WWE NXT star Johnny Gargano recently took out some time to speak with TV Insider about his character’s progression from a babyface to a heel on television.
Gargano has had quite the series of transformations as a part of NXT. He’s one of the few performers who has been portrayed as both a heel and babyface throughout his NXT run, with the most recent of his characters being that of a villain.
“It’s been very interesting [being the heel]. It’s something I’ve been very excited about doing for a very long time,” Johnny said. “I think with everything if you do something for so long it doesn’t get boring. But you kind of lose that creative luster. You kind of lose that spark. So having this new character and new dynamic is something I’ve really been looking forward to. I’ve put a lot of thought into it for a while.
“I believe it was likened to if Luke Skywalker actually shook the Emperor’s hand and joined the dark side,” he added. “It’s actually a great analogy, made by Triple H by the way. You wouldn’t think he would make a nerdy Star Wars reference, but good on him. It’s something new. It’s something fresh. It gives me a whole new canvas to paint on. And as a performer and creative person and artist, it’s something I’m looking forward to.”
Gargano’s wife and fellow NXT star Candice LeRae has stood by her husband and become a heel on television as well. Johnny mentioned how exciting this was for the couple because they have rarely had opportunities to work together in the past.
“It has been something we’ve talked about for a while. We’re always kind of paired together, but not really,” Johnny explained. “We kind of had on the indies a little bit, but we were never officially together as an act. I feel like now we’re getting that chance.”
Johnny notes how he’s looking forward to having children with Candice somewhere down the line, although, this will obviously keep her from competing inside the ring. If this is destined to be one of her final storylines before becoming a mother, Johnny wants to make sure it is something memorable for her.
“Just from the real side of things, the fact is, eventually we are going to have a child, whenever that may be. When it happens, unfortunately the way things work out Candice would not be able to wrestle while she is pregnant,” Johnny said. “That’s just the way things go. You see what happened with Becky [Lynch] and women in general. I would love if I could get pregnant. Candice could keep wrestling and I’d stay home and it’d be great.
“The fact is Candice won’t be able to wrestle for that time period. In all honesty, when Candice becomes a mom she isn’t even sure if she would come back,” Johnny added. “We’ve discussed this. So we wanted to take the opportunity while we had it to work together, to have one final go for both of us as an act. We wanted to be together side-by-side because who knows if we’re going to again.”
One of the couple’s favorite segments together was the “Dinner with the Garganos” segment, as seen in the video above. Johnny explained that the initial idea behind the promo was much simpler than what it turned into.
“It was fun to be able to brand something as our thing. It was pitched as a promo on the couch at our house. Me and Candice thought we could make this more. I think we can make this a little bit bigger. It was a celebration. We were coming off “One Final Beat” where we had a successful night defeating Tommaso Ciampa. Candice brought up that maybe we should have a dinner.
“That turned into the guy Dustin who edited the dinner scene to switch the dynamic from color to black and white. It brought a different dynamic because for our characters we are the consummate good guys,” Johnny said. “You look at us and we’re kind of like the all American couple… We are nice people, but I think even nice people have skeletons in the closet and do have a dark side. I think that switch gave the audience a look into that part of our personas.”