of the very best. We are lucky enough to be trained by people like Artemis Spencer, Nicole Matthews and Tony Baroni, who all have a different and unique perspective.
Philip Jones: Are there any up and coming talent we should be watching out for? How about any wrestlers out there who just aren’t getting the attention they should?
Travis Williams: Some talent that I would say deserve more attention are Shareef Morrow, Tony Baroni, Erik Strange, Elliot Tyler, Liiza Hall, Billy Suede, Jacub Soumis, Eli Surge and Jacky Lee.
Philip Jones: Who are your biggest supporters?
Travis Williams: My biggest supporters are my family and girlfriend. They take time out of their lives to come support me at my shows and I am extremely grateful for that. As well as having close friends such as Judas Icarus, Elliot Tyler, Liiza Hall, Shareef Morrow and Eli Surge. We are constantly pushing each other to work harder and be better.
Philip Jones: Tell us something about yourself that few people know about you.
Travis Williams: I played football for ten years, Rugby for two years and did amateur wrestling for three. I have a small tree tattoo on my wrist, which me and my sister got for her sixteenth birthday based on the twins Dipper and Mable from the TV show Gravity Falls. Also, really into Brooklyn Nine Nine.
Philip Jones: Now to wrap this up, tell us your favorite Wrestling Themed move.
Travis Williams: I wouldn’t say I have a favorite, but one movie/documentary that I really enjoyed when I was younger and before I started wrestling was “Wrestling Road Diaries.” It was very cool to see the perspective of traveling independent wrestlers before I became one myself.
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I also had the opportunity to chat with one of Travis’ trainers, Tony Baroni. Those of you who are not familiar with this super talented individual should know he has been a distinguished talent hailing from Vancouver British Columbia. He’s been a staple at ECCW, one of the longest running promotions in the region and Vancouver Island Pro Wrestling.
Philip Jones: What are your thoughts on “Golden Boy” Travis Williams?
Tony Baroni: I think that he’s a fantastic wrestler especially for how long he has been working for. He treats the business and wrestlers with respect. He’s a fast learner and is hungry to learn as many styles as well as philosophies as he can. His future in professional wrestling can be anything he wants. He has all the tools to make it to the very top.
Philip Jones: He has crafted his gimmick very well.
Tony Baroni: He’s taken my old school values when it comes to story telling and blended it with the new school style.
Philip Jones: When did you know you had someone special on your hands?
Tony Baroni: I knew right away when I was training him that he was something special. Which is why when I was short a tag partner with Billy Suede in the Philippines, I didn’t hesitate to tell the ECCW booking team that I wanted him as my tag partner. Our 2nd time teaming was his 10th match and it was a 5 team ladder match for the ECCW tag belts. He didn’t seem out of place at all.
Philip Jones: Thank you so much for taking the time to let me ask you about Travis.
Tony Baroni: For sure, I could brag about my boy all day!
Travis is an intelligent, articulate young man. One has to be in order to pull off such a transition between Travis the person and the “Golden Boy.” He is an incredible talent in the ring, you can’t help but loath the “Golden Boy” Travis Williams. He was well crafted and developed to make you despise him, and the real Travis did an excellent job creating this gimmick. But don’t let his fantastic execution of portraying a spoiled, entitled, pretty boy fool you, he is a serious and gifted wrestler. He may not be the biggest guy in the ring, but he is fast! This guy can sure take a beating too, it is not every day we see a professional wrestler with as much endurance as Mr. Williams. He is very strategic in the ring as well, with well played feigns and some dubious tactics frequently employed to devastate his opponents. He has been underestimated many times, a flaw some of his opponents have paid for the hard way.
When I got the opportunity to approach some of his colleagues in the world of professional wrestling I encountered overwhelming respect for Travis. He is well thought of and many have spoken about how easy it is to work with him and what a joy it was when they had the opportunity. People behind the scenes and people who work with him in the ring have had great experiences working with him. There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Travis Williams is someone to watch. I doubt in twenty or thirty years when this young man is looking at retirement he will be retiring as a hobbyist wrestler. He’s going to retire at the top of the industry and his peers agree!
When you get to see the person behind the gimmick it is always a treat to find someone as genuine and kind as Travis. But don’t tell him I told you this and don’t expect to see that side of him at a show, and don’t be surprised if I end up paying for this article/interview in the near future in some way!
“Travis is the 1st person I had a singles match with. He’s always great to work with and knows how to get a reaction out of the audience every time he steps out from the curtain.” – Jet Knight, Professional Wrestler
“Travis has been one of my best friends since we met, his drive and his love for wrestling made him so easy to talk too. I hope nothing but the absolute best for him cause there is nobody quite like him.” – Tyler Elliot, Professional Wrestler
“Travis Williams has quickly become one of my favorite wrestlers to watch in the PNW. Not only is he incredible in the ring with his wrestling skills…his commitment to his character is unmatched. The Golden Boy is definitely one to watch.” – Steve Migs, “Local Celebrity,” Twitter Verified Champion, DEFY Ring Announcer, Radio Personality, Professional Wrestler, and soon to be a dad for the first time.
“Travis is a superstar in the making and has a golden future.” – The Weirdo Hero, Randy Myers, Professional Wrestler
“I’ve had the opportunity to be in the ring with Travis as both an opponent and a tag team partner. Each time I’ve come into the competition with the knowledge that there is no taking it easy with Travis. As an opponent he’ll push you to present yourself at a level higher than you thought possible, and as a partner he expects even more. Having traveled from coast to coast in Canada, and down the west coast of the United States, I can confidently say Travis is one of the most innovative and competent wrestlers I’ve come across; the moniker of Golden Boy couldn’t suit him better. He’s held multiple championships in singles and tag team competition. At 20 years old, he’s the youngest ECCW Canadian Champion in the history of the company.” – Eli Surge, Professional Wrestler
“Every time I share the ring with Travis, whether in training or in a match, I’m pushed to be better. He draws out the best qualities of the wrestlers he shares the ring with and he can also put on a spectacle of a match with the best in the business. In addition to his athleticism, creativity, crowd work, and character, his perfectionism and strive to be the best he can be is responsible for bringing him nothing but success. You can see he is in high demand in the PNW, specifically with how busy his schedule is and how many promotions in the region have him featured on their cards. On top of all this, none of this has gotten to his head and he is still humble and one of the nicest people you will ever meet.” – Jacky Lee, Professional Wrestler
Without A Cause: DJZ vs. “Golden Boy” Travis Williams
PWA Canada: Travis Williams vs. Krofton vs. Jacky Lee
PWA Canada: Artemis Spencer vs. “Golden Boy” Travis Williams
ECCW: Randy Myers vs. “Golden Boy” Travis Williams
Horror on Hastings: El Phantasmo vs. “Golden Boy” Travis Williams
PWA Canada: Nichole Matthews vs. Judas Icarus vs. Travis Williams
- All photographs used in this article were contributed by “Golden Boy” Travis Williams.