Johnny Gargano’s return to WWE came out of nowhere a few weeks ago, and to hear him tell it, the inspiration for his comeback was just as unexpected.
Johnny Gargano was one of the top free agents in professional wrestling until he made his shocking debut on the August 22 episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. Rumors swirled for months that he’d eventually land in AEW, but nothing ever materialized. Johnny Wrestling decided not to re-sign at the end of 2021 to focus on his family.
Once Triple H took over WWE, he began bringing back some of his old favorites. Gargano was one of them, and his debut was something special. He didn’t interfere in an ongoing feud or pop up at a premium live event. Instead, his music hit around 15 minutes into Raw‘s final hour as the show came out of a commercial break, and the crowd went bonkers. Johnny felt like a big deal at that moment, and his slow-burning feud with former friend Austin Theory has the potential to evolve into some stellar matches.
WWE fans might be wondering what triggered Johnny Gargano’s incredible comeback, and it likely isn’t what most would assume. It wasn’t watching back his old matches with Ciampa or reliving his NXT glory days. Instead, it came while streaming a popular show on Netflix. Speaking on the After The Bell podcast, Gargano revealed what made him decide to return to the squared circle: “This is when I knew what I wanted to do. I was watching Stranger Things, and the song came on. The first thing that popped into my head was, ‘Wait a minute, that’s Shawn vs. The Undertaker song from WrestleMania.’ That’s where my mind went. I was like, ‘I remember that.‘” Gargano said he watched the hype video and sat in his kitchen while realizing, “this is what I want to do. I want this. This is where I want to be, and this is what I want to do. This is why I got into this.“
Johnny Gargano Wants His WrestleMania Moment
To be fair to Gargano, the Undertaker Vs. Shawn Michaels WrestleMania 26 promo package is one of the best of all time. Stranger Things might have popularized Running Up That Hill again, but a particular section of WWE fans remember the tune from this feud.
The allure of a WrestleMania moment has been a huge competitive advantage for WWE in recent months. Cody Rhodes left AEW to pursue his own ‘Mania moment and win a championship that always alluded his father. It sounds like something similar was tripped in Johnny Gargano’s mind as soon as he heard Running Up That Hill on Stranger Things. As if fans needed another reason to love Netflix’s smash hit.
Source: After The Bell