Kris Travis, who won the championship in the 2012 first anniversary show, died yesterday morning after a second diagnosis of stomach cancer.
Steven Fludder, owner of Preston City Wrestling (PCW), said: “We had good times, he was a crazy guy!
“He was probably one of our most popular wrestlers.
“He was really charismatic and everything you wanted in a wrestler - all the women wanted him and all the fella’s admired him.
“There was a charm about him, he was a happy mix between arrogant and cheeky.”
Although he famously disliked travelling, over four years Kris would regularly make the journey from his home in Sheffield to Preston to take on the likes of fledgling WWE Superstars Kevin Owens and Finn Bálor as well as T-Bone, Chris Masters and Noam Dar.
He was equally well-known for his love of after-parties and leaving wires for his hair straightners dangerously around wrestling arenas.
Steven said: “Backstage Kris was loved by all so for all his faults we could not dislike him in any way, regardless of the amount of times he used to be late and show up half was through a show.”
Kris was first diagnosed with cancer in January 2015 and PCW raised £15,000 for him to take care of his bills at a special fight night.
He managed to battle back to get the all-clear and a come-back match was held in Preston last August.
“It was shortly after that he began to experience symptoms of the cancer again”, said Steven.
“He was forced to retire in September and then was told it was terminal. He got married about a month ago because he knew it wasn’t good.
“But we’re all shocked, everyone’s on my Facebook page, writing their memories of him.
“He was the best talent of recent years the UK produced that never ended up in the WWE.
“Illness aside I think that is exactly where he would be right now if in good health continuing his battles with Finn Balor in NXT.
“We all miss him already. Kris Travis was a fighter right until the end and always in good spirits even with a terminal illness.”
Sunday’s 7pm PCW at Preston’s Evoque nightclub will be dedicated to Kris, with Steven preparing a special commemoration.