Martin Rodriguez, 53, a professional wrestler known as “Espantito” or “The Terror,” was known for entertaining crowds with his humor and stunts. The father of two was well-recognized in the ring and a beloved City Heights neighbor, but his last battle was one with COVID-19.
“He was a luchador for lucha libre,” said his daughter, Barbara Rodriguez.
Barbara said her father began wrestling at the age of 18. For decades his stunts would capture audiences around the world. He was part of Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide in Mexico and freelanced across other leagues in the United States and Canada.
“I’m missing everything about him. I’m missing his jokes and the way he makes people laugh, the way he’s so spontaneous,” said Barbara. “Just everything about him.”
Martin was a fighter to the end. His daughter said his legacy will live with her forever, and she’ll never forget what he taught her: that anything you set your mind to is possible.
“He came in as an undocumented teenager with no job, no future, but he died a star,” she said. “With school, family and as a nationalized citizen, so it’s possible.”