On Saturday night, in a strange collision of irony and circumstance, the former violence-glorifying wrestler added another role to his growing demo reel: Crime fighter.
This time, however, as Gaspard stepped inside the impromptu ring that was a Valero station in Coral Springs, Fla., the 35-year-old was playing himself — all 6 feet 7 and 285 pounds of him.
His real-life opponent: Jason Felix of North Lauderdale, Fla.
Height: 5 feet 8.
Weight: 140 pounds.
Chance of wining: Zero.
Gaspard was at the gas station’s “drink cooler” when he was approached by Felix, who told the hulking athlete to buy him a beer, according to an affidavit provided by Coral Springs police. When Gaspard refused to indulge the stranger’s demand, Felix reached into the front of his waistband and “brandished a black semiautomatic style handgun,” the affidavit states.
“Are you trying to rob me?” a witness overheard Gaspard say.
It was the equivalent of trying to hit a pro wrestler with a flying forearm smash.
Gaspard was furious — and made quick work of his unexpected opponent, according to the authorities.
“Fearing he was about to be robbed, the victim lunged at the defendant and grabbed the weapon in an attempt to disarm him,” police say.
The daring defensive tactic worked. The confrontation, captured on store surveillance cameras, occurred in seconds and seemed to end with Gaspard retrieving the weapon, calmly walking toward the front of the store and placing the gun on the clerk’s counter.
But Gaspard wasn’t finished with his opponent. (No compelling wrestling match is complete without a climactic smackdown, after all.)
Police say the Gaspard “grabbed” Felix and “escorted him outside where he was eventually detained on the ground with the help of witnesses.”
Authorities are being polite.
Surveillance footage shows Gaspard walking Felix outside, with his massive forearm wrapped around the suspect’s neck. The two men pause momentarily and then, without warning, Felix’s feet leave the ground as Gaspard body-slams him to the ground like a rag doll.
Though the recording is silent, one can imagine a crowd cheering right about then.
Felix, wisely, declines to stand up as he’s surrounded by witnesses who wait for authorities to arrive.
Police who recovered a semiautomatic firearm at the scene later determined it was an “air powered ‘BB’ gun,” according to the affidavit.
Felix faces one count of robbery, the affidavit states.
Gaspard, a Brooklyn native, was released from WWE in 2010. In recent years, the Miami Herald reported, he continued wrestling on independent circuits while appearing in films, including “Think Like a Man Too” and “Get Hard.”
“I don’t want to be just another big guy — all muscle and no hustle,” he said during a 2011 screen test posted on YouTube.
“I want to play dramatic roles; I want to play romantic roles,” he said.
But Gaspard added that he wasn’t against using his muscle, either: “I do want to be an action star and I do want to kick [butt] and take names.”