This past weekend saw many wrestlers and fans attend Shad Gaspard's beach memorial service to mourn and send their tributes. JTG was on Lillian Garcia's Chasing Glory podcast where he discussed the night he got a call from Shad's wife about him going missing.
"Siliana called me Sunday night," JTG said. "I was getting ready to go to bed, and she called me from Shad's phone, which when Shad calls me, I pick up on first, second ring. We speak to each other everyday. We text and speak on the phone everyday, but he called me that evening, and it was his wife. His wife had told me that Shad was missing. The first thing I thought was it was a prank because we always pranked each other. That's Shad and I's relationship. We roasted each other. We pulled pranks on each other, and that's the first thing that came to mind, but for some reason, in the tone of her voice, if that was real, then she's a good actress.
"I said I'm gonna go along with it. I went to the shower, brushed my teeth and rushed over there, and then we were on the beach with flashlights looking for Shad. We were there for a few hours so it was a little past midnight. I think that day I accepted it. I had to accept it. I was waiting for a big bear hug from behind like, 'hey, I got ya.' Part of me is still waiting for that big bear hug from behind."
JTG noted how close he was with Shad and his family. He also revealed that the majority of the pictures and videos on his phone are of him and Shad.
"It definitely helped me during this time. 80 percent of my phone is pictures and videos of Shad and me," JTG revealed. "We were more than tag team partners. We were friends. Then eventually we were just brothers like his son is my nephew. His wife, I consider her my sister-in-law. We were just tight."
JTG said that he and Shad were hanging out weeks prior and celebrated life with each other while drinking beers. JTG discussed how Shad loved his life and the positive outlook he had.
"It was three weeks ago. We just finished working out. He was dropping me home, and he's like, 'let's not go home yet. Let's hang out.' I'm was on the fence about, but I'm like yeah, let's go hang out. Nothing was open because of the whole COVID situation, so we were just gonna walk," JTG said. "We went to CVS, and I'm not a big drinker, but he wanted to do some drinking and talk. Since I didn't want to do it, we always meet each other in the middle. We're gonna get alcohol. I'll let you pick the beer. I know he likes Corona. I didn't see any Corona. You know what? Let's get those mango beers.
"We got some mango beers. We got one case. I think it was six in a case, and I'm only gonna drink like two. He's like, 'there's six here. Let's drink three each.' Alright, and we walked for hours. We were just reminiscing and celebrating life. We were talking about how happy we were. It's just something that we did usually. When we travel together, he talked about how happy he was. He talked about he was with his family to be at home to do what he loves. That day, we didn't know, it was kind of like our last celebration just talking about how good we have it. We live in LA. He gets to go to the beach when he wants to with his son, teaching his son how to box. He's pushing these projects that he has. He's getting a lot of positive feedback. He talked about how much he loved his wife, playing video games with his son. Being at home, people look at this quarantine situation as a negative. We're over here enjoying it. We have our mask on, taking it down and sipping beers."
The tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna affected Shad deeply, JTG stated. On social media, he shared the text exchange between them, which he discussed with Garcia.
"He sent me a text, and he's like, 'if I die tomorrow, if anything happens to me, just know I love you past this life.'," JTG said. "It was deep, but because of our relationship, when one person's deep, the other person tries to make light of it, make a joke. So I said, 'I love you too brotha,' and I put a hashtag. I don't wanna say it because it's kind of inappropriate. In Brooklyn, if you said something that was sentimental, you said something along the lines of 'pause'. So if I said, Shad those are some nice shorts. Let me see the back. Does it have a zipper? But I have to say pause so he doesn't take it the wrong way."
There is currently a GoFund Me to help support Shad's family. A big donation was made to the page, and there is speculation that John Cena was the person that made the big donation. JTG believes that Cena was the person that made the donation, and he talked about how Cena helped them while they were a tag team together.
"I don't know. I can't 100 percent confirm, but I'm 99.9% percent sure," JTG said. "T here was a donation for $40,000. The person they said donated the money was 'CTC RIP,' and CTC was a faction between Cryme Time and John Cena in 2008. That was the most fun I've ever had in the WWE was teaming with John Cena because I learned so much," JTG said. "Shad and I were doing rookie mistakes every night. We had no clue and then teaming with him and making little, small changes.
"I remember, for example, there was something that I would do before I start the match. I would go to the crowd. I would lean over and say, 'let's get this started. Let's get it poppin,' just to get a reaction. John tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'don't ever do that again. Don't do that tomorrow,' and I'm like OK? And then he explained to me why. You don't need them to validate you in the beginning. You don't go to them for validation. You let them validate you, just be you."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Chasing Glory with Lillian Garcia with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.