In tragic news that many hoped would turn out for the better, it appears that former WWE Superstar Shad Gaspard, one half of the tag team Cryme Time, has drowned after being caught in a riptide while swimming with his son on Sunday in Marina del Rey, California. Gaspard made sure lifeguards saved his son before being swept away. Search parties continued for days, but on Wednesday his body was found confirming everyone’s worst fears – Shad Gaspard had drowned. He was 39-years old.
The body of 39-year-old former WWE star Shad Gaspard is found on a California beach three days after he went missing during a swim with his son https://t.co/dQ0vNFeBz3
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) May 20, 2020
Shad Gaspard was a tough man and it appeared early in his life. In 1997, at only 16 years old, he was recruited by former WCW wrestler Hardbody Harrison to compete in MMA fights and boxing events, where he reportedly amassed a record of 35-7 as a no holds barred fighter. His toughness caught the attention of big stars, and he became a bodyguard for the likes of Mike Tyson, Diddy, and Britney Spears. In 2002, he decided to turn his attention to pro wrestling.
In 2002, he auditioned for WWE’s Tough Enough 2, but failed a physical near the announcement of the 13 finalists and had to be replaced. Dr. Tom Pritchard, who was working as a talent scout for WWE at the time, suggested Shad get some proper training, sending him to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), which had begun working as one of WWE’s developmental operations in 1999. Named Da Beast, he debuted for OVW in August of 2003. While in OVW, he joined their biggest stable, “Starmaker” Kenny Bolin‘s Bolin Services as Bolin’s enforcer. He soon found himself paired with a WWE developmental wrestler Carlos Colón Jr. (who would go on to become Carlito). When Carlito was called up to the WWE in 2004, Da Beast would return to his real name and he would become a fixture with OVW until finally being signed by WWE to a developmental deal in 2005.
In 2006, he began working with another OVW talent in The Neighborhoodie to form the tag team, The Gang Stars, capturing the OVW Southern Tag Team Championships in May of that year. The duo worked so well, that the pair was brought up to the WWE that September, renamed as Cryme Time, with The Neighbourhoodie being repackaged as JTG. While the team was instantly inserted into the Raw tag team division, their time in WWE was mostly unproductive, and in September of 2007, they were both released by WWE.
The departure was brief, and in March of 2008, the duo was rehired and immediately reinserted into a feud with Trevor Murdoch & Lance Cade, the same team they were in the midst of an angle with when they were released only six months earlier. This time, Cryme Time found themselves in bigger angles, appearing alongside John Cena in his feud against JBL. In April of 2010, Shad turned on JTG and the two were set in a singles direction, but after singles matches against JTG and Goldust, Shad Gaspard was sent to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) to work on a repackaging that never came. After five months in FCW, Shad was released by WWE in October of 2010.
Since their releases, Shad and JTG have continued to reunite as Cryme Time, working many US independents together. In 2018, they made their debut with Joey Ryan‘s Bar Wrestling in California and in 2019 debuted with Game Changer Wrestling (GCW), where they fought the tandem of Jimmy Lloyd & Tony Deppen in March of 2019. Cryme Time was also the current reigning tag team champions for VIP Wrestling in Dallas, Texas.
Shad Gaspard continued to make a name for himself outside of pro wrestling following his WWE departure in 2010, working various roles in film and television from acting to stunt work. His last filmed work was stunt work on January’s DC Comics film, Birds of Prey. He also worked in video games, doing the motion capture for Bane in the 2016 game Batman: The Enemy Within and for Kratos in 2018’s edition of God of War. His toughness, combined with his huge heart, also made him a real-life hero in 2016, when he prevented an armed robbery at a Florida convenience store. His hero status was only upgraded when he selflessly chose his son’s saving over his own this past Sunday night.
LWOPW sends its sincere condolences to the entire Gaspard family, his friends, peers, and colleagues. Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.
WWE is saddened to learn that former WWE Superstar Shad Gaspard has passed away at the age of 39. https://t.co/ngyuRpkjps
— WWE (@WWE) May 20, 2020
— OVW Wrestling (@ovwrestling) May 20, 2020
The National Wrestling Alliance sends its deepest sympathies to the friends, family and fans of Shad Gaspard.
Our industry is in mourning as we all remember and honor this great man.#RIPSHAD
— NWA (@nwa) May 20, 2020
Shad Gaspard had a HUGE heart. He was like an annoying little brother at times. We often gave eachother a hard time, but always with love! He always had a big smile on his face and was ready to share a laugh! I have… https://t.co/YC1VaiEAoi
— MVP (@The305MVP) May 18, 2020
My prayers and hope for Shad Gaspard’s wife, son and family during this unthinkable time. Man, this is a tough one. A really tough one.
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) May 20, 2020
Very sorry & sad to hear about the disappearance of @Shadbeast today. He was a fun cat and I always had a blast working with him. This clip is from a title match that @wwethebigshow & I had vs #ShadGaspard &… https://t.co/m4URn9IlxD
— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) May 18, 2020
RIP Shad Gaspard
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) May 20, 2020
💔 Shad. Real life hero.
— Cathy Kelley (@catherinekelley) May 20, 2020
— KALISTO (manny) (@KalistoWWE) May 20, 2020
Deeply saddened by the news today regarding Shad Gaspard. I feel so bad for his family and close friends. He was a good man, a fun loving guy.
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) May 20, 2020
THE SHAD GASPARD I LOVE YOU FOREVER
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) May 18, 2020
My Love, Thoughts, Prayers and Support Go out to The Family of Shad Gaspard. Nothing will ever Fix the loss of a loved one. As a Universe We owe it to ourselves and to others to Be a Positive Light in this world as long as we can Because Nothing is Ever Guaranteed. #RIPSHAD ❤️🙏🏿
— Titus O'Neil (@TitusONeilWWE) May 20, 2020
The world has lost a wonderful human being. Shad Gaspard was a true HERO in every sense of the word. I’m keeping his family and loved ones in my prayers right now. We love you, Shad. pic.twitter.com/JaX6Ebk9LF
— NattieByNature (@NatbyNature) May 20, 2020
"Don’t worry about being a big star, just focus on knowing your craft so you can be the best you can be, everything else will just fall into place" – Shad Gaspard pic.twitter.com/pui1Candmm
— Brian Pillman Jr. (@FlyinBrianJr) May 20, 2020
Along with everyone else, I hoped that Shad would make it home safe. Rest In Peace, Shad Gaspard, knowing that your son is alive because of your sacrifice.
— Christopher Daniels (@facdaniels) May 20, 2020
I don’t know that this matters. But I feel compelled and very honored to do so. I’m dedicating my performance in this Saturdays Casino Ladder Match to Shad Gaspard and his family. A friend, gentleman and hero the likes we should all aspire to be. 🖤 pic.twitter.com/wa0cQpd7PL
— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) May 20, 2020
— El Consigliere (@KennyKingPb2) May 20, 2020
Thinking of Shad Gaspard and his family. ❤
— Nick Aldis (@RealNickAldis) May 18, 2020
This news about Shad Gaspard is just heartbreaking …… 🙏
— Bill Goldberg (@Goldberg) May 18, 2020
one of my favorite videos of shad and mvp celebrating kofi’s wwe championship win.
this story ab shad gaspard is upsetting and i’m hoping there’s something good that comes from it. one of my childhood favorites. pic.twitter.com/u6d7fHJPrI
— sauceewah (@thejoshuatonga) May 18, 2020