12 Days of WWE’s Best: In Which I Became a Johnny Gargano Apologist


Today on my list of the best of WWE in 2018, we discuss the journey Johnny Gargano took in WWE NXT this year, how I watched the whole shebang with baited breath, and (literally) bought the t-shirt

Now, while I’m totally on board with everything Johnny Gargano is right now (which is an anti-hero, I don’t care what anyone says), I wasn’t always this questionably heartless. I was down with DIY since their inception in NXT, and much like you, I pulled my hair out at NXT Chicago last year, asking “why in the world would you ever break up such a beautiful, wonderful tag team, WWE?”

The answer of course became clear – it’s because Johnny Gargano was made to take the creative ride of a lifetime.

Johnny Gargano rode the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in NXT this year, from earning himself  his first NXT Championship match against Andrade “Cien” Almas in January and finally getting his hands on Tommasso Ciampa in June, to falling victim to obsession so desperately that it caused him to attack innocent people.

Johnny Gargano’s fall from grace has been one of the most unexpected (for me, at least) plot lines of this year, yet also the most harrowing.

For some of us (namely, uh, hi, this girl right here), Johnny Gargano will always be Johnny Wrestling. The journey he’s on now, one where he’s kind of just floating around as a “heel” while Aleister Black deals with him (or visa versa), is a sad and complicated one, if only by the virtue that we know good ole’ Johnny W. is still in there deep down somewhere.

What’s even more exciting for me than remembering Johnny Gargano in 2018 and to think about what Johnny Gargano looks like in 2019.

I’m going to put on my old and rusty Fantasy Booking Hat on and say that looking towards NXT Takeover: Brooklyn V (which I will frickin’ be there for), Johnny Gargano realizing that Tommasso Ciampa being proud of him and his pursuits is proof that he’s really gone off the rails.

I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the Gargano vs. Ciampa series, and I believe there is a tremendous and inspiring redemption arc for Johnny Gargano in 2019, one that will see him get one last chance to take out Tommasso Ciampa for good.

To give his emotional journey through 2018 the sweetest punctuation, I believe that last time will finally allow him to become his old self; the new NXT Championship belt around his waist will at that point only be a constellation prize.

That, my dear friends, is why I was not, in any way, willing to root against anything Johnny Gargano did this year – because it all had a purpose, and it was all necessary to building towards the end of one of the deepest, most emotional feuds NXT has ever seen.

Next. Johnny Gargano and His Comic Book Inspirations. dark

So, Johnny Gargano, I really could go on forever, but your story only began in 2018, and if I’m right in saying you’ll find yourself again soon, your story in 2019 will be so much sweeter.