Entertainment reporter Chris Van Vliet spoke with new WWE NXT Champion Johnny Gargano after his big win over Adam Cole at “Takeover: New York” on Friday night in Brooklyn. You can see the full interview above. Chris also sent us highlights from the interview.
When asked about WWE’s main roster, Gargano said NXT is the main roster and the hottest thing going in all of professional wrestling right now. Gargano said he would put the NXT Takeover events up against any other event in the world. He also said he hates being asked about when he will go to the main roster.
“I get the question a lot of when are you going to the main roster and I absolutely hate that question,” Gargano said. “I hate it so much. I get tweeted that a lot and people say ‘I can’t wait to see you on the main roster’ and I tell them you are seeing me on the main roster. NXT is the main roster. I do believe that Raw, Smackdown and NXT are the three brands and I think that people can come from Raw or Smackdown to NXT and I think that people from NXT can go to Raw or Smackdown. It’s very interchangeable. Obviously there are different worlds there in people’s minds but for me, this is my main roster title. This is my main roster moment. NXT to me is the hottest thing going not just in WWE but all across professional wrestling. I think NXT is the hottest brand in sports entertainment and I’m not just saying that because I am biased, I’m not just saying that because I’m me, I’m saying that because I was at TakeOver. I watched the show. I’d put TakeOvers up against anything in the world.”
Gargano’s wife Candice LeRae and former partner Tommaso Ciampa appeared with him after the big win at Takeover to help celebrate. Many were wondering what Candice said to him in the ring right after the match but it was nothing but a husband & wife moment. Gargano said, “I think she said she was going to fix my hair for me. It wasn’t anything like ‘I’m very proud of you’ (laughs). She told me she was going to fix my hair.”
Gargano also said he didn’t realize at first that Candice was coming to the ring to congratulate him as he thought there was some sort of run-in.
“I was on my knees and I grabbed the belt and I felt someone tackle me and I was like ‘what is happening right now?’ and I had no idea who it was,” Gargano revealed. “I didn’t know if a fan got in the ring, I didn’t know if one of the member of Undisputed Era jumped me afterwards, I didn’t know if anything had changed, I didn’t know what was going on and then I was like ‘Oh, it’s Candice’. She hit me hard, I was like ‘Oh my God!’.”
Gargano often receives praise from WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, and he revealed that his post-match celebration was inspired by The Heartbreak Kid.
“Honestly, when I got down, it was very Shawn Michaels like, and that was the defining moment of my childhood, the boyhood dream and I think it’s the defining moment of a lot of people’s childhoods,” Gargano said. “A lot of people are saying this to me and it doesn’t seem real, they say remember when you watched Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 12, the boyhood dream, you always remember that moment, there are going to be kids that my win will be their Shawn Michaels moment. And that is mind blowing to me, that’s bonkers to me that that’s possible.”