Johnny Gargano had been laying low since his departure from NXT in December, then he popped up out of nowhere for a cameo spot on Thursday night’s Impact Wrestling.
The context for Gargano’s appearance was to support an old friend. Alex Shelley earned his first shot at the Impact World Championship by defeating Motor City Machine Guns partner Chris Sabin last week. Shelley will challenge Josh Alexander for the gold at Emergence on Friday, August 12.
During a hype video for Shelley, Gargano added these kind words.
Johnny Gargano: In my opinion, Alex Shelley is one of the most underrated, most influential wrestlers of his generation. There are a lot of guys on television currently that would not be in the position they’re in without the influence of Alex Shelley.
Here is the full segment from the Impact broadcast.
.@JohnnyGargano, KUSHIDA, @SuperChrisSabin, and more discuss the vast influence @fakekinkade has had on wrestling heading into Shelley’s World Championship match against Josh Alexander on August 12 at #EMERGENCE in Chicago.— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) July 29, 2022
Get tickets and be there LIVE: https://t.co/kGwSci8S90 pic.twitter.com/JB228QJgyT
Gargano echoed a similar sentiment when Shelley arrived to NXT in 2020.
Johnny Gargano: A lot of people may not know who Alex Shelley is. I’d recommend going on YouTube, YouTubing Alex Shelley and watching how amazing he is. He is one of the best technical wrestlers I’ve ever seen, and he’s just got something about him. And for me as a young wrestler growing up, I got the opportunity to wrestle Alex Shelley many times, and I learned so much from him. He’s like a big brother to me. So to see him now in NXT playing for our team, it’s awesome.
In a post from 2019, Gargano expressed gratitude for Shelley’s influence.
2006 to 2019— Johnny Gargano (@JohnnyGargano) November 27, 2019
I can safely say that I wouldn't be the wrestler I am today if it wasn't for this guy..
Alex Shelley's fingerprints are all over the style of my generation..
He's inspired a large number guys you watch on TV every week.
Great to see him at the @WWEPC last month! pic.twitter.com/hLgPoBZaHC
Funny enough, it was Gargano who sent Shelley packing on the indies in a Loser Leaves AIW match in 2016. After all these years, Gargano is paying back the rub as Shelley prepares for the biggest match of his career at Emergence.
Would you like to see Johnny Gargano step into the Impact Zone, even if for a short visit?