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Johnny Gargano Is Happy His Match With Tommaso Ciampa Is on NXT and Not WrestleMania

April 8, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Johnny Gargano Tommaso Ciampa NXT

Johnny Gargano spoke with Sports Illustrated for a new interview promoting tonight’s empty arena match with Tommaso Ciampa on NXT. You can check out some highlights below:

On the location of the match: “It takes place in an abandoned warehouse picked out by Triple H, and that gives an idea right there that it’s not going to be anything we’ve seen with the empty-arena matches. This will have a different vibe, a different tone, and I can say personally it’s unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of before. I’m not going to compare it to the ‘Boneyard’ match or the ‘Firefly Fun House’ match—this is going to be its own unique beast. It’s gritty, it’s dirty, and it’s going to be physical.”

On the match being moved to NXT when Takeover: Tampa was canceled: “I’m 99.9 percent sure it’s going to happen. [laughs] But we’ve had quite the story, one you couldn’t predict. That’s been the story for Tommaso and me from the beginning. We’ve made the best of whatever we’ve been given from day one. When we started in NXT, we didn’t have contracts. We were two indie guys trying to make the best of it. It’s appropriate that it ends like this. If this took place perfectly, as planned, during a packed house on WrestleMania weekend, it wouldn’t have fit our story. Look back to when Tommaso first turned his back on me, when he turned on me in that ladder match—he tore his ACL, so we had to wait. And waiting made it even better. This fits our story. It couldn’t have ended any other way.”

ON the match not airing on WrestleMania: “I heard from a lot of people that wanted to see me and Tommaso at WrestleMania, and I appreciate that. When you grow up a wrestling fan, your dream is to wrestle at WrestleMania, but me and Tommaso are NXT through and through. If this is going to happen anywhere, it needs to happen in NXT. We were both big proponents of moving NXT to the USA Network. We wanted that stage, and now we have a chance to deliver the biggest NXT match yet on USA. Everyone is hanging out at home looking for something to watch. I’ve watched everything on WWE Network, I watched everything on Netflix, I watched everything on Hulu and Disney+, so I’m running out of things to watch, but WWE is still providing fresh, new content. It doesn’t get any better than the grand finale of me and Tommaso, and it’s only right that it needs to happen in NXT.”

On the match being entirely different from their past bouts: “You can’t compare this one to any of our prior matches. It’s going to live on its own. As a performer, my goal is always to reward the loyal viewers. We have very loyal fans in NXT, and me and Tommaso have so much backstory, and there will be a lot of looking back in this match. If you’ve been along for the ride, you’re going to recognize parts of this match that spark memories … I’m excited to see everyone’s thoughts after it airs. Seeing the reaction to the ‘Boneyard’ match, seeing the reaction to the ‘Firefly Fun House’ match, it’s all unique taste and all unique opinion. In this current climate, you’ve got to be unique to stand out, and I think this is going to be something special.”