Details On How Close Johnny Gargano And Candice LeRae Came To Signing With AEW

Johnny Gargano shocked the wrestling world this week by making his return to WWE on "WWE Raw." The move caught some fans off-guard as may believed Garganop would be AEW-bound after rejecting a WWE contract offer in 2021. But, according to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Tony Khan's company decided not to heavily pursue Gargano, despite the fact there were those in AEW who were interested in the former "NXT" Champion.

Gargano originally left WWE back in December 2021 in order to focus on being a father — the decision was likely helped by the fact that "NXT" was undergoing changes and his main roster "run" under Vince McMahon had been both brief and underwhelming. Gargano had openly spoken about his desire to wrestle Kenny Omega, and the AEW style seemed to be a perfect match for his own. As a result, Gargano was strongly considering AEW at that time, but he instead ended up back in WWE after former "NXT" guru Paul "Triple H" Levesque took charge of creative.

Candice LeRae, Gargano's wife, also left WWE after her contract expired, but giving birth to her son has rendered her unable to wrestle in the time since. According to WON, there was also interest in LeRae from AEW, but it's unclear how hard the company pushed or what her current status would even be in regards to wrestling. Whether LeRae has either the ability or the inclination to return to the ring, or whether WWE is interested in bringing her back alongside Gargano, remains unknown.

Gargano's current deal is reportedly more lucrative than anything he has made previously in his wrestling career, and his strong relationship with Levesque is well known, as Gargano had been booked as a top star in "NXT" for several years.