During the NXT TakeOver: Toronto main event on Saturday night, Johnny Gargano failed to regain the NXT Championship from Adam Cole in a two-out-of-three-falls match with various stipulations that lasted close to an hour. Given the events that took place immediately after that match, speculation is rife that the man known to fans as “Johnny Wrestling” could be making a permanent move to the main roster in the coming days or weeks.
According to WrestlingNews.co, the aftermath of Gargano’s match against Cole at TakeOver: Toronto saw the former NXT Champion getting a standing ovation from the audience at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena and receiving a hug onstage from NXT General Manager William Regal. The publication noted that fans seemed to interpret this as Gargano’s way of saying goodbye to his erstwhile brand as he prepares to join Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live on the main roster.
Likewise, Comic Book also pointed out in a separate report that there has been speculation that Gargano could be called up permanently to the main roster in due time. However, the outlet also quoted WWE executive and occasional wrestler Paul “Triple H” Levesque, who said in a post-show conference call that fans will have to wait and see if Gargano was indeed bidding NXT farewell in the aftermath of his loss to Cole at TakeOver: Toronto.
“As far as whether it’s his swan song and he’s done or he remains, there’s another show this week coming up, you’ll see.”
A three-year mainstay of NXT, Johnny Gargano had a brief stint on WWE’s main roster earlier this year as he took part in a number of tag team matches alongside Tommaso Ciampa. But with Ciampa suffering a neck injury shortly after, as noted by Bleacher Report, Gargano was moved back to the yellow-and-black brand after just a few weeks, competing on both Raw and SmackDown Live. He then defeated Adam Cole at TakeOver: New York in April and became a first-time NXT Champion before losing the belt back to Cole at TakeOver: XXV in June.
Per Comic Book, Gargano is also notable for his status as NXT‘s first-ever Triple Crown Champion, as he had previously spent some time holding the brand’s two other men’s titles. Teaming up with Ciampa, he became an NXT Tag Team Champion in November 2016 but had to wait more than two years before his next title reign, as he defeated Ricochet in January of this year to become NXT North American Champion.