Johnny Gargano has revealed what made him decide to return to WWE despite holding conversations with other promotions.
In December 2021 Johnny Gargano let his WWE contract expire and he became a free agent. The star planned to spend a year out of the ring in order to spend more time with his wife and son who was born just two months later.
Although Gargano occasionally teased an in-ring return he kept a relatively low profile with many fans expecting him to join AEW when he decided to return to industry. However, despite admitting that he did think about moving to another company, Gargano returned to WWE on the August 22nd edition of Monday Night Raw.
Many believed that Gargano wouldn’t return to WWE while Vince McMahon was in charge as he was not the kind of star that was usually favoured by the former Chairman. But this all changed on July 22nd when McMahon announced his retirement surrounded by accusations of sexual misconduct. In his place Triple H became Head of Creative and a number of former Superstars quickly returned.
During an appearance on Out of Character with Ryan Satin, Gargano discussed his time away, and why WWE’s regime change meant that there was only one place that he wanted to be.
“There were conversations, for sure. We’d be dumb not to have those conversations, right? Especially given everything that was going on, the uncertainty around everything, who knows what could happen. That’s the crazy thing about the wrestling business. Literally, everything can change in the blink of an eye.
The fact that I was able to be incredibly patient and be in no rush to do everything, that’s the big gain I had in all this. I could sit back and survey the landscape and make my decision on a timely basis. I didn’t have to be like, ‘I need a job right now, where am I going to go?’ I believe everything happens for a reason.
The fact that I was able to have my contract expire in December, have the baby in February, and spend as much time with him as possible and not being in a rush to do things and reach out or say, ‘I need to come back now.’ From December (2021) to December (2022), I was fine not doing anything. Totally fulfilled not doing anything.
Luckily, I have people around me to have conversations, so I didn’t have to think about business or wrestling, they can talk about that stuff, and all I can worry about is dad life. I watch everything, I’m a fan of wrestling, and for me, I want to go to the place that not only could utilize me best, but a place where I already have a relationship with Hunter and a lot of people backstage.
That was a big thing for me, I’m all about relationships and familiarity. As soon as the change happened, there was only one option in my head,”
Gargano returned to the ring for the first time in nine months on the September 12th edition of Raw where he defeated Chad Gable. In the says after the match he posted a lengthy statement on social media discussing his journey to get back in shape and issues with body dysmorphia.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.