#AndNEW: Johnny Gargano Wins the NXT North American Championship

Johnny Gargano NXT TakeOver WarGames

At NXT TakeOver: WarGames, Leon Ruff defended the North American Championship against Johnny Gargano and Damian Priest in a triple threat match. This was Ruff’s second defense of the title in question. By the end of the night, a new titleholder was crowned. With assistance from a band of Ghostface mask-wearing assailants, Gargano ended the night as a three-time North American Champion.

The main story heading into this match was Leon Ruff, who originally won the North American Championship from Johnny Gargano in November. This was done with some assistance from Damian Priest, who had his own ongoing issues with the NXT Triple Crown Winner. In what was considered one of the biggest surprises of NXT in 2020, Ruff upset Gargano for the title. While Ruff was in over his head, the title victory instilled ample confidence in the newcomer. Suffice to say, this triple threat match would prove to be Ruff’s greatest challenge yet.

Ruff was stuck between a rock and a hard place in this match. While Gargano showed no hesitation in attacking the young Superstar, Priest appeared more reluctant, simply instructing Ruff to stay out of his way. Despite this, an overconfident Rush continued to prod Priest. This resulted in Priest snapping, sending Rush through the barricade with a powerful Razor’s Edge. As a result, Ruff appeared unable to continue, being helped to the back. However, as the match went on, a defiant Ruff returned, his mind set on retaining his North American Championship.

The match began to shift in favor of Gargano once the familiar Ghostface mask-wearing assailants stormed the ring. Priest began to fight them off valiantly, even performing multiple dives to take out the large clusters. It seemed as though the “Archer of Infamy” had the match won. That was, however, until one last masked attacker struck Priest in the back with a lead pipe. This allowed Gargano to capitalize on a weakened Ruff, hitting One Final Beat to claim his third North American Title. As Gargano made his way up the ramp, the final attacker unmasked, revealing himself as Austin Theory. Having been absent from NXT television since October.

Leon Ruff’s North American Championship reign ended at 25 days, with only one successful defense under his belt. With this title victory, Johnny Gargano sets another record as the first, and only, three-time North American Championship. Additionally, he is the only wrestler to hold the championship on multiple occasions. What does this newfound alliance with Austin Theory mean for “Johnny Wrestling” and his band of Ghostface mask-wearing crew? Tune into NXT on Wednesday to find out.

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