'It Was Such A Fine Line To Walk' - Johnny Gargano Details Making WWE Raw Debut In The Middle Of NXT Storyline
Gargano was featured on the WWE main roster in early 2019
Johnny Gargano has discussed how last-minute his WWE Monday Night Raw debut was and how difficult he and Tommaso Ciampa found balancing appearances on the main roster with their long-term storyline in NXT.
Gargano, Ciampa, Aleister Black and Ricochet made their way up to the WWE main roster in February 2019, featuring on both Raw and SmackDown while also continuing their respective storylines on WWE NXT.
For Gargano and Ciampa, the duo had recently started teaming again but, with a slow build towards a final blow-off match between the two at NXT TakeOver: New York - which didn't happen due to an injury to Ciampa - the former DIY pair had to walk a fine line between the different brands.
Speaking to Give Me Sport about finding out about going on Raw, Gargano said: "I got a call randomly on a Saturday morning, I was in Cleveland for my Dad’s birthday, and I was basically told I was going to be on Monday Night Raw on Monday. I didn’t have any gear or anything like that with me, I had to call Tommaso who was in Florida at the time, he had to go and get a key to my apartment and get my gear. So Tommaso had to bring me my gear and a suit and things like that, because literally it was so last minute, we were so not prepared for anything like this, and we didn’t know what was going on.
"During that time period we were in the middle of telling a story, I guess that now looking back, people aren’t going to get it because they threw a wrench in it, but it was a story we were both very proud of, and a story we were both very protective over. So, no matter what direction we were going to be given on Raw and on SmackDown, we wanted to protect the story and we wanted to honour the people that watch NXT, because it matters. I think that is a thing that is the hardest ball to juggle.
"For wrestling fans, I think they feel like they are wasting their time sometimes, they feel like they are not being rewarded. For us in NXT, for me and Tommaso, we want to reward fans for tuning in, we want to reward fans for watching. I’m a big Marvel guy, so I love long-term storytelling. I love things like that. I don’t want a long-term story to be thrown away for no reason, I want there to be a reason behind everything. I think like you said, we’re both wrestling fans, we want to be rewarded, so especially during that time period, it was such a fine line to walk for both of us.
"We were like ‘okay, we have this story we are going to tell and we need to tell, but we are also being asked to do this other thing’, I guess we had to kind of try and find common ground, a middle-ground for all of us so everyone can be happy, so where we can make NXT fans happy and give them what they want. It’s such an interesting time period, man.
"Luckily things worked out how they were supposed to and I came back to NXT and everything worked out, but yeah, it was so last minute."