Johnny Gargano's decision to let his WWE contract expire last December left fans speculating for months about where "Johnny Wrestling" could wind up next. The answer turned out to be right back with the WWE, only this time it would be as a member of the Monday Night Raw roster. Speculation that the former NXT Champion could return was kicked into high gear when Vince McMahon announced his departure in late July and Paul "Triple H" Levesque took over WWE Creative. Gargano confirmed in a new interview on the Out of Character Podcast this week that Levesque's promotion was the deciding factor.
"There were conversations, for sure. We'd be dumb not to have those conversations, right? Especially given everything that was going on, the uncertainty around everything, who knows what could happen. That's the crazy thing about the wrestling business. Literally, everything can change in the blink of an eye The fact that I was able to be incredibly patient and be in no rush to do everything, that's the big gain I had in all this. I could sit back and survey the landscape and make my decision on a timely basis. I didn't have to be like, 'I need a job right now, where am I going to go?' I believe everything happens for a reason," Gargano said.
"The fact that I was able to have my contract expire in December, have the baby in February, and spend as much time with him as possible and not being in a rush to do things and reach out or say, 'I need to come back now.' From December (2021) to December (2022), I was fine not doing anything. Totally fulfilled not doing anything," he continued. "Luckily, I have people around me to have conversations, so I didn't have to think about business or wrestling, they can talk about that stuff, and all I can worry about is dad life. I watch everything, I'm a fan of wrestling, and for me, I want to go to the place that not only could utilize me best, but a place where I already have a relationship with Hunter and a lot of people backstage. That was a big thing for me, I'm all about relationships and familiarity. As soon as the change happened, there was only one option in my head."
Gargano returned to the ring on this week's Raw and beat Chad Gable. He was then attacked from behind by Austin Theory with the Money in the Bank briefcase.