At Halloween Havoc, Johnny Gargano became the North American Champion for a second time after beating Damian Priest in a Devil’s Playground match. The newly-crowned NXT secondary title-holder has big plans for his upcoming run though, including who he’d like to defend his title against.
NXT’s Triple Crown Champion–Gargano has held the NXT, North American, and Tag Team Championships–will be doing things differently this time around. “My last reign, I was way too worried and concerned about the climb, than the view from the mountain top,” Gargano told GameSpot during an episode of the Wrestle Buddies podcast. “I couldn’t enjoy the view. You know, I was so worried about getting that title, getting there. I think that’s been the story of Johnny Gargano with his titles. It’s always the fight to get the title. It’s always the rise to get [it].
“With this North American Championship, I want the opportunity to take that and elevate it, make it mean more than it already does; make it more important than it already is. I haven’t had that chance yet to have the true title reign that I’m proud of. So I think that is my goal with this title to take that North American title and make it mean so so so much more.”
And in order to accomplish that, Gargano plans on elevating the status of the title, which made its debut in the spring of 2018. “Growing up, the Intercontinental title was always like the work-rate title,” Gargano said. “There’s always a title you would look at as like, this is the match I got to see. That is my goal with the North American Title is to take that title and make it the most work-rate title you’ve ever seen in your life.”
And looking at the current NXT roster, there are plenty of contenders that can truly help make the North American Championship the title to keep your eyes on for great matches. Gargano himself has a few ideas of wrestlers he’d like to face in the ring. “The first name that pops in my head is Kyle O’Reilly. Johnny Gargano vs. Kyle O’Riley hasn’t happened one on one in an NXT ring. Another guy, I will say it’s Kushida. I have never faced Kushida in my life, it feels like mash up very well. We never crossed paths. So I think that would be a match as well. That could be something very special.”
You can see the North American Champion Johnny Gargano on Wednesday nights on NXT, which airs on USA at 8 PM / 7 PM CT.
For more with Gargano, make sure to tune into the November 12 episode of GameSpot’s wrestling podcast Wrestle Buddies. We will talk to the North American Champion about his feelings about NXT, his brief stint on Raw and Smackdown, and why he loves wheels so much. Additionally, make sure to check out the November 5 episode when we talk to former WWE announcer Lilian Garcia.