Daniel Bryan Picks Which NXT Wrestler He Wants on SmackDown Live

While he may be returning to in-ring action on Sunday, Daniel Bryan still has the position of SmackDown Live general manager for the time being. And in-between matches at WrestleMania AXXESS on Saturday, the former world champion gave the name of the one NXT star he wants up on the blue brand immediately.

"So, I have one person specifically for a while," Bryan said. "There's a lot of guys on the NXT roster who are very talented. I was just watching in the back, and the tag match you guys saw with Jack Gallagher, Martin Stone and Tony Nese and Oney Lorcan. Those guys are just so talented, there's so many people on NXT who are extremely talented. But the one guy who, even though I want him to lose tonight, because I want to steal him. And that's Johnny Gargano."

"So I'm making it public. I want Johnny Gargano on SmackDown Live," Bryan said.

Gargano is competing on Saturday night in an unsanctioned match against Tomasso Ciampa at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans. If Gargano loses, he'll remain fired from NXT after losing his job in a match with Andrade Almas on an episode of NXT several weeks back.

Bryan and Gargano have a lot in common as both made a name for themselves on the independent wrestling scene and both compensate for their lack of height with excellent in-ring technical ability.

Gargano, also known as "Johnny Wrestling," first appeared in NXT back in 2015 alongside Ciampa (known for his time in Ring of Honor) as the tag team duo DIY. The duo faced each other in a grueling match during the 2016 Cruiserweight Classic, then began a feud with The Revival over the NXT Tag Team Championships. DIY finally captured the gold at NXT TakeOver: Toronto in November 2016 by winning a 2-out-of-3 falls match.

The friendship turned into one of the most bitter rivalries on WWE's developmental promotion in May 2017, when in the closing moments of NXT TakeOver: Chicago Ciampa brutally attacked Gargano after the two failed to win back the tag titles from the Authors of Pain. Ciampa was then off television as he'd legitimately suffered a torn ACL, but returned at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia in January to start the feud back up. Ciampa has repeatedly attacked Gargano with a crutch during and after matches and has been taunting him on social media leading up to Saturday night's match.

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