Johnny Gargano went from the ultimate underdog babyface in NXT to one of the top heels in the company, aligning himself with his wife Candice LeRae and acquiring two "children" in Indi Hartwell and Austin Theory.
The Way has become one of the more popular acts on NXT, quickly forming a dynamic and chemistry that most may not have been able to predict given Gargano's success as a babyface.
Speaking to Ryan Satin on Out of Character, Gargano discussed how The Way came about.
"Towards the end of my face run -- you do something for so long, you just get bored with it and I was creatively stifled to where I was like, 'I feel like I need to turn or change.' Hunter felt the same way. The pitch originally came with 'What about Candice?' She felt the same way and we felt together, as a package, could refresh both of us. Then came the idea of doing the Gargano Way and a faction would be a cool thing. The idea of Evolution came to my mind. Austin Theory was a guy I worked with in EVOLVE and I pitched it as him being the Randy to my Hunter and I could help him improve and get comfortable while giving him a spotlight. Indi was someone that we were big fans of and we likened her to Dave Batista. We call her 'Big Dave' all the time. We likened it to Evolution to infuse these characters on-screen and give them a platform to grow and get comfortable. It's worked wonders for Indi and Austin. Having the chance to get comfortable in a group, but also get comfortable in the ring and on pre-tapes, they've grown so much. I'm so proud of them because they are immensely talented and they're going to be stars for this company for a long time," he said.
Gargano continued to praise Indi, saying she has "it" in wrestling and reiterating that she will be a major star for the company.
When discussing the original idea for the group, Gargano said, "When I pitched the whole faction idea, the whole sitcom and family was not something I pitched, it was something we ran into and it came when we filmed the Christmas special to where everyone was interacting with each other and we were joking around a lot, calling Austin and Indi our kids. It became something that took off on-screen and it became our dynamic and everyone latched onto it. It's something incredibly different."
Gargano revealed to Fightful that he sent a long e-mail to Triple H and the writers about different ideas for him as a heel, while also discussing how he believes crowds will react to The Way once NXT is on the road again. You can find his full comments by clicking here.
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