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Johnny Gargano
Garganow1international
Gargano as the Open the Freedom Gate Championship in 2012
Birth name John Anthony Nicholas Gargano[1]
Born August 14 1987 (1987-08-14) (age 30)[1]
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Spouse(s) Candice LeRae (m. 2016)
Website Johnny-Gargano.com
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Cedrick Von Haussen[1]
Joey Gray[2]
Johnny Gargano[1]
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[3]
Weight 199 lb (90 kg)[4]
Billed from Cleveland, Ohio[3]
The Land of Cleve, Ohio[5]
Trained By Josh Prohibition[1][5]
J.T. Lightning[1][3][5]
Debut 2005[1]

  John Anthony Nicholas Gargano[1][6] (born August 14, 1987)[1] is an American professional wrestler, signed to WWE and performing on the NXT brand, where he is a former NXT Tag Team Champion, as part of #DIY, alongside Tommaso Ciampa.

Gargano started his professional wrestling career in 2005, working for the Cleveland All–Pro Wrestling (CAPW) promotion. Over the following years, Gargano worked for some of the top promotions on the American independent circuit, including Chikara, Dragon Gate USA (DGUSA), Evolve and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG). Titles Gargano held include the Chikara Campeonatos de Parejas, the Evolve Tag Team Championship and DGUSA's Open the Freedom Gate Championship, which he held twice with his first reign lasting a record 873 days. During his independent days, Gargano also made appearances for national promotions Ring of Honor (ROH) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA).

After making sporadic appearances for WWE early in his career, Gargano took part in the company's tryout camp in June 2015. Afterwards, he began appearing regularly for NXT, eventually signing a contract in April 2016.

Early life Edit

Gargano was born on August 14, 1987, in Cleveland, Ohio.[1] He entered a professional wrestling ring for the first time at age eight, when Cleveland All–Pro Wrestling (CAPW) owner J.T. Lightning, who ran shows behind John's father's catering business, allowed him to roll around in the ring.[7] While studying in St. Edward High School, Gargano decided to enter CAPW's professional wrestling school in order to become a professional wrestler.[7] At age 16, Gargano began training at the Cleveland All Pro Training Center under J.T. Lightning and Josh Prohibition.[7] Gargano cites Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho and Johnny Saint as his role models.[5][7]

Professional wrestling career Edit

Dragon Gate USA (2009–2014) Edit

While wrestling for Chicago-based All American Wrestling (AAW), Gargano ran into Colt Cabana, who suggested he get in touch with former Ring of Honor booker Gabe Sapolsky, who was looking for talent for the Dragon Gate USA and Evolve Wrestling promotions, and tell him that Cabana sent him.[7] Gargano received a tryout match for Dragon Gate USA on July 25, 2009, at the tapings of the Enter the Dragon pay-per-view, wrestling in an eight-way elimination dark match, which was won by Lince Dorado.[8] On September 6 Gargano wrestled in another dark match at tapings of Untouchable, where he defeated Arik Cannon, Flip Kendrick, Hallowicked, Louis Lyndon, Prince Mustafa Ali, Shiima Xion and the Great Malaki in an eight-way elimination match.[9] On November 28 at Freedom Fight, Gargano made his pay-per-view debut by entering the tournament to crown the first Open the Freedom Gate Champion, but was eliminated in the first round in a six–way match with Hallowicked, Lince Dorado, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson and the winner of the match, Gran Akuma.[10] On January 16, 2010, Gargano participated in Evolve Wrestling's first show, defeating Chris Dickinson in a singles match.[11] Seven days later at Dragon Gate USA's fourth PPV, Fearless, Gargano wrestled in another dark match, losing to Kyle O'Reilly in a six-way match.[12] In May 2010 it was announced that Gargano had signed a contract with Dragon Gate USA.[7] On July 24, 2010, at Enter the Dragon 2010, Gargano wrestled his first singles match in Dragon Gate USA, losing to Cima, a founding father of Dragon Gate, the parent company of Dragon Gate USA.[13] At the following event on September 25, Gargano was defeated by Chuck Taylor in a four-way match, which also included Drake Younger and Rich Swann.[14] The following day Gargano offered himself to Cima's Warriors International stable, before defeating Drake Younger in a singles match.[15] On October 29 at Dragon Gate USA's first live pay-per-view, Bushido: Code of the Warrior, Gargano wrestled in a four-way match, which was won by Chuck Taylor and also included Arik Cannon and Ricochet. After Taylor turned down an offer from Cima to join his Warriors International stable, Gargano offered himself to Cima, but was turned down. Gargano confronted Cima again after his match, offering himself to Warriors International, before attacking him and his stablemate Ricochet, along with Chuck Taylor and Rich Swann. Taylor then announced that the three of them were forming their own stable called Ronin.[16] At the following day's tapings of Freedom Fight 2010, Ronin defeated Austin Aries, Genki Horiguchi and Ricochet in a six-man tag team match.[17]

On January 29, 2011, Gargano and Taylor entered a three-day-long tournament to determine the first ever Open the United Gate Champions. In their first tournament match, Gargano and Taylor defeated Blood Warriors representatives Naruki Doi and Ricochet and followed that up by defeating another Blood Warriors team of Cima and Dragon Kid the following day.[18][19] On January 30 Gargano and Taylor were defeated in the finals of the tournament by World–1 representatives Masato Yoshino and PAC.[20] On April 1 at Open the Southern Gate, Gargano had a rematch with Cima, with Ronin now working as a babyface group against Cima's Blood Warriors, but was defeated just like in the previous singles match between the two.[21] The following day at the Mercury Rising 2011 pay-per-view, Ronin was defeated in the main event six-man tag team match by the Blood Warriors team of Cima, Naruki Doi and Ricochet.[22] On April 3 at Open the Ultimate Gate, Austin Aries, who had just lost a match, where he had put his Dragon Gate USA career on the line, feigned passing the torch to his former rivals in Ronin, but instead ended up turning on them and joining Blood Warriors.[23] After picking up Evolve wins over Ricochet,[24] Frightmare,[25] and Jimmy Jacobs,[26] Gargano defeated Jon Davis on April 19 at Evolve's first live internet pay-per-view.[27] Later that same night, he defeated Chuck Taylor in a tiebreaker match to become Evolve's new wins leader with a record of 6–2.[27] On June 3 at Dragon Gate USA's Fearless 2011, Gargano faced Aries in a losing effort, but came back two days later at Enter The Dragon 2011 to force both Cima and Aries to submit in a six-man elimination tag team match, where he teamed with Rich Swann and Masato Yoshino with Brodie Lee being the third member of Blood Warriors.[28][29]

On September 10 at Untouchable 2011, Gargano was defeated in a singles match by Blood Warriors member Akira Tozawa.[30] The following day at Way of the Ronin 2011, Gargano picked up a major singles win over Naruki Doi, before announcing his intention of going for the Open the Freedom Gate Championship.[31] On November 13 at Freedom Fight 2011, Gargano defeated YAMATO to win the Open the Freedom Gate Championship.[32] On January 14, 2012, Gargano successfully defended the title against Ricochet in the final official professional wrestling match in the Asylum Arena.[33] Following the match, Gargano had to be helped backstage and rushed to a hospital with an apparent back injury.[34] He was released the following day.[35] Gargano returned to the ring on March 3.[36] On March 30, Gargano returned to Dragon Gate USA, when he and Chuck Taylor faced Masato Yoshino and Ricochet for the vacant Open the United Gate Championship. After Ronin had lost the match, Taylor turned on Gargano and broke away the stable.[37] The following day, Gargano successfully defended the Open the Freedom Gate Championship against Masato Yoshino, but was afterwards attacked by Chuck Taylor.[38] Following the merger of Dragon Gate USA and Evolve, Gargano successfully defended the Open the Freedom Gate Championship against Taylor on June 29 at Evolve 15.[39] On July 28 at Untouchable 2012, Gargano made another successful title defense against Akira Tozawa.[40] Prior to the event it had been reported that Gargano had been offered a developmental contract with WWE, however, following his win, Gargano announced that he had signed a two-year contract extension with Dragon Gate USA/Evolve.[41][42] The following day at Enter the Dragon 2012, Dragon Gate USA's third anniversary event, Gargano defeated Chuck Taylor in a non-title "I Quit" match to win the rivalry between the two former stablemates.[43] Gargano made another successful defense of the Open the Freedom Gate Championship on September 8, defeating Jon Davis at Evolve 17.[44] On November 4 at Freedom Fight 2012, despite a pre-match assault by Jon Davis, Gargano defeated Akira Tozawa, AR Fox and Ricochet in a four-way elimination match to retain the Open the Freedom Gate Championship and, as a result, made it to full year as the champion.[45]

On December 8 at Evolve 18, Gargano defeated Sami Callihan for his tenth successful defense of the Open the Freedom Gate Championship.[46] On January 26, 2013, Gargano defeated Jon Davis in a grudge match to retain the Open the Freedom Gate Championship.[47] The following day, Gargano defeated Brian Kendrick for his twelfth successful title defense.[48] On April 6 at Open the Ultimate Gate 2013, Gargano successfully defended the Open the Freedom Gate Championship against Shingo, after hitting him with a low blow and a chain, turning villainous in the process.[49] Gargano's streak of successful title defenses continued on June 2 at Evolve 22, where he defeated Samuray del Sol via submission, after unmasking him.[50][51] On July 28 at Enter the Dragon 2013, Dragon Gate USA's fourth anniversary event, Gargano successfully defended the title twice against Akira Tozawa. This was brought on by Gargano winning the first match following interference from Jon Davis.[52] On September 22 at Evolve 24, Gargano made his seventeenth successful defense of the Open the Freedom Gate Championship against former Ronin stablemate Rich Swann.[53] Having now held the Open the Freedom Gate Championship for two years,[54] Gargano made his eighteenth successful title defense on November 17 against Chris Hero, who was making his Dragon Gate USA debut following his release from WWE.[55] Gargano's successful title defenses continued in early 2014, when he defeated Uhaa Nation,[56] Trent Baretta,[57] and Roderick Strong.[58] On March 27, it was reported that Gargano had signed a contract extension with Dragon Gate USA.[59] On April 4, Gargano lost the Open the Freedom Gate Championship to Ricochet in a match one year in the making,[59] ending his two and a half year reign.[60] The rivalry between Gargano and Rich Swann culminated in an "Evolution's End" match on August 10, 2014, where Swann was victorious. Post-match, Gargano saved Swann from an attack by the Premier Athlete Brand of Anthony Nese, Caleb Konley and Su Yung.[61]

On November 16, 2014, during Dragon Gate USA's parent company WWNLive's tour of China, Gargano defeated Ricochet to regain the Open the Freedom Gate Championship, becoming the first two-time holder of the title.[62]

Dragon Gate (2011, 2012) Edit

On March 1, 2011, Gargano made his Japanese debut, when his Dragon Gate USA stable Ronin started their first three-week-long tour of Dragon Gate. In their first match of the tour, Gargano, Chuck Taylor and Rich Swann defeated Blood Warriors representatives CIMA, Naruki Doi and Naoki Tanizaki in a six-man tag team match.[63]

Gargano returned to Dragon Gate in October 2012, now aligned with the WORLD-1 International stable.[64] In his first match of the tour on October 6, Gargano teamed with Masato Yoshino and Naruki Doi to defeat Kaettekita Veteran-gun representatives Don Fujii, Gamma and Masaaki Mochizuki in a six-man tag team main event.[65] The following day, Gargano defeated Ryo "Jimmy" Saito for his eighth successful defense of the Open the Freedom Gate Championship.[66]

Personal life Edit

Gargano got engaged to fellow professional wrestler Candice LeRae in January 2016.[67] The two were married on September 16, 2016.[68]

In wrestling Edit

  • Finishing moves
    • Crosston Crab (Cross-legged Boston crab)[1]
    • Gargano Escape[69][70] / Garga-No-Escape[71] (Chickenwing over the shoulder crossface,[69] sometimes with a stepover toehold)[72]
    • Hurts Donut[3][69] / Uniquely You[6] (Full nelson lifted and dropped into a reverse STO)[1][69]
    • Swinging reverse STO[5]
  • Signature moves
    • Baby Ace Crusher (Running cutter to a kneeling opponent)[69]
    • Double knee backbreaker to an opponent seated on the top rope[6]
    • Lawn Dart[3][69] / You're Dead![69] (Running throwing snake eyes)[52]
    • Multiple kick variations
    • Running double knee strike to a cornered opponent[69]
    • Slingshot DDT[61][73][74][75]
    • Spear,[1][52] sometimes while slingshotting[3][76]
  • Managers
  • Nicknames
    • "All Heart"[77]
    • "(The Bee's Knees, The Cat's Pajamas and) The Whole Shebang"[69][78]
    • "Johnny Wrestling"[79]
    • "The WWN Icon"[80]
  • Entrance themes
    • "Don't Die Digging" by The Graduate[6]

Championships and accomplishments Edit

  • Absolute Intense Wrestling
    • AIW Absolute Championship (1 time)[1]
    • AIW Intense Division Championship (2 times)[81]
    • Gauntlet for the Gold (2012)[36]
    • Jack of All Trios (2010) – with Flip Kendrick and Louis Lyndon[82]
  • Championship Wrestling Experience
    • CWE Undisputed Championship (1 time)[83]
  • Chikara
    • Chikara Campeonatos de Parejas (2 times) – with Chuck Taylor[84]
    • The Countdown Showdown (2010)[85]
  • Cleveland All–Pro Wrestling
    • CAPW Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[1]
  • DDT Pro-Wrestling
  • Dragon Gate USA/Evolve Wrestling
  • International Wrestling Cartel
    • IWC Super Indy Championship (1 time)[89]
    • IWC Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Michael Facade[90]
  • Legacy Wrestling
    • Legacy Championship (1 time)[91]
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • Ranked No. 51 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2013[92]
  • Pro Wrestling Ohio/Prime Wrestling
    • PWO/Prime Heavyweight Championship (3 times)[1][93]
  • Smash Wrestling
    • Smash Wrestling Championship (1 time)[1]
  • Wrestling Cares Association
    • Race for the Ring Tournament (2014)[94]

References Edit

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  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named SuperstarsTryout
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