Matt Travis, an up-and-coming pro wrestler competing on the independent circuit, died on November 9, 2019, when he was struck by a dump truck while riding his bicycle in New York City, his family and friends say. According to NBC New York, the 25-year-old wrestler, whose full name was Matthew Travis Palacios, was riding his bike in East Harlem early Saturday when a dump truck driver made an illegal turn and hit him. He was taken to Harlem Hospital and was pronounced dead.
Travis has been pursuing a professional wrestling career since 2016, training at the House of Glory wrestling school in Queens, New York, and competing at events for House of Glory Wrestling, Game Changer Wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling around the northeast. Game Changer Wrestling tweeted, “R.I.P. Matt Travis A passionate, rising star with a big heart and a world of potential. You will be missed ?”
CZW added in a tweet, “CZW is heartbroken to learn of Matt Travis’ tragic passing. He will always be considered part of the Combat Zone family and we send our deepest condolences and love to everyone lucky enough to know him. RIP Matt.”
Nieves was planning to take part in a wrestling match Saturday night.
Matt Travis Was in a Bike Lane When the Truck Driver Struck & Killed Him, Police Say
According to the NYPD, Matt Travis was riding his bike south on a bicycle path coming off of the Willis Avenue Bridge in East Harlem about 2:30 a.m. when a Kenworth dump truck driver traveling south on 1st Avenue made an illegal left turn onto East 125th Street. The driver was attempting to turn onto the bridge, police said. The driver struck Travis, causing severe injuries. He was rushed to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead there.
The driver fled from the scene and has not been identified, police said. The truck was last seen traveling north on the Willis Avenue Bridge. According to NBC New York, Travis is the 28th cyclist to be killed in traffic crashes in New York City in 2019.
A memorial to Travis was set up at the scene of the crash:
“This is very unfortunate you know, he was a good kid, he didn’t deserve this,” Shaina Alvarez, Travis’ cousin said, told CBS New York.
Alvarez said Travis was riding his bike as part of his training for an upcoming match.
“This is not going to go quietly, I want to bring a lot of awareness so that this doesn’t happen to anybody else,” Yolanda Nieves, Travis’ mother, told CBS New York. Alvarez added, “It says no left turn, so for these people to do it no matter what time it was and they left him there like that, it doesn’t make any sense.”
Nieves told CBS New York the family is hoping the driver will be caught. “I hope that you, when you close your eyes and go to sleep at night, you see my son’s lifeless body that you left on the street. I hope that haunts you for the rest of your life,” Nieves told the news station.
Travis, a Bronx Native, Recently Told Vice That Wrestling Was His ‘Lifeline’
Matt Travis was born Matthew Travis Palacios in the Bronx, New York. He was profiled by Vice in January 2019 about his attempt to make it in the pro wrestling world. “Wrestling is my lifeline,” he told Vice. “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.”
Travis began his pro wrestling career in 2016 with a fight at CZW Dojo Wars 97 in New Jersey. He has since competed in more than 20 matches in CZW, HOG and GCW.
He Is Being Mourned by Others in the Wrestling Community & His Family & Friends in New York City
Along with his family and friends in New York City, Matt Travis is being mourned by those in the pro wrestling world. Amazing Red, a pro wrestler and promoter who founded the House of Glory wrestling school where Travis trained, tweeted, “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.”
Big Cuzzo, another indie wrestler in the New York City area, wrote on Instagram, “Its been less than 24hrs ago since i found out about the accident. And I’m honestly still in a loss of words right now. This man was one of the few people that I randomly trained with as i first started in wrestling. He’s givien me a lots of advice and will always show up to Different promotions on his bike to support other wrestlers. He was always very confident in himself but also stayed extremely humble. Which is one of the reasons why I looked up to him. THIS MAN WAS A STAR! The independent wrestling world is that a standstill right now and I just hope that we can all just come together and celebrate the life of Matthew Travis.”
Santana and Ortiz, a tag team known as Proud N’ Powerful, dedicated their match Saturday at AEW Wrestling’s “Full Gear” to Travis. Santana tweeted, “Love you bro. Tonight is for you. ??”
Indie wrestler Faye Jackson tweeted, “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.”
Impact wrestler Sami Callihan tweeted, “Just read about the passing of Matt Travis and I’m absolutely crushed. Every time I ran into Matt he was humble, hungry, and had unlimited potential. On top of all of that he was an amazing dude. Thoughts and prayers to all of his friends and family. Heartbreaking.”
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