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  2019/03/29
Exclusive interview: Johnny Gargano looks to fulfill his destiny...
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The circumstances may have been unexpected, but the opportunity is available to be seized. A week from this Friday at NXT TakeOver: New York, Johnny Gargano will face Adam Cole to crown the next NXT Champion. Ahead of the high-stakes match, Gargano sat down with WWE.com to discuss his NXT career, Tommaso Ciampa, his impending matchup with Cole and why it’s a must-win championship match.

WWE.COM: You have the opportunity to win the one title that had eluded you for the duration of your NXT career. How does that feel?

JOHNNY GARGANO: It’s a mix of emotions, honestly. I feel like everything I’ve been through — not just this past year, and not just the past four years for me in NXT, but since I was 8 years old, when I had this crazy dream to become a wrestler — has built to this one moment in Brooklyn.

WWE.COM: You will share that moment in Brooklyn with your opponent, Adam Cole. How do you feel about Cole?

WWE.COM: I have nothing but respect for Adam Cole. I’ve known him for a very long time and he’s one of the best in the world. He not only has my respect, but he also has the fans’ respect, as he should. Cole’s earned that. Everywhere he’s been, he’s been successful, and he’s been a champion. Cole expects to be NXT Champion, and he has expected to be champion since the moment he debuted in the Barclays Center and held the title above his head. Adam Cole always felt like it was a matter of time. I never expected any of this. None of this was ever supposed to happen for me. Our paths here were vastly different, but destiny has brought us together for this match.

WWE.COM: It was Tommaso Ciampa who was forced to vacate the NXT Championship after suffering a neck injury, which subsequently gave you the chance to compete for the title at NXT TakeOver: New York. What are your thoughts on how things went down?

GARGANO: It breaks my heart for a lot of different reasons. Some could say that everything I’ve done for the past year was for the sole purpose of getting another chance at Tommaso Ciampa and that NXT Championship. But I don’t want to beat Tommaso Ciampa at 25 percent … I want him at 100 percent. I’m sure that day will come one way or another, because in my heart I feel like we’re destined to do this forever. The journey may have changed, but the end game remains the same. The end game was always the NXT Championship.

WWE.COM: You’ve had the chance to compete on Raw and SmackDown LIVE recently. Despite experiencing this new career chapter, why is winning the NXT Championship still so important to you?

I WANTED TO BUILD SOMETHING HERE AND MY LEGACY FEELS INCOMPLETE WITHOUT THAT NXT CHAMPIONSHIP.

– JOHNNY GARGANO

GARGANO: NXT is my life. Plain and simple. I’ve put my heart and soul into this company, and I truly love it and its fans. I wanted to build something here and my legacy feels incomplete without that NXT Championship. It’s about more than the accolades, though, it’s about what it stands for. I want to go from a guy who was told “no” at his tryout, a guy who was told he wasn’t good enough to be here, to the most decorated champion in the history of the company. I want to show the world that anything’s possible if you never stop fighting.

WWE.COM: Let’s revisit the beginning of your NXT career. How did you feel when you first walked through the doors of NXT four years ago?

GARGANO: Scared. Intimidated. Unsure, but ready. I was hungry. You’d think that after four years, two titles and 12 TakeOvers I’d be satisfied, but I’m not. I’m still that same kid that walked in that door four years ago. That drive, that want, that hunger drives me every day. It’ll carry me to Brooklyn.

WWE.COM: You mentioned earlier that you never expected to be where you are now. What were your goals when you first got to NXT?

GARGANO: Honestly, just to get on the show. [Laughs] I didn’t have a contract for the first year of my time in NXT, and that was very stressful. I had to send an email every few weeks just to see if I was needed for anything at TV. I was still traveling around and doing indies, but NXT was where I ultimately wanted to be so I took every opportunity, whether it was an untelevised match or a Battle Royal, and I fought like it was my last, because honestly, it could have been. I truly feel like the “Johnny Wrestling” chants that filled Full Sail and ultimately the Barclays Center at my first TakeOver helped me get my contract here.

WWE.COM: How are you different, both professionally and personally, from the man who walked through the doors of NXT four years ago?

GARGANO: I’ve grown, both as a wrestler in the ring and as a man outside of it. I believe that everything happens for a reason. For the longest time I was horrified to hear the word “failure,” but I’ve come to realize that we all fail. It’s just a part of life. We all fall. It’s how you rebound that shows the type of person you are. That’s what makes you a champion. Fun nicknames and chants aside, I could never truly be Johnny Champion until I experienced Johnny Failure.

WWE.COM: What can we expect from you at NXT TakeOver: New York?

GARGANO: You can’t call yourself Mr. TakeOver and not deliver something special, right? One thing I’ve learned this past month is you can’t control the future. You can only control the now. Who knows what tomorrow may bring? So, for me and the NXT Championship, it’s now or never. I believe it is my destiny to be NXT Champion. I know it’s not going to be easy. It’s a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match against Adam Cole in a building where I’m 0 for 3. Plus, we all know that when you fight one member of Undisputed ERA, you’re essentially fighting all of Undisputed ERA, so this could essentially be four-on-one. The odds aren’t in my favor. But I’ve been an underdog my whole life – I wouldn’t have it any different!

This has been building for a very long time, and to return to the Barclays Center, which is the site of my very first TakeOver, with the whole world watching during the biggest wrestling weekend of the year, with my friends and family in the crowd, it’s shaping up to be the biggest match of my life. This has the potential to be the biggest night of my life. I’ve been dreaming of this night since I was a kid and the only thing I can guarantee, the only thing I can promise, is I’m going to give everything I have on April 5. I know it’s going to be a crazy atmosphere, but to the people riding with me in the Barclays Center, I won’t let you down.

Original Article

 
  2019/03/28
Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole (NXT Championship 2-out-of-3 Falls ...
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History will be made, and a new NXT Champion will be crowned when Johnny Gargano battles Adam Cole in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match for the newly vacated title at TakeOver: New York.

Gargano was originally earmarked to challenge arch-rival Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Title at TakeOver, but a neck injury forced Ciampa to relinquish the coveted championship, necessitating a change of plans for New York.

In light of that development, WWE COO Triple H revealed on March 20 that the NXT Championship would instead be decided in a match between Gargano and the winner of a Fatal 5-Way Match held later that night between Cole, Ricochet, Aleister Black, NXT North American Champion Velveteen Dream and Matt Riddle, which The Undisputed ERA leader won. To ensure that TakeOver: New York’s main event has a definitive outcome, Triple H additionally announced that the match will be contested under 2-out-of-3 Falls rules, meaning the first Superstar to claim two falls will be the victor.

Capturing the NXT Title would truly be a fairytale ending for Gargano, whose tumultuous history with The Blackheart resulted in numerous crises of conscience. Through it all, however, Johnny Wrestling proved to be the valiant hero he always claimed to be. The only hurdle remaining between the beloved Superstar and the NXT Championship — the one title that Gargano has yet to win on the black-and-gold brand — is Cole.

Cole, meanwhile, began 2019 with the bold promise that he and his Undisputed ERA cohorts will all be champions this year. A victory against Gargano at TakeOver: New York — inside the very building where Cole made his shocking NXT debut two years ago — would put The Undisputed ERA back on track to accomplish their goal, as well as in control of the top prize in the land.

Find out who will be crowned the new NXT Champion when Gargano and Cole face off in a 2-out-3 Falls Match at TakeOver: New York, streaming live Friday, April 5, at 7 ET/4 PT, exclusively on the award-winning WWE Network.

 
  2018/06/14
Exclusive interview: Johnny Gargano issues a final warning to To...
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In 2015, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa joined NXT’s Tag Team scene armed with an optimism for the future and undeniable vigor to succeed. Fast-forward three years, and one would be hard-pressed to find both Superstars peacefully co-existing in the same room. This Saturday night, NXT TakeOver: Chicago II will mark the battlefield on which Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa will attempt to settle their deep-rooted, vitriolic rivalry once and for all. As he prepares to make the trip to The Windy City, Gargano sat down with WWE.com for a final pre-match Q&A.

WWE.COM: Your highly anticipated match with Tommaso Ciampa is rapidly approaching. Why is this match different to you than your last bout in New Orleans?

JOHNNY GARGANO: I needed to win that last match. I needed to defeat Tommaso Ciampa in the middle of the ring to get my NXT career back. Yes, it was unsanctioned, but I knew after it was over that the war was just beginning. With the mindset I’m in and everything that has escalated from that moment, from costing me my NXT Title shot to putting me back in the hospital and bringing my wife into this. Our match in New Orleans will look like a walk in the park compared to this Street Fight.

WWE.COM: How do you feel about the irony of this match taking place in the same city that Ciampa turned on you a year ago?

GARGANO: I believe that everything happens for a reason. One year ago, my “best friend” blindsided me and turned my world upside-down in Chicago. I left the Allstate Arena in an ambulance, I woke up in a hospital bed and had no idea what happened or who put me there. This time around, I have the very rare opportunity to return the favor. I want him to take that same ambulance ride and wake up in that same hospital bed alone and afraid. I want Ciampa to feel every ounce of pain and horror I did, except he’s going to know deep down inside exactly who put him there.

WWE.COM: How much has it meant to you both personally and professionally to have your wife, Candice, by your side?

GARGANO: It means everything. Candice has been my light in the darkness this war has brought on.

WWE.COM: How close were yourself and Tommaso before things went sour?

GARGANO: Our bond was no secret. We shared an apartment in Orlando, Fla. Ciampa was in my wedding to Candice. The NXT Universe watched our friendship blossom from the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic to winning the NXT Tag Titles at NXT TakeOver: Toronto. Our friendship was not manufactured; it was very personal and very real.

WWE.COM: Do you ever wish you and Tommaso were still best friends?

GARGANO: The man who was my “best friend” and tag team partner died in the Allstate Arena a year ago. Maybe this is just who he has been the whole time, I don’t know. But I have absolutely no remorse or regret left in my heart for that man.

WWE.COM: What is your objective at NXT TakeOver: Chicago?

GARGANO: I have one objective: End Tommaso Ciampa. I don’t want to win. The minute he taps out or his shoulders are pinned to the mat, and that bell rings and the match is over and I can’t touch him —that’s the easy way out for him. This match ends when he does.

WWE.COM: If you could deliver one last message to Tommaso Ciampa, what would it be?

GARGANO: I told you that you had no idea what you’ve created. Johnny Wrestling will not be in Chicago. I’m not coming for a wrestling match. I’m coming for a fight. When I saw that blood drip from your head, I realized exactly what I needed to become to finish this once and for all. It takes a Psycho Killer to destroy a Psycho Killer.

 
  2018/06/03
Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa (Street Fight) NXT Takeover Ch...
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Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa’s battles have rarely been contained by the ring, but that won’t be a concern at NXT TakeOver: Chicago — the site of #DIY’s unforgettable implosion — when the two bitter rivals square off in a Street Fight.

The former best friends have remained at each other’s throats since Johnny Wrestling defeated the psychotic Blackheart at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans in a classic, brutal Unsanctioned Match. Ciampa, who refused to accept the loss, savagely attacked Gargano weeks later, landing his nemesis in a medical facility and a neck brace.

From there, the self-ordained “Tommy Sports-Entertainment” created more grief for Gargano and his friends and family, most notably Johnny’s wife, Candice LeRae. Ciampa taunted LeRae in the aftermath of his heinous attack, and she even got caught in the crossfire when Gargano returned from his career-threatening injury to confront Ciampa (against LeRae’s wishes) when Ciampa sent Johnny Wrestling flying off the ring apron and into his wife.

LeRae doesn’t support the idea of Gargano competing in the Street Fight and continuing his war with Ciampa. When Gargano received the match contract, LeRae flatly told her husband that she is “done with this,” adding that the rivalry with Ciampa has turned Gargano into everything he despises.

What ramifications will Johnny Wrestling’s decision have on his career and his personal life? What type of mayhem is in store when Gargano and Ciampa collide in a lawless Street Fight in the same city that Ciampa betrayed Gargano one year ago? Perhaps most important of all, will Gargano still believe it was all worth it when the dust settles in Chicago?

Find out at NXT TakeOver: Chicago, which streams live on Saturday, June 16, at 8 ET/5 PT, exclusively on the award-winning WWE Network!

 
  2018/04/01
Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa (Unsanctioned Match)
Published by: |   (0) Comments      Read MORE      Filed Under: Coverage, NXT Preview, NXT Takeover Preview
 

After nearly a year of anticipation, one of the most bitter rivalries in NXT history will come to a head at TakeOver: New Orleans when Johnny Gargano faces former tag team partner and best friend Tommaso Ciampa in an Unsanctioned Match.

If Johnny Wrestling prevails, he will be reinstated as an NXT Superstar, a status he lost in February after Ciampa cost Gargano his job in an all-or-nothing NXT Title Match against Andrade “Cien” Almas. If Ciampa is victorious, Gargano will be banished from NXT forever.

Not only is Gargano fighting for his chance to return to the black-and-yellow brand, but the beloved competitor is also hunting for retribution against The Blackheart, who has committed countless injustices against Gargano since cruelly betraying him last May at TakeOver: Chicago. Ciampa, meanwhile, is desperate to get rid of Gargano once and for all. From disguising himself as a fan and springing a sneak attack from the crowd, to coming to Ciampa’s house in the middle of the night, Gargano has gone to extreme lengths to get his hands on his onetime #DIY teammate.

Driven mad by Gargano’s unrelenting pursuit, Ciampa finally appealed to NXT General Manager William Regal for a solution. Conceding that Gargano’s out-of-ring attacks must stop, Regal ruled that an Unsanctioned Match was in order, bringing into focus what is sure to be a fierce brawl in The Big Easy.

Can Gargano overcome his onetime ally and secure his return to NXT? Or will Ciampa send Johnny Wrestling packing for good from the black-and-yellow brand? Given the unique unsanctioned circumstances, there’s no telling how far Gargano and Ciampa will go to settle the score. The only thing for certain is that this grudge match will be a can’t-miss conflict.

Watch Johnny Gargano go to war with Tommaso Ciampa at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, streaming live on Saturday, April 7, at 8 ET/5 PT, exclusively on the award-winning WWE Network.