In a segment filmed from their home, Candice LeRae debuted a new look signaling a new kind of partnership with her husband Gargano. Gargano spoke with ViBe & Wrestling about where he gets his inspiration from and his excitement with where he and LeRae are taking their characters.
"I take inspiration from everywhere. As a performer, I can't help if I'm watching a movie or a TV show, if I'm listening to a song or something out in society, I take everything from everywhere.
"I can't watch a show without saying, 'oh, that's a good idea for a character or a promo.' I take ideas from where I possibly can, but where do I see this new character going? I think it's going to be something completely different than anything that I've done in the past," Gargano said. "I think it's going to be something new, something fresh, something exciting. I'm personally really excited for it. My creative juices are flowing. [Candice and I] are chomping at the bit to get to work and show the world what we've been dreaming up, what we've been imagining here."
WrestleMania weekend saw multiple cinematic style matches with the Boneyard Match, the Firefly Fun House Match and the final chapter of Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa. The match ended with LeRae help Gargano pick up the win, and Gargano talks about the future of those kinds of matches and whether they'll be used more in the future.
"That was actually the first cinematic match that was filmed that weekend. So that one was filmed before the Boneyard Match and before the Firefly Fun House Match. As far as shooting order goes, that one was the first one done. Honestly, it did not feel any different from wrestling in front of a crowd. Obviously, things hurt a lot more because there's no people there going nuts for you, but I've wrestled in front of five people before in the indies," Gargano said. "So I've done a lot of stuff in front of less people. So it was no real difference to me.
"As a performer, once you're in it and feeling it, you don't really notice your outside surroundings. I think cinematic matches, there's definitely a place for them in WWE. I think in this current landscape, I think if there's a story, if there's an emotional connection there, I think cinematic matches can be used tremendously."
Gargano spoke about the conditions that WWE and NXT are working under with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down public gatherings. He said that this time allows them to be more creative and see what they can do after things can return to some form of normalcy.
"So I think the positive takes makes us more creative," Gargano said. "It makes us think outside of the box. As far as a business and content innovation company, it makes us put our head into things. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities maybe for after this. We're gonna try a bunch of stuff right now and see what works and what sticks, so when this is all set and done and all of this is over, maybe things could look so much different and things could be much better on that end.
"Like I said, as far as positives go, it's hard to come up with positives, but I think it gives a lot of people time to be creative. It lets talented people be creative. I think it lets people try stuff out that they maybe wouldn't have had the opportunity to if this wasn't happening. A lot of people have nothing but time right now, a lot of time to think, a lot of time to develop. I do think, as far as a content innovation standpoint, this could be a positive in that regard."
Gargano has been an adamant defender of NXT hating the term "developmental" whenever the brand is mentioned. He was asked about his top three dream opponents, and he named three guys that he would love to bring to NXT.
"I have my top three. We're going with people outside of NXT and bring them to NXT because I work Wednesday's. I will say top three on my list are Seth Rollins, I will say AJ Styles, and I will say Daniel Bryan," Gargano revealed. "They know where I am on Wednesday's, so if they would like to come to NXT and try their luck against Johnny Wrestling, I would love for those three to come and hang out for a little bit."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit ViBe & Wrestling with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.