Billy Travis
Billy "Joe" Travis in 1997
Birth nameGary Keith Mize
Born(1961-04-29)April 29, 1961
Richmond, Kentucky
DiedNovember 23, 2002(2002-11-23) (aged 41)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Billy Travis
Billy Joe Travis
B.T. Express
Trained byDale Mann

Gary Keith Mize (April 29, 1961 – November 23, 2002), better known by his ring name Billy Travis or Billy Joe Travis, was an American professional wrestler. He is most known for his time in Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) and the United States Wrestling Association (USWA) holding several tag team championships over the years.

Professional wrestling career

Mize grew up watching wrestling and was trained by MWA Championship Wrestling owner and promoter Dale Mann for his professional wrestling career and began working for MWA in 1981 as a face (wrestling term for those that portray the "good guys") known as Billy Travis. When wrestling under the Billy Travis moniker, he teamed up with Mike Mann, forming a tag team known collectively as the Southern Sensations, a team that won the MWA Tag Team Championship.

In 1984 he began working in the Memphis, Tennessee area for the Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) and later on worked for the World Wrestling Federation, both places gaining experience while losing to established stars. In 1985 he returned to the CWA, working as "Billy Joe Travis", adopting a conceited, egotistical heel ("bad guy") ring character. Travis teamed up with Ron Sexton to form a team known as "Hot Property", the young duo was paired up with veteran Buddy Wayne to act as their manager. Travis also briefly teamed with Norvell Austin during the summer of 1985 as he worked a storyline feud with The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane and Steve Keirn). In 1986 he started working as a singles wrestler for Texas USA All-Star Wrestling, working storylines opposite Al Madril, Lord Jonathon Boyd and Big Bubba.

In 1987 Travis returned to Memphis, this time with Frank Morell as his mentor. During his stint in the CWA he teamed with another young wrestler, Jeff Jarrett forming a very popular team that won the AWA Southern Tag Team Championship three times. He would also win the International Championship from Austin Idol and worked an extended storyline against Phil Hickerson. Travis and a rookie Scott Steiner won the CWA Tag Team Championship twice. Travis would suffer from drug abuse around this time, which ruined his professional reputation, but he continued to work in several smaller promotions. He gained notoriety in 1997 while working for the USWA, where he was arrested when his ex-wife was reportedly seeking overdue child support payments and had tipped off Memphis police that Travis would be on location for Saturday tapings at the WMC TV studios in Memphis. Police took this tip seriously and were actually on the scene when Travis arrived. This arrest was enough for Jerry Lawler, the booker, to turn this arrest into a storyline.[1] Travis continued wrestling after this incident, but never experienced break-out success. He retired in 1999.

In 2001, he returned to wrestling and had his last match on July 26, 2002, losing to Jerry Lawler.

Personal life

Mize graduated from Madison Central High School in 1979. His mother was Bonnie Todd, who worked for Eastern Kentucky University, and his stepfather was Walter Todd, part owner of a local funeral home in Richmond, Kentucky.


Mize died of an apparent heart attack on November 23, 2002, shortly after arriving at his mother's home in Kentucky; attempts by paramedics to revive him were unsuccessful.[2]

Championships and accomplishments

See also


  1. ^ Grooms, Nicholas (2016-12-29). "Moments in Wrestling History: "The Billy Joe Travis Arrest: USWA 1997"". Retrieved 2021-05-19.
  2. ^ " Message Board: Billy Travis Dead?". Retrieved 2021-07-22.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Billy Travis". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  4. ^ Duncan, Royal; Will, Gary (2006) [2000.]. "(Memphis, Nashville) Tennessee: Southern Tag Team Title [Roy Welsch & Nick Gulas, Jerry Jarrett from 1977]". Wrestling title histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Waterloo, Ontario: Archeus Communications. pp. 185–189. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  5. ^ "Southern Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  6. ^ Hoops, Brian (May 11, 2015). "On this day in pro wrestling history (May 11): Von Erichs vs. Verne & Don Leo Jonathan, Shane Douglas vs 2 Cold Scorpio". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  7. ^ "Championship Wrestling Association Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  8. ^ "Power Pro Wrestling Tag Team Title". Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  9. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated 500 – 1993: 139 Billy Joe Travis". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, United States: Sports and Entertainment publications LLC. September 23, 1993. p. 42. October 1993.
  10. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "(Memphis, Nashville) Tennessee: UWA Heavyweight Title [Jerry Lawler, Jerry Jarrett]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. pp. 198–200. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  11. ^ Duncan, Royal; Gary Will (2006). "(Memphis, Nashville) Memphis: USWA Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. pp. 200–202. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  12. ^ Duncan, Royal; Gary Will (2006). "Puerto Rico: WWC Junior Heavyweight Title [Carlos Colon]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  13. ^ Duncan, Royal; Gary Will (2006). "Puerto Rico: WWC Tag Team Title [Carlos Colon]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.