Gargano talked about his decision to leave NXT after a half-decade working for his Black and Gold brand and his reasons for feeling that he had achieved everything in the company and that it was time to leave. He also discussed the NXT following his WarGames match and shared why he was crying in his exit without speaking about his plans with the company.
I felt like I was in a good place, I felt this way for a while to where I felt like I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish in NXT. That’s one of those things where I talked about betting on yourself because it is kind of a scary thing to have a new baby on the way and decide I’m going to turn down this new contract, that’s a good contract, a safe contract where you’re getting money every week coming in to go off and do your own thing.
I felt really good, I felt just complete, and like I said I felt that way for a long time. Being able to end that story on my own terms and have that match and promo segment to where I was able to say goodbye which a lot of people don’t get to do nowadays and I was very lucky to be given that chance. It’s so funny because so many people thought that I re-signed obviously because no one gets that treatment to where they’re able to do their match and then come out the next night on live television which is wild.
It’s live television, I could’ve literally said anything I wanted and they kind of let me say anything I want. I sat down with one of the writers but all the words that came out were my own, I wrote my own thing, I wanted to thank people and I wanted to do things like that. Like I said I think I just have such a good relationship and good rapport with everyone in NXT and everyone in WWE, in general, that’s the saddest thing, and you can see the footage, I was crying.
I was crying for a particular reason when I walked out it’s because I gave two presents, one to Matt Bloom and I gave a present to Shawn Michaels. I told Shawn the caveat was he needed to open his present in front of me right before I went through the curtain. Shawns an emotional guy, we have a great relationship. I gave him this present and he opens it and he started crying and in turn that made me start crying. So when you watch the show I’m crying already because we had that moment right before I went through the curtain.
Concerning the length of time, Johnny Gargano knew that this would be the last day of his involvement at the company. The former NXT Champion said he was aware the day before. Gargano said that the company was old and giving fans the chance to forget you, not the switch to NXT into NXT 2.0. Among the many reasons, he believed it was time to step off from the sport for a time at this point of his career. Johnny Gargano said:
I kind of made my mind up a year in advance that this was going to be my last. Like people said ‘Johnny left because NXT changed,’ no, I kind of had it in my mind. I wasn’t leaving to go to any particular place, I kind of just felt like I needed to go because if you watch a TV show or anything in general and you see the same character, obviously I changed character, but if you see the same person on TV for 5 years, 6 years, it gets stale. I believe that being off the TV and being away makes people miss you and I think people have to have a chance to miss you and if they don’t, they don’t really care in general.
I felt the last year, I’m going to have fun this past year and I’m going to do whatever I can to try and set this place up for the future. That’s why I and Candace focused a lot on Indi Hartwell, we wanted to give Indi a good spot, we wanted to give Austin Theory a good spot. We wanted to help out as much as possible, I wanted to give guys opportunities that they wouldn’t have gotten to have a long match with Kushida at a TakeOver.