The opening match of last night’s episode of NXT saw arguably the biggest upset in NXT history when newcomer Leon Ruff defeated Johnny Gargano to win the NXT North American Championship.
The match was set up when it was revealed that Gargano would defend his title this week against a mystery opponent. On the day of the show it was announced that this challenger would be determined at random by Gargano’s ‘Wheel of Challengers’, featuring the names of a host of top NXT stars.
Needless to say, being a heel, Gargano’s plan wasn’t exactly on the up and up. The clearly rigged spin landed on Ruff’s name and Gargano feigned trepidation about facing a guy on the lowest rung of the brand.
Coming into the match with a 0-9 record, the champion clearly expected to make easy work of the former EVOLVE competitor and began the match in patronising fashion.
However, the smirk was soon wiped off Gargano’s face when, after a distraction from former champion Damian Priest, Ruff hit a crucifix bomb and secured a shock 1-2-3.
A stunned Gargano initially refused to give the belt to Ruff but the referee yanked it out of his hands and presented it to the stunned new champion.
Gargano, who only won the title two weeks ago at Halloween Havoc gave chase backstage but Ruff had left the arena with a little help from Priest to avoid Johnny Wrestling’s wrath.
With echoes of the 1-2-3 Kid’s famous upset win over Razor Ramon in 1993, we look forward to how Gargano reacts to this loss in the coming weeks.