Leon Ruff pulled off the unthinkable last week on WWE NXT when he defeated Johnny Gargano for the NXT North American Title. This was a shocking moment for everyone involved, and it didn’t set in for Ruff until he got backstage.

Ruff trained under AR Fox, and he has only been wrestling for three years. His first real spotlight was with EVOLVE, and he soon found his way to an NXT contract after several enhancement roles on WWE television.

While speaking to WWE The Bump, Leon Ruff was elated to get his own graphic on the show. That small detail was one of several he has experienced in the past week. He then revealed that his girlfriend, NXT referee Aja Smith, was the first person he spoke to backstage before his big win really set in.

“The first person I talked to was my girlfriend Aja Smith. She came up to me with tears in her eyes, she was crying. She was so happy, and I was just — when I saw her I was able to calm down and take a deep breath. That’s when everything hit me. That’s when I realized what I accomplished and that’s when I realized my hard work paid off.”


Johnny Gargano will get a chance to win that NXT North American Title back this week. We’ll have to see how that turns out because Gargano doesn’t plan on going easy on Ruff at all. This could also be the start of a big new push for Leon Ruff if things work out for him.

Transcription by Ringside News

Felix Upton

Felix Upton is a seasoned writer with over 30 years of experience. He began his career writing advertisements for local newspapers in New York before transitioning to publishing news for Ringside News. His expertise includes writing, editing, research, photo editing, and video editing. In his free time, he enjoys bungee jumping and learning extinct languages.

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