Johnny Gargano Says His WWE Departure Had Nothing to Do With NXT 2.0's Reboot

Johnny Gargano left the WWE back in December in order to be with his wife, Candice LeRae, in the final months before the birth of their first child, a son named Quill. Gargano's departure came just a few months after the NXT brand had been rebooted as NXT 2.0 and the product has been divisive among fans ever since. The former NXT Champion was a guest on Renee Paquette's The Sessions this week and clarified that his decision to leave had nothing to do with NXT 2.0.

"I know people said, like, 'Oh, Johnny left because NXT changed.' No, I always had it in my mind that I wasn't leaving to go to any particular place," Gargano said (h/t "I kind of just felt like I needed to go because I felt like if you watch a TV show, or if you watch anything in general, if you see the same character, and obviously I changed character, I turned heel, I did funny stuff, I did things like that here and there. But if you see the same person on TV for five years, six years, it gets stale."

"I believe that being off TV and being away makes people miss you. I think people need to have a chance to miss you, and if they don't, then they don't really care in general. I felt like for the last year that I was going to have fun this past year, and I'm gonna do whatever I can to try to set this place up for the future. That's why me and Candice focused a lot on Indie Hartwell. We wanted to give Indie a good spot. We wanted to give Austin Theory a good spot. We wanted to help out as much as possible," he added. "I want to try and give guys opportunities that they wouldn't have gotten. To have a long match with Kushida at TakeOver, I was really proud that I was able to give him that spotlight as well. It was really important for me to try to help as many people as possible before I left to kind of set that place up for a good spot for the future."

NXT's next major event, Stand & Deliver, takes place this Saturday. The show is headlined by an NXT Championship match between Dolph Ziggler and Bron Breakker.