PODCAST RECAP AND REVIEW: E&C Pod of Awesomeness with Johnny Gargano on winning a wrestling match at 8 years old, how the name Johnny Wrestling came about, the great advice Shawn Michaels gave him

Daniel Bryan interview

Edge & Christian’s Pod of Awesomeness Recap

with Guest, Johnny Gargano 

By: Jeff Indelicato

Release Date: February 2, 2018


“For The Benefit of Those with No Time” (Top Stories)

  • E & C greatly enjoyed both Takeover & the Royal Rumble, and agreed with the decision to have Nakamura & Asuka as winners.
  • Being his worst critic, Johnny felt that his recent Takeover match against Almas was just okay, but has embraced it more since receiving acknowledgment from his peers.
  • He and Ciampa were originally thrown together as a way to put them in the Dusty Rhodes Tournament.
  • He grew up admiring Shawn Michaels and is now happy to have him as a coach, crediting HBK with helping him immensely.

“5 Second Pose of Timestamps”

0:00: Show Introduction/NXT Takeover/Royal Rumble review
57:00: Beginning of Johnny Gargano Interview/NXT Takeover match
1:30:00: Teaming with Tommaso Ciampa
1:47:00: Having Shawn Michaels as a coach
1:59:30: Thanks and Close

“You Think You Know Them” (Recap)

Show Introduction/NXT Takeover/Royal Rumble 0:00-57:00

The boys know that they have a stacked show, so they jump right into NXT: Takeover thoughts. For them, it was a good show that was highlighted by the fantastic bout featuring Andrade “Cien” Almas against Johnny Gargano. They were super impressed with Johnny, who they feel plays the underdog well, and could be next version of Daniel Bryan, while still being his own individual. Both competitors showcased an amazing display of athleticism, and while he doesn’t know where the story is going, Edge believes that it has to end now with Gargano winning the championship. They also give kudos to both for selling properly throughout the match.

Props also went to the Shayna Baszler/Ember Moon bout, along with the roll up finish. They dug what the wrestlers did during that match, but Edge equates Baszler’s elbow stomp to the Randy Orton punt, and feels that the move shouldn’t be done unless it’s the finish. He understood the story that they were trying to tell in the match, but that Shayna has enough in her arsenal, and should protect it.

Moving on to the Royal Rumble and beginning with A.J. Styles versus Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn….

Christian: It was cool, and he was glad Styles won. Edge agrees, but hates it when one guy is able to defeat two. He also believes that A.J. should be champion, but doesn’t want two of the company’s top heels to be booked to lose in such a way. Christian reminds Edge that while it was two on one, the rules kept one on the outside throughout the match, and the finish was due to a quick roll up, which protected Owens & Zayn. Booking thoughts aside, Edge still thought the match was great, and that all of the competitors are immensely talented. He also greatly enjoyed Owens wearing an Edge shirt on the preshow.

The boys really enjoyed the Uso’s vs. Gable/Benjamin, and think that the Uso’s are just on a different level right now. They also have high hopes for Chad Gable, and feel that he’s going to be a future player, comparing him to Kurt Angle.

Moving onto the Men’s Rumble, it was well done, with just the appropriate amount of surprises. E & C greatly enjoyed Rey Mysterio’s performance, and talk about what great shape he’s in. They were pleased with the performances of Almas, Rusev, Kofi, and of course, Finn Balor, who was in the ring the longest. They talk about how much pressure it is to be in the Rumble for such a long time, and how not only did he do a great job, but he came out stronger because of it. Edge’s main takeaway was that it truly felt like every entrant was an established character, which he hasn’t seen in a very long time. They enjoyed the Old School vs. New School face off, and further enjoyed Shinsuke Nakamura battling against Roman Reigns and John Cena. Overall, the right decision was made, and it is this kind of victory that will help put Nakamura over.   

Now onto the show closing Women’s Rumble, which Edge was also happy with that decision. They thought the match was well done, and set the template for the future. They also were glad with the decision to start with Sasha Banks, and were happy to see Lita and Trish Stratus in the match. In their minds, Trish and Lita were really the first two women to take wrestling to another place and show a glimmer of what the future could hold. Obviously Beth Phoenix was in the match, but when initially asked, she came to Edge for his advice. His response? “You were one of the girls that kept holding that torch during the lean years, and helped keep the hope alive started by the others. There’s only ever one first, and you can now be in the first Women’s Rumble.”

In addition, Beth is also the first woman to be in both a Men’s & Women’s Royal Rumble match, which is really cool. Christian adds that all of the women who helped clear the path for the Revolution deserved to be in that match, and adds Molly Holly to the list as well. Edge knows that it meant something to all of them, and that they all busted their tails. He also talks about how fun the Vickie Guerrero and Naomi spots were as well.  

As it relates to the closing moments, both men agree that the correct decision was made in having Asuka win the match. It was a great moment, and it keeps the undefeated streak complete without having any asterisks next to it. Ronda Rousey’s debut was also seen as a positive, even though they could understand why some people would feel that it overshadowed the Rumble itself. All in all though, it was a great moment, and all of the women involved in that Rumble should be proud.

Interview with Johnny Gargano 57:00-1:26:00

The boys open the show talking about what great shape Johnny is in. While he does have a nutritionist, Johnny admits that he eats quite a bit of Fruity Pebbles.

Diet aside, Edge talks about Gargano’s skills and decrees that there will no longer be a “star ranking” as it relates to matches. From here on out, there will only be a “Gargano ranking.” For example, the recent match against Cien was five out of five Garganos. Johnny laughs and appreciates all the kind words, especially since he looked up to Edge & Christian growing up. In fact, an 11 year old Gargano was in attendance on the night E & C fought The Hardy’s in the first ever Tag Team Ladder Match at No Mercy 1999.

How did Johnny become interested in wrestling? Growing up, he was always in to superheroes, like Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the Power Rangers. One day a friend came over and turned on wrestling. From that day forward, he was hooked. As he got older, he realized that he couldn’t be Batman for a living, but he could be a wrestler. His Dad owned a catering company, as well as a huge parking lot, so independent wrestling companies would book the lot in order to hold a show. Knowing that his son was a big fan, he’d ask if little Johnny could roll around the ring, to which the promoter would oblige.

In a funny story, one time a show was running behind, so the promoter had eight year old Johnny wrestle his friend in front of the crowd! Of course, Johnny went over with a Perfect Plex.

Since the show loves to jump around, Edge wants to talk about the Takeover match against Almas, which he felt was great. Being his worst critic, Johnny originally thought he did okay. He knows that the atmosphere for Takeover shows are always heightened and crazy, so at no point did he feel it was a match of the year type candidate. After going backstage, and receiving a lot of great feedback from his peers, he felt maybe it was better than he thought. He then watched the match back the next morning, and has now felt more positive about it. The support received has been crazy, but he makes sure to put over Almas, as it takes two to tango. They were blessed to have such a substantial amount of time to tell the story at 30+ minutes.

For Johnny, he would much rather go 25 to 30 minutes than 6 minutes, as he wants to tell a complete story. Edge appreciates that, and finds that comment even more interesting since Johnny was able to have an amazing match with Tommaso Ciampa in the Cruiserweight Classic in just 11 minutes. Gargano appreciates that, and remembers right before they went out, William Regal pulled him aside and said, “Don’t let me down.” Being the last match in front of the crowd made them a little nervous, but the fans were anticipating that match, and they had a great bout.

Speaking of Ciampa, the boys want to talk about the differences between singles wrestling and tag team wrestling. Johnny had never really been in a tag team before arriving in the WWE, and in truth, he and Ciampa were kind of just thrown together as a way to put them in the Dusty Rhodes Classic tournament.  They then realized that they had good chemistry together, and DIY was formed. Coming from singles, it was initially difficult for Johnny to learn how to wrestle as a tag team, but the duo’s clashing styles blended very well together. Fans and management took notice, especially after their fantastic feud with The Revival, which led to them becoming tag team champions. Gargano is a big fan of The Revival and thinks that they will continue to change the game of tag team wrestling.

Now that he’s back to singles wrestling, fans have continued to follow him, and he’s quickly become one of NXT’s most popular superstars. Johnny credits the reaction due to just being himself, which is a fan of wrestling, and not being shy about talking about the things that are cool. His advice to others is to never lose the fact that you are a fan, and always remember what made you a wrestling fan in the first place. Edge acknowledges that and believes that the fans can see through people that aren’t genuine or sincere. They look at Gargano and believe, “He’s one of us.” Johnny knows that his size also plays a factor, and that if he was six foot five, he’d wrestle a different style, but he’s not, and thinks that fans can definitely see themselves in him.

How did the nickname Johnny Wrestling come about? He remembers Johnny Manziel once being referred to as Johnny Football, so he just sent out a random tweet saying “If he can be Johnny Football, then I can be Johnny Wrestling.” The next week, fans latched on to it, and it just went from there. Fast forward to his promo after the Ciampa attack, and practicing it in front of the writers and producers. He pitched to close it with a Johnny Wrestling reference, but the writers were a little hesitant, so he decided not to include it. Funny enough, he then practiced it in front of Triple H, who made the suggestion that he close it by referring to himself as Johnny Wrestling.

As listeners of the show are aware, one of E & C’s biggest pet peeves has been the lack of selling by current wrestlers, so they are very appreciative of the fact that Gargano doesn’t throw things away and knows how to sell. They believe that his offense is great, but that he really shines when selling. Johnny thanks them, and acknowledges that Shawn Michaels has really helped him an immense amount since joining the Performance Center as a coach. He remembers having a conversation with HBK, and inquiring about different moves and things he should do. Michaels’ response: “Nope, just sell.” Johnny credits Shawn as being a tremendous influence on him, and one of the biggest reasons why he became a wrestler, so to spend time learning from Mr. WrestleMania has been great. They all discuss what a master seller Shawn was, and how he could take it to the next level, while making a match mean so much more. Johnny mentions that he was so excited to introduce Shawn to his mother at the recent Takeover event, since he was such a fan as a kid.

We then begin to wrap up the conversation, and close with the recent announcement that Johnny’s wife, Candice LeRae was recently signed by the WWE. He is tremendously excited for her, as she is one of his favorite wrestlers, and that is not just because they are married.

E & C close out the interview, wish their guest well, and look forward to seeing what’s next out of Johnny Wrestling.

Close 1:59:00-2:04:00

The boys close out the show, and advise fans to follow the show on Twitter @EandCPod, E-Mail them at ecpodofawesomeness@gmail.com, and call their Voicemail at 929-367-8204.

Jeff’s Take:  8 Kazoos out of 10

I really dug the show this week. I liked the substance and good reviews of the previous weekend’s events. Sometimes, the reviews go very quickly with a general statement, but you could tell E & C were very passionate about Takeover & the Rumble, which led to a good conversation along with specific reasons about why something worked or didn’t. Johnny’s interview was also good and went by quickly. It was interesting to learn a little bit more about him, along with his thoughts on his career thus far. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @the_Indel or send me an email at indelpw@gmail.com. See you next week!

About the Author

Jeff has been a fan of professional wrestling since he was knee high to a grasshopper (little kid), after coming across the Wrestling Challenge episode after WrestleMania 7, and has not looked back. His passion has led him to winning wrestling trivia contests in his city, and even won him his Senior Talent Show by dancing to Shawn Michaels theme song. When not annoying others with wrestling talk, he loves spending time with his family and friends, and focuses on his other passion: movies.  

For more, check out E&C Pod of Awesomeness with Corey Graves.

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