Shad Gaspard: A Hero’s Journey Ends at Age 39

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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.

Photo: WWE

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.

JTG and Shad Gaspard as Cryme Time (Photo: 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.

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