Tributes Pour in for Matt Travis — Pro Wrestler Who Became 28th Cyclist Killed this Year

Matt Travis in his Twitter profile pic.
Matt Travis in his Twitter profile pic.

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.”

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.

Candles outside Matt Travis's Bronx apartment on Monday. Photo: Julianne Cuba
Candles outside Matt Travis’s Bronx apartment on Monday. Photo: Julianne Cuba

“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.

Fellow wrestler Faye Jackson added:

Another wrestler, Amazing Red, who may have also trained Travis, posted what appeared to be an impromptu memorial for Travis at the crash site.

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.

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.