JTG recently caught up with GOW Media 216 where he reflected on being paired up with Shad Gaspard for the first time during their careers in OVW.
“Shad had just finished a television segment, locally, with CM Punk and they were like, ‘what’s next for Shad?’ Then me and my tag team partner, because before Shad and I were a team, my original partner was Abraham Washington. He was having some personal issues and the owner of OVW, Danny Davis, Paul Heyman, and Al Snow were like, ‘this kid has a lot of talent, a lot of charisma, he has a good look, we just need to figure out what to do with him.’ I guess it just popped in their head to put me with Shad and they asked Shad and we had a great relationship and was like, ‘yeah, he’s cool, let’s see if it works.’”
The two of them then worked together doing some vignettes which is what caught the eye of Vince McMahon, with the WWE Chairman finding the pair funny.
“We hit it off and it worked and the next thing you know a few weeks later after that, me being teamed up with Shad for a few weeks, I wouldn’t even say it was a month, we did some vignettes for OVW and those vignettes was the gem that got me hired. Vince McMahon never saw me wrestle, he didn’t know if I could wrestle or not, he just knows that me and Shad had great chemistry on-screen and he was like, ‘these guys are funny. They just beat up the guy at the ATM, beat up the cop from the donut shop that’s hilarious we want that on Raw.’”
JTG then reflected on how Vince McMahon demanded that they got brought up to Monday Night Raw, with this being the moment that he was officially signed with WWE.
“He was like, ‘let’s bring them up to Raw,’ and they were like, ‘well, the big one is signed, but the little one is not under contract,’ and he said, ‘well sign him.’ I got the call, and I hit the floor running after that.”
While fans all know him best as JTG, that wasn’t actually his original name with the company. He spoke about the first name that he was given by Paul Heyman, which was one he was happy to switch at the first available opportunity.
“Before I got on OVW television, Paul Heyman pulled me to the side and was like, ‘we got a name for you’ and I was like, ‘I already have a name,’ but at that time I’m not really going to argue with Paul Heyman, he’s giving me an opportunity so I’m just listening. He said, ‘we’re going to call you the Neighborhoodie. You’re from the neighborhood, and you’re in a hoodie, put them together you’re the Neighborhoodie.’ I just looked at him and said, ‘yes, I love it.’ But, in the back of my head, I’m like, ‘what, my name is JTG who didn’t tell him my name is JTG, but whatever.’ I ran with it, but as soon as I had the opportunity to change it I switched that thing.”
If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit GOW Media 216, with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcriptions.