A new report has shed light on the backstage reaction in WWE to the return of previous NXT stars Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae.
Johnny Gargano was seen on WWE programming last December when he cut a heartfelt promo to say goodbye to the NXT audience before being attacked by Grayson Waller, this was done to set up his departure from the company.
Since then, there’s been plenty of speculation about a potential WWE return, but the crowd in Toronto for Raw in August was certainly surprised when the sounds of Rebel Heart rang throughout the arena signalling his return to the company.
That surprise was followed one month later by the return of Gargano’s wife Candice LeRae to WWE as well, as she arrived as a surprise opponent for Nikki A.S.H on Raw. LeRae had last competed in WWE back in July 2021 on NXT before taking time off due to being pregnant with her and Gargano’s first child.
Fightful Select has now issued a report giving some information on the reaction within WWE to Gargano and LeRae’s returns. The report states that Gargano and WWE maintained a good relationship during his free agency and the former NXT Champion had made clear he’d return when he was ready to and WWE was happy to go along with that.
Johnny Gargano was noted for his “incredible professionalism” by NXT sources for working with younger talent such as Indi Hartwell and Austin Theory in The Way before he left the company as well as helping establish the menacing Dexter Lumis.
Gargano and Candice LeRae were reportedly in talks with “the major companies” as soon as the month before Johnny Wrestling returned to WWE. There was said to be some interest in Gargano returning from WWE before Triple H took over from Vince McMahon but the change in management likely accelerated the move.