Johnny Gargano returned to WWE programming recently as the latest NXT Superstar brought back by Triple H – but there’s a fine reason why it didn’t happen in Cleveland.
Johnny Gargano’s surprising WWE comeback caught many off-guard as, unlike the likes of Karrion Kross and Hit Row, his return hadn’t been confirmed. It was merely a rumour that he might, a rumour that had been ongoing since he left in December. His return did, however, occur two weeks after WWE was in Gargano’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.
Speaking to Corey Graves on his After The Bell podcast, Johnny Gargano explained why, exactly, it was decided that his return would happen outwith the Ohio city:
“So it happened very fast, the whole thing. It’s very fun to be able to literally keep a secret in a time period where that doesn’t happen. Everything leaks nowadays. Everything in wrestling leaks. I remember when I was younger, I loved things during the Attitude Era where you’d be watching Nitro or you’re watching Raw and someone just showed up and you’re like, ‘What the hell is going on? I can’t believe they’re here.’ The dirt sheets and things like that were around, but it also wasn’t as prevalent as is today with the Internet and whatnot.
That was the most important thing to me for this secret, for this return, was to make it a complete surprise. Obviously, I could have come back two weeks prior in Cleveland, but everyone believed that. Everyone thought that was going to happen. That’s probably why it didn’t happen. It would have been great. I would love to come back to my hometown. I still haven’t wrestled in that arena, which is mind blowing to me, outside of when I was Cedrick Von Haussen, but that’s a different character. It’s a different universe. It was really important for me to just keep this whole thing under wraps as much as possible.”
Instead, Johnny Gargano returned on the 22 August broadcast of Raw, emanating from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In his return, Gargano left Austin Theory – his old partner in The Way – laying with a Superkick.
His in-ring return has been confirmed for the forthcoming episode of Monday Night Raw on 12 September. An opponent wasn’t named but either way, this will mark Johnny’s first in-ring outing since he entered the men’s WarGames match as part of Team Black and Gold last December.