Tributes Pour in for Matt Travis — Pro Wrestler Who Became 28th Cyclist Killed this Year
Fans and friends of professional wrestler Matt Travis have been filling social media with tributes to the much-liked grappler since the 25-year-old was fatally struck by a reckless hit-and-run dump truck driver early Saturday morning.
Police have not officially released Travis’s name or address pending notification of his family, but friends indeed already know — and are making sure the world knows more about the wrestler with the braids who competed for Game Changer Wrestling and trained at the House of Glory in Queens.
On Twitter, the league called Travis “a passionate rising star with a big heart and a world of potential.”
R.I.P. Matt Travis
A passionate, rising star with a big heart and a world of potential
You will be missed ? pic.twitter.com/LT5fhpugVP
— GameChangerWrestling (@GCWrestling_) November 10, 2019
Travis, whose real name was Matthew Palacios, was interviewed earlier this year by Vice, which described him as a good guy living with his mom in Mott Haven.
“Wrestling is my lifeline,” he told the magazine. “Every night I come home and hear how someone got shot… like, what if I’m next? But with wrestling I feel like, finally, I have a shot.”
It didn’t take a bullet to kill Matt Travis. It took a 10,000-pound dump truck. According to police, Travis was coasting down the Willis Avenue bridge bike path at around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, intending to continue across 125th Street — but a dump truck on a service road parallel to the bridge made an illegal left turn onto 125th Street and then another left onto the bridge, hitting Travis in the process.
The dump truck driver kept on going, heading into the Bronx. Cops say they are looking for the driver, but have released no additional information.
For now, the wrestling world is filling the void inside the emptier squared circle.
Shocked & saddened to hear about the death of Matt Travis. A talented, charismatic wrestler who was finally starting to break out, but also a really nice, thoughtful guy from my experience. RIP, dude. I'm sure your finding plenty of people to kick in he face wherever you are.
— David Bixenspan (@davidbix) November 10, 2019
Sad to hear the news of matt travis he was a great guy in the ring saw him at @combatzone wish i could have seen him @HOGwrestling #rip #MBK #hog
— arieslopez (@arieslopez) November 10, 2019
Fellow wrestler Faye Jackson added:
I am HURT about Matt Travis. His passion matched my passion for this business. His love matched my love for this.
When we argued, we argued out of love. We believed in each other. We pushed each other.
My condolences to his family. This is a huge lost to the NYC community.
— Faye Jackson (@fayejackson419) November 10, 2019
Another wrestler, Amazing Red, who may have also trained Travis, posted what appeared to be an impromptu memorial for Travis at the crash site.
I just can't.
I don't understand life sometimes.
I'm gonna try and pull it together for you today.
I just want to see you! Talk to you!
I'm sorry. I love you Matty pic.twitter.com/LoZhbitbjX
— ??????? R?D (@AmazingRed1) November 9, 2019
On his own Twitter account, Travis described himself as a “diamond in the dirt; raw and uncut.”
“Coming out the gutter, South Bronx concrete jungle baby; Young Capo of NYC: entrepreneur in the making,” he wrote.
AHH!! @MATT___TRAVIS with a shooting star press off a van!! #GCW #GCW5150 @GCWrestling_
— Kayden (@KVR216) July 14, 2019
The tributes show that Travis was seen by many as a rising star in his profession, but they only underscore that every death on a New York City street takes away someone who was central to a group of people — perhaps a community of bicycle messengers or restaurant workers or students or artists. Every death leaves our world a little bit more empty.
“It feels like the very fabric of New York becomes frayed with each of these losses,” tweeted Doug Gordon.
Like a lot of people killed on our streets this year, Matt Travis was a New Yorker in the prime of his life, passionate about what he did, admired by many and poised for success. It feels like the very fabric of New York becomes frayed with each of these losses. https://t.co/jMnPE0nS9I
— Doug Gordon (@BrooklynSpoke) November 10, 2019