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Johnny Gargano Discusses Taking Inspiration From Evolution For The Way

Johnny Gargano and The Way

Since Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae joined forces and eventually created The Way, the group have gone on to become arguably the most prominent group on NXT.

After Gargano aligned in early 2020, the ‘power-couple’ later recruited their ‘children’ Austin Theory and Indi Hartwell to complete the collective. Since the group’s formation, Gargano has held the North American Title on three occasions while LeRae and Hartwell are the current NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions.

Speaking to Ryan Satin on his Out of Character podcast, Johnny Gargano has now lifted the lid on how the group came together. Gargano explained that he patterned the group after the legendary Evolution stable, which featured Ric Flair, Triple H Randy Orton and Batista.

“Towards the end of my face run — you do something for so long, you just get bored with it and I was creatively stifled to where I was like, ‘I feel like I need to turn or change.’ Hunter felt the same way. The pitch originally came with ‘What about Candice?’ She felt the same way and we felt together, as a package, could refresh both of us. Then came the idea of doing the Gargano Way and a faction would be a cool thing.

“The idea of Evolution came to my mind. Austin Theory was a guy I worked with in EVOLVE and I pitched it as him being the Randy to my Hunter and I could help him improve and get comfortable while giving him a spotlight. Indi was someone that we were big fans of and we likened her to Dave Batista. We call her ‘Big Dave’ all the time. We likened it to Evolution to infuse these characters on-screen and give them a platform to grow and get comfortable. It’s worked wonders for Indi and Austin. Having the chance to get comfortable in a group, but also get comfortable in the ring and on pre-tapes, they’ve grown so much. I’m so proud of them because they are immensely talented and they’re going to be stars for this company for a long time,”

Gargano continued, detailing how the ‘sit-com’ element of the group wasn’t something he originally pitched. Rather, it was something of a happy accident while filming the Christmas special.

“When I pitched the whole faction idea, the whole sitcom and family was not something I pitched, it was something we ran into and it came when we filmed the Christmas special to where everyone was interacting with each other and we were joking around a lot, calling Austin and Indi our kids. It became something that took off on-screen and it became our dynamic and everyone latched onto it. It’s something incredibly different.”

Gargano will be back in the championship hunt at NXT TakeOver: In Your House on June 13th. At the event, the former champion will join Adam Cole, Pete Dunne, Kyle O’Reilly and Karrion Kross in the a Fatal-Five-Way match for the richest prize in NXT.

H/t to Fightful for the transcription.