Former WWE Superstar Johnny Gargano was recently interviewed on The Sessions podcast as he spoke about his early WWE contract negotiations that would have seen him also competing on the indie scene in addition to WWE NXT.
You can check out the interview highlights below:
Johnny Gargano on his time in NXT: “I was very lucky. Obviously, from the time I started, until the time I ended in NXT, things were vastly different. When I first started, I was brought in as an extra, me and Tommaso, our story has been told a million times, but literally, we had a tryout where we were told, ‘No, there isn’t a spot for you in NXT, but we might be doing this Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament that maybe we will put you guys in for like a one-off.’ So we did the Dusty Classic, it went well, and William Regal was, obviously, a big liaison for us that would always try to get us on the show every week because he knew there was potential there. He knew what he had in us. Every week, I had to either text William Regal or text the writer at the time, Ryan Ward, and say, ‘Hey, are we going to be used?’ They’re like, ‘Yeah, will bring you down for another extra spot.’”
Johnny Gargano on his talks with NXT to have a contract that would allow him to work indie dates: “We would always hear this thing like, ‘Maybe we’ll give you this weird contract, where you can still do indies and we will also have you do NXT,’ like when that was being discussed at the time. [Samoa] Joe was gonna be under it when he was initially brought in. It was a weird thing that never ended up happening because legal was like, ‘Wait a minute, what are we doing here? We can’t do this.’”
On how the proposed contract never came together: “I had to bug Canyon Ceman literally every week, ‘Is this contract happening or not?’ He would be like, ‘It’s happening. We just gotta go through legal.’ It never happened. It got to the point where it was going to happen — this is even funnier how this works out. It was going to happen they sent us to Pittsburgh to get medical [examinations], to get the process going. Tommaso’s medical came back bad because his shoulder or something needed surgery and Hunter was like, ‘Well if his shoulder needs surgery comment why don’t we just sign them, move them to Orlando, and we’ll pay for the surgery, and everything, and we’ll just give them a full-time deal.”
On how he got signed to WWE NXT: “I was like, ‘What the hell? I have a sweet deal worked out where I was going to be able to live in Cleveland and still do stuff, but now we’re going to move to Orlando?’ So, they signed us to full-time deals, moved us to Orlando. Me and Candice literally got married, I think, like the week or two before we moved it to Orlando. So we got married, never got a honeymoon or anything, because we had to move to Orlando to report to NXT.”
On gaining a great deal of trust in NXT: “We started there and we were always still kind of looked at as indie guys, extra guys, smaller guys, things like that. Especially during that time period before the Cruiserweight Classic, the indieness of NXT didn’t really exist yet. Indie wrestling still kind of had a bad rap, you were still looked down upon before the Cruiserweight Classic and then everything blew up, everyone got signed. But from the time I started until the time I ended, I gained so much trust, I feel, with the people in power, I gained so much trust with basically everyone in the office to where I always had a pretty good say on things I did and didn’t do. I would always be able to write my promos, I would always be able to give input, they asked me what I wanted to do creatively, that never changed my whole time.”