Johnny Gargano fought in the most important wrestling federations in the American independent scene, such as Dragon Gate USA, Absolute Intense Wrestling, EVOLVE, Chikara and others, before making his WWE debut in the summer of 2015, specifically at NXT, during the Dusty Rhodes tournament.
Tag Team Classic paired with Tommaso Ciampa, together with #DIY, with whom he also held the NXT Tag Team Championship once, while in single he won the NXT Championship once and the NXT North American Championship twice (a record).
With the victory of the NXT Championship in 2019, Gargano became the first NXT Triple Crown winner. Johnny Gargano is now a two-time NXT North American champion, and he discussed his title reign in a new interview with GameSpot’s Wrestle Buddies podcast.
Johnny Gargano on his title reign
“My last reign, I was way too worried and concerned about the climb, then the view from the mountain top. I couldn’t enjoy the view. You know, I was so worried about getting that title, getting there.
I think that’s been the story of Johnny Gargano with his titles. It’s always the fight to get the title. It’s always the rise to get [it]. With this North American Championship, I want the opportunity to take that and elevate it, make it mean more than it already does; make it more important than it already is.
I haven’t had that chance yet to have the true title reign that I’m proud of. So I think that is my goal with this title to take that North American title and make it mean so so so much more" - Johnny Gargano said.
On wanting to elevate the title, he added: “Growing up, the Intercontinental title was always like the work-rate title. There’s always a title you would look at as, like, this is the match I got to see. That is my goal with the North American Title is to take that title and make it the most work-rate title you’ve ever seen in your life.
The first name that pops in my head is Kyle O’Reilly. Johnny Gargano vs. Kyle O’Riley hasn’t happened one on one in an NXT ring. Another guy, I will say it’s Kushida. I have never faced Kushida in my life, it feels like mash-up very well.
We never crossed paths. So I think that would be a match as well. That could be something very special”. After making sporadic appearances for WWE early in his career, Johnny Gargano took part in the company's tryout camp in June 2015.
Afterwards, he began appearing regularly for NXT, eventually signing a contract in April 2016. He formed a tag team, #DIY, with Tommaso Ciampa, and held the NXT Tag Team Championship once. Following their split up and heated rivalry, Gargano captured the NXT North American Championship in January 2019 and won the NXT Championship in April the same year. With the win, Gargano became the first-ever NXT Triple Crown Champion.