As a guest on The Sessions with Renee Paquette, former NXT superstar Johnny Gargano joined the show to talk about leaving the WWE in December.

Gargano’s last match with the company happened at NXT WarGames and he then addressed his future the following night before being taken out by Grayson Waller and never seen again in NXT.

Gargano spoke about leaving NXT after spending half a decade with the Black and Gold brand and why he felt like he accomplished everything with the company and it was just time to go. He also spoke about the NXT after his WarGames match and revealed why he was crying during his entrance before even having said a word about his future with the company.

“I felt like I was in a good place, I felt this way for a while to where I felt like I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish in NXT,” Johnny Gargano said. “That’s one of those things where I talked about betting on yourself because it is kind of a scary thing to have a new baby on the way and decide I’m going to turn down this new contract, that’s a good contract, a safe contract where you’re getting money every week coming in to go off and do your own thing.

“I felt really good, I felt just complete and like I said I felt that way for a long time. Being able to end that story on my own terms and have that match and promo segment to where I was able to say goodbye which a lot of people don’t get to do nowadays and I was very lucky to be given that chance. It’s so funny because so many people thought that I re-signed obviously because no one gets that treatment to where they’re able to do their match and then come out the next night on live television which is wild.

“It’s live television, I could’ve literally said anything I wanted and they kind of let me say anything I want. I sat down with one of the writers but all the words that came out were my own, I wrote my own thing, I wanted to thank people and I wanted to do things like that. Like I said I think I just have such a good relationship and good rapport with everyone in NXT and everyone in WWE in general that the saddest thing, and you can see the footage, I was crying.

“I was crying for a particular reason when I walked out it’s because I gave two presents, one to Matt Bloom and I gave a present to Shawn Michaels. I told Shawn the caveat was he needed to open his present in front of me right before I went through the curtain. Shawns an emotional guy, we have a great relationship. I gave him this present and he opens it and he started crying and in turn that made me start crying. So when you watch the show I’m crying already because we had that moment right before I went through the curtain.”

In regards to how long Johnny Gargano knew that this would be the end of his time with the company, the former NXT Champion revealed he knew heavily in advance. Gargano cited being stale and giving the fans a chance to miss you, and not the change from NXT to NXT 2.0, as several reasons why he felt it was time to walk away from wrestling for a bit at this current point in his life.

“I kind of made my mind up a year in advance that this was going to be my last,” Johnny Gargano said. “Like people said ‘Johnny left because NXT changed,’ no, I kind of had it in my mind. I wasn’t leaving to go to any particular place, I kind of just felt like I needed to go because if you watch a TV show or anything in general and you see the same character, obviously I changed character, but if you see the same person on TV for 5 years, 6 years, it gets stale. I believe that being off TV and being away makes people miss you and I think people have to have a chance to miss you and if they don’t, they don’t really care in general.

“I felt the last year, I’m going to have fun this past year and I’m going to do whatever I can to try and set this place up for the future. That’s why me and Candace focused a lot on Indi Hartwell, we wanted to give Indi a good spot, we wanted to give Austin Theory a good spot. We wanted to help out as much as possible, I wanted to give guys opportunities that they wouldn’t have gotten to have a long match with Kushida at a TakeOver.

“I was really proud I got to give him that spotlight as well and it was really important to me to try to help as many people as possible before I left to set that place up for a good spot for the future. Honestly, it’s no secret in this day and age, the age of mental health and social media and things like that, I felt like I was beaten down, and mentally I’m sure there is the stigma of you’re in the public eye and need to have thick skin but at the end of the day we’re all humans and we can only take so much.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Sessions with Renee Paquette with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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