While the top champions of NXT, Finn Balor and Io Shirai, were not scheduled to show up during this week’s episode of the Black and Gold brand, there were still a few title matches booked for the night.
Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan were set to defend their tag team titles against Breezango, while Jake Atlas got a shot at the NXT Cruiserweight Championship during the night.
However, all eyes were on Johnny Gargano who looked to break the curse, much like Sasha Banks, and make his first successful NXT North American Championship defense.
Apart from these matches, Toni Storm was booked to compete against Candice LeRae, while Xia Li was unable to make it out for her match against Raquel Gonzalez.
With so much action scheduled for the night, we will look at the five things WWE NXT got right during this week’s show.
#5 Leon Ruff takes the WWE NXT North American Championship off Johnny Gargano
Johnny Gargano loves wheels, and that is exactly why the heel WWE NXT North American Champion brought a wheel to the ring to figure out who’d get a chance to challenge him for the title during the night. He replaced Austin Theory’s name with Leon Ruff and gave it a spin. It landed on Ruff, and it was evident that the champion was looking for Ruff to challenge him anyway.
The youngster came out with a big smile on his face and shook hands with Gargano before preparing to take him on. Gargano looked to shake off the curse and extend his NXT North American Championship reign.
He took the fight to the newer Superstar immediately and brutally kicked him down. When Ruff tried to make a comeback, The Rebel Heart threw him into the steel steps.
While it seemed like Gargano was going to make his first successful title defense, Damian Priest showed up to distract him. This also earned Ruff a roll-up victory, but Gargano kicked out before the three-count.
Ruff soon caught Gargano with a crucifix pin to pick up one of the most shocking upsets in WWE history. The victory allowed the 24-year old to pick up his first title in the company and surprise everyone watching the show.
This was an interesting booking that not only took the title away from Gargano after two weeks, but it also gave a newer Superstar a chance without much experience.
Gargano’s heel gimmick has been comical, but this was a bit too much, to say the least. WWE could have picked Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumis, or even Jake Atlas to take the title off Gargano. However, it was a good surprise that will likely help NXT build its newer Superstars while elongating the rivalry between Gargano and Priest.