Johnny Gargano knew that Triple H running WWE was a big opportunity for him.
During an appearance on Out Of Character with Ryan Satin, Johnny Gargano spoke about his decision to return to WWE and how everyone was respectful of his decision to take time off.
“It was pretty quick. I’m trying to think of the exact timeline of it, because it went by pretty fast. One thing I will say is in my downtime, everyone was extremely respectful of my time away. They understood that I kinda wanted to focus on the dad thing for a while. And there was a lot of rumors and I was trending on Twitter because I was going to show up here or I was going to show up there, like am I going to show up tonight? Am I going to show up next week? And that happened for pretty much the whole time I was gone. But I promise you, no part of me wanted to even come back [then] and when I left in December, I had a year in my mind. I was like ‘I’m OK being gone for a year.’ December  to December , I was totally fine with stepping away. And if some opportunity arose in between all of that,” Gargano noted, “if something that peaked my interest made me go, ‘that could be pretty cool’, [if that] popped in my head, I would think about it and it’d be something that I’d potentially be open to.
“But I think a lot of people were very cool with the fact that I was away. But I do have a team around me — it feels weird to say because I have an indie mindset — but I have a team around me that were having discussions and having conversations in different places. But as soon as the change happened, as soon as everything kinda went the way it did, communication definitely increased in abundance. Like I said, it’s weird, I have a different relationship with Hunter and Shawn than a lot of other people. I’ve known them for a very long time at this point and I’ve always said they’re like my wrestling dads because they are. The last time I talked to them was on Father’s Day. I got a text from them like Happy Father’s Day because that’s been our relationship. We didn’t really discuss wrestling stuff in the time period I was gone because they knew I didn’t have that on my mind,” Gargano said. “We talked about real-life stuff, which is also a cool relationship to have.”
Gargano said he still maintained contact with Hunter during his respective health issues but it was always non-wrestling talk. Gargano said that’s the cool part of it all, because they maintained a friendship and it wasn’t just about business. Satin mentioned that it made sense for Triple H to want people on his team that he had those relationships with. Gargano said that he’s always been a HHH and HBK guy and he’ll always be loyal because he loves the dynamic they have.
— WWE (@WWE) September 14, 2022
Satin then asked about Gargano saying his team had talks with other entities. He went on to not only explain what that meant, but also shared when he made his decision to return to WWE.
“There were conversations for sure. And I mean, we’d be dumb not to have those conversations, right? Especially everything that was going on and the uncertainty, who knows what could happen? That’s the crazy thing about the wrestling business, literally everything can change in the blink of an eye. So the fact that I was able to be incredibly patient, being in no rush to do anything — and that’s the biggest part, the gain, I guess I had in all of this — is I could sit back and survey the landscape and make my decision on a timely basis. I didn’t have to be [thinking] ‘OK I need a job right now, where am I going to go?’ I believe everything happens for a reason, and the fact that I was able to have my contract in December, have the baby in February and spend as much time with him as possible and not be in any rush to do things,” Gargano noted, “also not be rushed to reach out or say I need to come back now, do this then — like I said, from December to December, I was fine not doing anything.
“Totally fulfilled not doing anything and luckily, I had people around me that could have the conversations so I don’t have to think about business, I don’t have to think about wrestling. They can all talk about that stuff and all I can think about is dad life. Like I said, I watch everything and I am a fan of wrestling and for me, it just felt like I wanted to go to the place that would, I don’t know… the place that could utilize me best,” Gargano added, “but also a place where I already have a relationship with Hunter and a relationship with a lot of people backstage. That was already a big thing for me. I’m all about relationships and familiarity, and as soon as the change happened, I think there was only one option in my head.”
Johnny Gargano said he was concerned that there might not be a place for him in WWE when he came back, but noted that wrestling is all about timing.
“The fact that I could take my time and wait it out, pick my spot in the place I’ve dreamed of working since I was a little kid, it seemed like a no-brainer and it seemed like a home run. The fact that I was able to go back to the Performance Center and see everybody again and be back on the team and be backstage, see people I’ve been working with for six years again, everyone just happy and pumped and so excited to see me,” Gargano explained, “that night in Toronto, I [knew] this was the right decision. Everything worked out the way it was supposed to.”
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