WWE hasn't been short on surprise returns this summer, and another beloved wrestler is back in the fold after exiting the company. On Monday night's episode of WWE Raw — broadcasting live from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto — former NXT Champion Johnny Gargano returned. Gargano left WWE in December 2021, never making a proper debut on WWE's main roster shows, Raw and SmackDown. He has been inactive from professional wrestling all year, with many wondering if he'd return to WWE, sign with All Elite Wrestling (AEW) or retire from active competition. (You can tune in to WWE Raw on USA Network via Fubo TV or another live service.)
He totally surprised fans tonight, coming out without notice — or spoilers surfacing on wrestling blogs — to cut a promo announcing his return. His former The Way stable-mate, Theory, joined him in the ring afterward, but it was not a joyous reunion. Theory bragged about all he's done since Gargano exited the company and warned his former ally not to interfere with his momentum as the Money in the Bank contract holder. Theory then threw out a peace offering to the returning Superstar, but Gargano shut him up with a Super Kick.
While he's less familiar to Raw and SmackDown viewers, wrestling fans who tuned in to NXT in recent years know Gragano as one of the show's pillars. He is a 1-time NXT Champion, 3-time NXT North American Champion and 1-time NXT Tag Team Championship (while teaming with Tommaso Ciampa, who is now a Raw regular going by only his last name). A large part of his run was as a member of The Way, which also included his real-life wife Candice LeRae, Theory (then called Austin Theory), Indi Hartwell and Dexter Lumis (who also recently returned to WWE in the form of some wild show-crashing and abduction scenes).
Gargano's return is one of several big returns that have freshened up WWE's programming since Triple H (real name Paul Levesque) took over creative duties in light of Vince McMahon's sexual misconduct scandals and subsequent retirement. In addition to returns from Gargano and Lumis, Dakota Kai, Hit Row (Ashante "Thee" Adonis, B-Fab and Top Dolla), Karrion Kross and Scarlett have all re-signed to WWE. Additionally, Bayley has returned to action, and NXT all-star IYO SKY (formerly Io Shirai) debuted on the main roster.
WWE Raw airs live each Monday night on USA Network, which is viewable via cable providers or live stream services such as Fubo TV. (Click here for a free trial.) Episodes are available to watch the next day via Hulu and 30 days later via Peacock. Highlights from each episode are uploaded to YouTube in the hours following the live broadcast.