Current NXT superstar Johnny Gargano recently sat down for an episode of Rasslin’ with Brandon F. Walker to promote the upcoming NXT PPV TakeOver: In Your House. During the interview Gargano was asked about his past experiences from NXT TakeOver events.
“Obviously DIY vs. The Revival holds a special place in my heart,” reflected Gargano. “That was really our foot in the door [in the WWE] in getting able to show the world what we are capable of doing on the big stage. But my match with Andrade, people went into it with tempered expectations. They knew it was good, they knew I was good, but I don’t know if they knew that I could hit that main event level. I really wanted that opportunity.
“I always kind of tell myself, ‘Okay, this is where you want to be. You want to be in the main event, you want that spotlight. This is just another step to get there.’ And my match with Andrade, that night was just magic from the Philadelphia crowd, to the atmosphere, to just Andrade in general, just the story behind it, everything kind of worked in our favor that night. And Candice LeRae and Zelina Vega obviously. That match will forever hold a special place in my heart, and this is coming from someone who hates all his own matches.”
Gargano has mentioned in the past that his initial reaction to his match with Andrade was much harsher, saying that at the time he thought the match was unremarkable.
While already on the topic, Gargano was asked if he has a favorite match from any of the other different NXT TakeOver events. Gargano says that he has a few favorite matches, but that all of them are his favorites for different reasons.
“My match with Andrade, obviously, is my number one and was really my breakout moment,” recalled Gargano. “For story reasons, my match with Tommaso Ciampa at TakeOver New Orleans. I don’t think I will ever be part of an atmosphere like that, like ever. Just because I have never heard another crowd react to Tommaso, or a crowd react to another wrestler, like they reacted to Tommaso that night. Everyone in the building, literally everyone, from the front row to the tippy tippy top, everyone hated that man that night.
“During that era it was insane. I remember sitting in gorilla and watching his entrance and being like, ‘Oh my god, I have never experienced something like this before.’ So that is up there for me, and my match with Adam Cole at TakeOver New York in a 2 Out of 3 Falls is another one for me. So those three are always my go-tos.”
Gargano was also asked if he will ever scout new talents that are coming to NXT. He says that he does scout new arrivals, and that he will even mention something to Triple H or Shawn Michaels if he is interested in working with them in the future. He also mentions how much he appreciates the fact that he is able to help support younger talents backstage.
“I pride myself on watching wrestling from all over the world, so I do still pay attention to independent wrestling,” admitted Gargano. “So, whenever we sign a new guy there is a good chance I have already seen his work and that I already know what he is capable of. And there is a good chance I am going to Triple H or Shawn Michaels and being like, ‘Hey, this guy is good. Hopefully I can work with him one day.’ I think we have a very talented and up-and-coming class that we just signed. [There is] a lot of guys from the indies who are like me, or were like me, where they just want a chance and an opportunity to breakout. And now, to be in this position where I am capable of giving these young guys chances to breakout, and it is crazy to say ‘young guys’ because I am 33-years-old, but [giving] these younger guys a chance to breakout is something I am really looking forward to.”
You can listen to the interview in full HERE.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Rasslin’ with Brandon F. Walker with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.