#AndNEW: Leon Ruff Wins the NXT North American Championship

Leon Ruff NXT North American Champion

To say that this week’s episode of NXT started on a shocking note would be an understatement. To start the show, Johnny Gargano approached the ring, having recently defeated Damian Priest for the North American Championship at NXT Halloween Havoc. Tonight, the new champion opened the show, his “wheel of challengers” in the ring. Gargano acknowledged his failure to retain his first North American Championship in his first defense, believing himself to be cursed. However, he believed the wheel would help him. With a spin, the suspicious wheel landed on the name of Leon Ruff. Little did Gargano know that his potential trickery would only strengthen the supposed curse in question.

The match began with Johnny Gargano in control, as expected from the experienced North American Champion. This wasn’t to say that Leon Ruff lacked heart, however, as he attempted to fight back. However, Gargano continued to have the match in his favor, tossing the smaller Superstar into the steel steps. It would appear that “Johnny Wrestling” would finally be able to break the curse. That was, however, until former North American Champion Damian Priest appeared in the crowd.

This distracted Gargano, who was caught off guard by Ruff. The smaller Superstar was able to hit a crucifix bomb on the unsuspecting champion. The referee counted the pin and, to the surprise of everyone, Ruff was crowned the new NXT North American Champion. Ruff made his way up the ramp, Priest congratulating the new titleholder all the while. The physical title might not have been able to fit the new champion, but time will tell whether he grows into his newfound role. This week’s episode of NXT began on a surprising note, to say the least.

At 24 years old, Leon Ruff has been a contracted NXT Superstar since this past summer. He has made multiple WWE appearances, not just on NXT but 205 Live, Main Event, and Monday Night RAW. Before then, Ruff has made his name in various organizations, including EVOLVE Wrestling. It was here he became a one-time EVOLVE Tag Team Champion alongside AR Fox.

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