IWE interview with JOHNNY GARGANO!
I conducted an interview with a man who is currently one of the top guys on the indy wrestling scene. Star of Dragon Gate USA, EVOLVE and more…..JOHNNY GARGANO!!
IWE: Hi Johnny Gargano, how are you?
Johnny Gargano: How am I? In a physical sense?.. or a spiritual sense?… or a sixth sense? This is a pretty deep question, man.. I don’t know.. Short answer? I’m doing just swell. No complaints!
IWE: What made you want to become a wrestler, and how did you go around doing it?
Johnny: Well, I wanted to be a Power Ranger, A Ninja Turtle, and Dennis The Menace when I was growing up.. turns out, unfortunately those aren’t real job titles. Who knew, right? I always mimicked what I saw on television, so of course I was a huge fan of Professional Wrestling growing up and I wanted to be apart of it. My Dad owns a catering company, and knew of my love for Pro Wrestling, so when an independent company came to him wanting to run a show in his back parking lot, he went with it. I was allowed to get in the ring at the show, and they showed me a few things (sidenote: horribly unprofessional as I was 8. Shrug.).. it kinda snowballed from there. I got formal training when I was 13 and had my first pro match at 16/17.
IWE: Do you have an all time favourite wrestler?
Johnny: I do. That Shawn Michaels guy is PRETTY good. Also.. favOUrite? Not favorite? Are you Canadian? Those Canadians with there random adding of U’s to things! Bah!
IWE: You are well known as one of the top stars in Dragon Gate USA, EVOLVE and Chikara, but they are not the only companies you wrestle for. Where else do you work?
Johnny: Most notably, I wrestle alot in my hometown of Cleveland, OH for Pro Wrestling Ohio (pwowrestling.com) and Absolute Intense Wrestling (aiwrestling.com). Two awesome places definately worth checking out! I’ve also gotten the honor of wrestling for Dragon Gate in Japan as well.
IWE: Your stable in DGUSA, Ronin, have taken the company by storm in the past year. In the finale of your feud with Blood Warriors, you eliminated both CIMA and Austin Aries via submission. You have usurped Aries as the top American guy, a role previously occupied by Davey Richards and Bryan Danielson. Did you expect to have so much success when you debuted for the company back in 2009?
Johnny: Um.. I’d LIKE to say yes.. but probably not, ha. I remember the very first DGUSA very vividly though. I remember it was actually my very first time in the Arena. I remember sitting up in the balcony being absolutely blown away watching The Young Bucks take on CIMA and Yokosuka. I thought to myself.. “man.. I wish I could do that” and now to be put in that position to go out there and have top tier matches with some of the best talent in the WORLD is absolutely amazing to me. It’s something i’m very proud of. I’m my own worst critic, and to even be mentioned in the same breathe as some of those guys.. is something i’m truly honored by. Trust me, It’s only the beginning though. Only the beginning.
IWE: In March, you made your debut in Japan for Dragon Gate. How did that go, and how did it differ from wrestling in America?
Johnny: Japan has always been my dream, so to be able to go over there for a company the stature of Dragon Gate was of course a dream come true. I loved it over there. In America, sometimes “Rasslin” is looked down upon, but over there the fans really treat it like a sport. It’s a HUGE deal to them. It’s a super cool atmosphere to be in as a wrestler.
IWE: What was the biggest match of your career (and why)?
Johnny: I got the chance to take on Bryan Danielson in one of his first matches back from WWE. It was for AIW, and we went to a 30 Minute Draw in my hometown. The one thing I can say about Bryan is he brings it every single time he steps in the ring. You dont realize how good someone truly is until you’re in the ring with him. Bar none, Bryan is the best wrestler I’ve ever been in the ring with, and the best wrestler in the world in my book. That match is to this day one of my favOrites. (See what I did there? Called that little Canadian grammar joke back, bam!)
IWE: Was that your favourite match?
Johnny: AHHH! Again with the U’s! Yes that was one of them. I also wrestled CIMA in North Carolina at the Open The Southern Gate show, which you can catch NOW at WWNLive.com (PLUG!) and we beat the crap out of one another, man. The crowd was electric and I really think that match helped solidify me in DGUSA. Like I said, I’m my own worst critic, so I barely like any of my matches.. but that’s one I’m proud of.
IWE: In 2007, you appeared on an episode of WWE SmackDown as Cedrick Von Haussen, in a match with MVP. How was that experience?
Johnny: That was my first “taste” of WWE, and it was a VERY big deal for me at the time. I was 19, and it was just that.. an experience. It really helped open my eyes to the wrestling world. Also.. when I came in the back after the match Vince Mcmahon said “Good Job, kid”.. so I probably could of retired after that and been happy.
IWE: Your second WWE appearance was as a security guard on NXT last year. Had much changed in the 3 years since you’d last been there?
Johnny: I dont think so. Not really. I’d grown up alot! Ha!
IWE: What are the biggest matches/shows you have lined up this summer?
Johnny: EVOLVE 9: GARGANO (That’s me) VS Taylor is on July 26th and you can watch that live on WWNLIVE.COM.. as you can tell by the name, it’ll be myself VS my brother from a completely different mother, Chuck Taylor. That should be quite the contest! On August 7th for Pro Wrestling Ohio , Wrestlelution 4 it’ll be a match pretty much 4 years and beyond in the making as I take on my mentor(s) and friend(s) per say. It’s Johnny Gargano vs Josh Prohibition vs Matt Cross (From WWE Tough Enough)! Go to PWOWRESTLING.COM for the info on how to watch that bad boy live online! That’s gonna be something! Then the big DGUSA midwest shots on Sept 9th, 10th, and 11th! A lot of cool stuff on the horizon!
IWE:Thanks very much for participating in this interview Johnny. Good luck with EVOLVE 9!
Note from Lee: Click the banner at the top of this page to sign up for wwnlive! There you can watch EVOLVE 9, Open The Southern Gate, and many other shows featuring Johnny Gargano!
Another note from Lee: Dragon Gate USA recently made Johnny Gargano vs Jimmy Rave (from Open The Ultimate Gate 2011) available for free download at the following link:
Yet another note from Lee: I’ve since informed Johnny that I’m English, and it is actually Americans who spell “favourite” incorrectly.
More Chikara matches announced
Chikara have announced some more matches for their shows at the end of the month.
Friday June 24th ( The Case Of The Bulletproof Waldo)
Tag Team Match: The Osirian Portal (Ophydian & Hieracon vs Emperador & Ripper
Saturday June 35th - A Demon In His Pocket
Tag Team Match: Hallowicked & Frightmare vs Johnny Gargano & Chuck Taylor
Sunday June 26th - The Evil That Lies Within, Part 4
Cheech Hernandez vs Jakob Hammermeier
Thoughts: I haven’t seen Emperador & Ripper before, they are from the Chicago based Lucha Libre promotion GALLI. I’ll have to look them up. Hallowicked and Frightmare have impressed me in the past, and the Ronin guys are great (Gargano especially), so their match on Saturday should be a good one.
Click “Chikara” on the left of this page to view the full line ups for both shows (or scroll down if you are already reading this on the Chikara page)!