Johnny Gargano joined Chris Van Vliet on this week’s Insight with Chris Van Vliet to discuss the background behind his WWE departure.
The first NXT Triple Crown Champion opened up about his exit in December 2021, and insisted that he still has a great relationship with the company, but wanted to branch out and do his own things.
“I feel very content [in leaving WWE],” Gargano said. “It was just a time period in my life where I was like, that chapter I felt was closed as well as I could close it, to be able to end on that note and end that story the right way and get that opportunity to go out there and basically thank everybody I wanted to thank. I thanked people that don’t even work for the company anymore. I had no restraints. I literally just went out there and spoke from the heart.
“It was not scripted. And to be able to do that, like, I said in the Renee interview, to be given that platform to do that, that’s an incredible amount of trust, and that shows you the relationship that I have and continue to have with people in WWE and with people in NXT, to where they trusted me on live television, with a live microphone.
“I could have literally said, ‘I am signing with this place,’ and slammed down the microphone. I could have done anything I wanted. But I have way too much respect for everyone in that building. Way too much respect for everyone in that company. And like I said, I have such a great relationship there that it just felt like, at the time and now, I just want to have the chance to go out and do my own thing.”
Johnny Gargano also revealed that he accomplished everything that he wanted to last year and knew that he did not want to re-sign with the company.
“I think the last year, I kind of knew that I accomplished everything that I want to accomplish in NXT,” Johnny said. “That’s not to say I could have gone to RAW or SmackDown and did other things, I just knew coming up on it – I knew I didn’t want to re-sign, but there was also still that option of, ‘maybe I do wanna re-sign?’ I’d made my mind up, but I was also there was that little 1% chance. I always said like 99% I don’t re-sign, because there’s always 1% that I could have. But I feel like when Candice got pregnant, that’s when the 1% kind of went away.
“And I was like, I don’t want to have anyone to be in charge of my time during the time period when I’m with Quill. I don’t want to be sitting at home having a Connecticut number call me and saying I need to go be at this show or go to this appearance. I just wanted to have a clean slate, leave on that note, and be able to come back in the future or go elsewhere.”
When looking toward the future, Gargano believes he will wrestle until he’s 40-years-old.
“It’s hard because obviously, the name Johnny Gargano around wrestling is always going to be beneficial money-wise,” Gargano explained. “People are always going to want to see me or meet me, want to see me wrestle, want to learn from me, so in reality, I have a job for life. I could back and be a producer, go back to WWE and be a coach, I could go do whatever. I could train people.
“I have a great relationship with everyone there [when questioned if the door would be open at WWE]. I’m very lucky that I have that. Because that’s always in the back of my mind of what I’m gonna do after wrestling because a part of me is saying I only want to wrestle until I’m 40, and that’s only six years away at this point. So ideally, I have about five years to really kinda maximize whatever I want to do in this.”