Johnny Gargano made a special guest appearance on the latest episode of The Bob Culture Podcast on YouTube to talk about his time with the WWE and what’s next for his wrestling career.
The former NXT Champion also talked about his time as a heel on NXT working with Austin Theory, his wife Candice LeRae, and Indi Hartwell as The Way, a storyline that might have been very different.
“I think things turned out the way they were supposed to,” Gargano said. “That was never going to be the way that character was supposed to be. It was going to be a lot more serious, but I just kind of felt like with everything going on with the pandemic and with COVID and things like that, I felt like NXT just needed a little bit of levity, a little bit of funniness, silliness, goofiness, and I was happy that I was able to provide that.”
During his time with NXT, Gargano’s most memorable moments involved his tag team partner, Tommaso Ciampa. After winning and then losing the NXT Tag Team Championship, Ciampa turned on Gargano, and the two men engaged in a years-long feud that was lauded as a rare example of long-form narrative and unironic “good vs. evil” storytelling in modern wrestling.
“We were extremely lucky,” Gargano said. “Timing worked out to where Tommaso was able to leave and get surgery … people had to wait for the match as opposed to it just being immediate. It worked out so fantastic, because then I ended up having a match with Andrade that propelled me to a new height. And then Tommaso came back right after that, so I was already riding high from that match. And it’s so funny that like, if Tommaso doesn’t go get surgery after that match, the Andrade match never happens. Also, if Drew [McIntyre] doesn’t get hurt during the match with Andrade, where he lost the title to Andrade, me vs. Andrade doesn’t happen either … There is a different timeline somewhere where none of this happens.”
While he doesn’t currently work for WWE, Gargano was spotted at the Performance Center in April, and he has some advice for upcoming talent.
“Never lose that wrestling fan inside of you,” Gargano said. “That is what’s going to help you treat people how they should be treated, but also wrestle how you should wrestle … I always kind of try to think, ‘What can I do that would make little Johnny Gargano lose his mind?’ … Wrestling does suck at times, it gets hard, it gets rough, but as long as you remember what made you do this, you will never go wrong. Treat people kindly, be a good person, work incredibly hard and you’ll get what you want out of it.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Bob Culture Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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