The NBC affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio recently spoke with hometown star Johnny Gargano to promote Saturday's WWE NXT live event at The Agora and Sunday's WWE Fastlane pay-per-view at The Q Arena. You can find their interview at this link and at this link.
Gargano talked about the NXT locker room being full of hungry underdogs, and compared them to the NFL's Cleveland Browns.
"I think NXT is kind of like the Cleveland, Ohio of professional wrestling," Gargano said. "We're that underdog whose hungry, who's always out to prove people wrong, and that's kind of what our locker room represents. We've got a bunch of guys who have been travelling around the world for over 10 years, scratching and clawing, fighting, just trying to live their dream, just trying to prove people wrong, just trying to show that we belong, and that's kind of the essence of NXT. We're young, we're hungry and we're ready to show the world that we're the best at what we do. We're kind of like the Cleveland Browns right now."
Gargano also revealed an "unspoken competition" in the NXT locker room to put on the best match of the card, and to give fans the moments that become lasting memories. While the main roster Superstars shoot for a "WrestleMania Moment" in their careers, Gargano revealed that "The Takeover Moment" is a thing in the black & yellow locker room.
"We're all out to set our best foot forward and to make NXT the best we possibly can, but at the end of the day, we all want to have the best match," Gargano said. "It's an incredibly talented locker room filled with guys that are able to go out and steal the show at any given notice. You kind of look at our Takeovers, and there's five main events. Like every, single match is a main event, which is pretty crazy when you think about it. It's unspoken, but all of us go out there and we try to give the people their money's worth and nothing will stop us from doing that. I said before 'Halftime Heat' that NXT will put on a show like you've never seen before, and that's what we always set out to do."
He continued, "I was on Raw (Monday) night on a red carpet with Shawn Michaels for Ric Flair's 70th birthday party, and we were talking about how he is 'Mr. WrestleMania,'" Gargano said. "'He's Mr. WrestleMania, and I'm Mr. Takeover,' and I take great pride in being 'Mr. Takeover.' It's something that's not pressure. It's not something that's too big. It's something that I see and every, single Takeover, I'm like, 'I'm going to give the people something they never forget, and yeah, NXT, man, it holds a special place in my heart."
Gargano also talked about making his main roster debut on the recent RAW with NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa for the non-title win over RAW Tag Team Champions The Revival, and then the SmackDown win over The Bar the next night. Gargano said he was at his mother's home in Cleveland when he got the call just a few days before RAW.
"I was actually in Cleveland when I got the call that I was going to be on Raw and SmackDown," Gargano recalled. "I was at my mom's house and it was in the morning. They said, 'Hey, you're going to be on Raw and SmackDown in a couple days,' which is pretty crazy. It seems like all of my biggest life events happen when I'm actually at home in Cleveland, around my family. I was there for my dad's 77th birthday party, so I got to go to his party later that night and say, 'Hey, I'm going to be on Raw and SmackDown in a couple days.' It's super cool, man. I know I've used the word, 'cool' a lot, but I'm still just a kid from Cleveland, and life is just cool."