Backstage WWE Reaction To Johnny Gargano And Candice LeRae's Return

WWE officials are reportedly thrilled to have Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae back with the company.

According to Fightful Select, the veteran wrestling couple "maintained a good relationship" with WWE throughout their free agency period, with one source noting that Gargano remained on good terms with WWE even after he decided to turn down a contract extension with the promotion in December 2021.


The report added that Gargano communicated to WWE that he "would return on his time frame" and WWE higher-ups "were happy to follow that" and respect Gargano's wishes. 

Furthermore, several "NXT" sources told Fightful that Gargano handled his exit from the company with "incredible professionalism," emphasizing that he "went out of his way" to work with and help younger talents such as Austin Theory and Indi Hartwell, while also helping establish Dexter Lumis. Gargano reportedly "took pride" in trying to help The Way get over as a stable, and this was well known backstage since he had decided to take a break from wrestling nearly a year before his WWE deal expired.

For what it's worth, it was never a foregone conclusion that Gargano & LeRae were returning to WWE. According to Fightful's sources, the veteran wrestlers were talking to several of "the major companies" in the month prior to Gargano's WWE return, though it's unknown if they ever intended to go elsewhere. While there was no mention of a possible jump to AEW, the report added that IMPACT Wrestling "didn't seem to be a serious consideration" for the wrestling couple. 


When Vince McMahon announced his retirement in July, several sources within WWE indicated to Fightful that "they felt way more confident" that Gargano was on his way back to the company. They added that Triple H taking over McMahon's duties "was a tipping point that accelerated the move" of Gargano's comeback. However, there was reported interest in bringing Gargano to WWE's main roster even prior to the Triple H-led regime.  

This past Friday on "WWE SmackDown," Gargano & Kevin Owens rescued Drew McIntyre from a 3-on-1 attack at the hands of Austin Theory & Alpha Academy, setting up a Six-Man main event bout for later on the show. Gargano & Owens recently reunited on WWE TV years after they teamed up on the indies as The Panda Express.

Meanwhile, LeRae will be in action against Damage CTRL's Dakota Kai on this week's "WWE Raw" a week after her debut victory over Nikki A.S.H.