John Anthony Nicholas Gargano is a 33-year-old professional wrestler from Cleveland, Ohio. Gargano is currently signed with the WWE and wrestles on the company’s NXT brand under the ring name, Johnny Gargano. He is the current NXT North American Champion in his third title reign.
Gargano started training for his wrestling career in high school when he entered CAPW’s wrestling school. At the age of 16, he began training at the Cleveland All Pro Training Center under J.T. Lightning and Josh Prohibition.
Gargano’s Early Wrestling Career
Gargano made his professional wrestling debut in 2005 for Cleveland All–Pro Wrestling (CAPW). On October 8, 2006, Gargano defeated Josh Prohibition, M-Dogg 20, and Zach Gowen in a four-way match to win his first Championship, the CAPW Junior Heavyweight Championship.
In his early years, Gargano wrestled for various promotions including Absolute Intense Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Ohio, Chikara, Dragon Gate USA (DGUSA), Evolve and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG).
Johnny Gargano’s WWE Tryout
In June 2015, Gargano took part in a WWE tryout camp, and also wrestled at the June 18 NXT tapings, in a losing match to Uhaa Nation. He didn’t sign with the company initially but continued making appearances for NXT. He partnered with Tomasso Ciampa for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament to form the tag team, #DIY. In the first round, #DIY defeated the team of Bull Dempsey and Tyler Breeze but were eliminated from the tournament by Baron Corbin and Rhyno on the September 16 episode of NXT.
Though they didn’t win that tournament, #DIY eventually won the NXT Tag Team Championships at NXT TakeOver: Toronto from The Revival in November 2016. In January 2017, #DIY lost the titles to the Authors of Pain at NXT TakeOver: San Diego. Shortly after NXT TakeOver: Chicago, Tomasso Ciampa then turned on Gargano and they had multiple feuds between 2018 to 2020.
Johnny Gargano’s Main Roster Debut
In February 2019, Gargano made his main roster debut on RAW with NXT wrestlers, Ricochet, Tommasso Ciampa and Aleister Black. In his debut match, he and Ciampa defeated RAW Tag Team Champions, the Revival, in a non-title match. The following night, Gargano and Ciampa debuted on SmackDown and defeated The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus).
Gargano and Ciampa were eliminated in March from the 2019 Dusty Rhodes Classic and proceeded to then turned on each other. Ciampa had to vacate his NXT Championship due to a real-life neck injury requiring surgery and NXT announced Johnny Gargano would compete at NXT TakeOver: New York for the vacant championship against Adam Cole who had won a fatal five-way match to earn the right to replace Ciampa.
Johnny Gargano’s NXT Championship
At the event, Johnny Gargano defeated Cole in a two-out-of-three falls match to win the NXT Championship for the first time in his career, which also made him the first ever NXT Triple Crown Champion. Gargano lost the title only 57 days later to Adam Cole at NXT TakeOver XXV but was unsuccessful in regaining the title at a rematch at NXT TakeOver: Toronto. At the end of October 2019, Gargano reunited with Ciampa again but was attacked by The Undisputed Era and Finn Bálor. As a result, he suffered a legitimate neck injury when Bálor performed his signature move, 1916, on Gargano on the entrance ramp, sidelining him indefinitely.
Johnny Gargano returned in December 2019 and distracted Bálor during his NXT Championship match against Adam Cole, causing him to lose. After the match, Gargano attacked Bálor with a steel chair. Gargano and Bálor continued their feud at NXT TakeOver: Portland where Bálor defeated Gargano.
Johnny Gargano’s Feuds
On the April 29th episode of NXT, Johnny Gargano accompanied Candice LeRae (his real life wife) to the ring for her match against Kacy Catanzaro. In May, he debuted a new titantron and theme to match his heel persona. At NXT TakeOver: In Your House, he challenged Keith Lee for the NXT North American Championship but failed to capture the title.
On the July 22nd episode of NXT, Gargano fought Bronson Reed and Roderick Strong in a triple threat qualifying match to earn a spot in the NXT North American Championship Match at NXT: Takeover XXX, but lost after Reed pinned Strong. Gargano replaced an injured Dexter Lumis after a last chance match which he won.
At NXT TakeOver: XXX, Johnny Gargano failed to win the title but it was announced at the end of August that Gargano would be one of the competitors in the fatal 4-way Iron Man match for the September 2nd episode of NXT for the vacant NXT Championship. At the September 2nd fatal 4-way iron man match, Gargano failed to win the title.
Johnny Gargano Wins NXT North American Championship
On October 28, 2020, Gargano defeated Damian Priest at NXT’s Halloween Havoc event to become a two-time NXT North American Champion.
Gargano lost the NXT North American title on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 to Leon Ruff in a stunning upset. Gargano was distracted briefly at ringside by former NXT North American champion, Damian Priest, which allowed Ruff to beat him.
Johnny Gargano defeated Leon Ruff and Damian Priest in a Triple Threat Match at NXT War Games 2020 on December 6, 2020. Gargano’s title win has earned him the record of first-ever three-time North American Champion.
On the May 18th episode of NXT, Johnny Gargano lost the NXT North American Championship to Bronson Reed in a jaw-dropping Steel Cage Match.
Birth name: John Anthony Nicholas Gargano
Born: August 14, 1987, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Height: 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight: 199 lb (90 kg)
Spouse: Candice LeRae
Ring Name(s): Cedrick Von Haussen, Joey Gray, Johnny Gargano
Current Roster: WWE NXT
Finishing Move(s): Gargano Escape
Johnny Gargano’s Social Media:
Career Championships and Accomplishments
- Absolute Intense Wrestling
- AIW Absolute Championship (1 time)
- AIW Intense Championship (2 times)
- Gauntlet for the Gold (2012)
- Jack of All Trios (2010)
- Championship Wrestling Experience
- CWE Undisputed Championship (1 time)
- Chikara Campeonatos de Parejas (2 times)
- The Countdown Showdown (2010)
- Cleveland All–Pro Wrestling
- CAPW Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- DDT Pro-Wrestling
- Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship (1 time)
- Dragon Gate USA/Evolve Wrestling
- Evolve Tag Team Championship (1 time)
- Open the Freedom Gate Championship (2 times)
- Open the United Gate Championship (1 time)
- CITIC Cup (2014)
- Evolve Tag Team Championship Tournament (2016)
- International Wrestling Cartel
- IWC Super Indy Championship (1 time)
- IWC Tag Team Championship (1 time)
- Legacy Wrestling
- Legacy Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Ohio/Prime Wrestling
- PWO/Prime Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
- Smash Wrestling
- Smash Wrestling Championship (1 time)
- Wrestling Cares Association
- Race for the Ring Tournament (2014)
- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
- NXT Championship (1 time)
- North American Championship (2 times)
- NXT Tag Team Championship (1 time)
- First NXT Triple Crown Champion
- NXT Year-End Award (5 times)