When Leon Ruff captured the NXT North American Championship, he had a small assist from Damian Priest.
The Archer of Infamy provided just enough of a distraction to help Ruff capture the title, giving Gargano the unfortunate pattern of being unable to defend a title in NXT. Eventually Gargano’s issues with Priest put Ruff in a sad position where Ruff was forced to defend the title against both Priest and Gargano at TakeOver: War Games, giving Gargano a win to become a three-time North American Champion.
Priest had a chance to talk to Sean Waltman on the X-Pac 12360 podcast about the storyline with Leon Ruff, where he revealed that he didn’t exactly like the prospect of working with Ruff at first until he had a chance to get to know the up and coming star.
“When we first started [the storyline], I wasn’t 100% invested in it. I didn’t know what to expect and, of course, everybody has a better idea and everybody is the best booker ever. In my head, I had other ideas and I didn’t know him. ‘What are we doing?’ We did and got it done. Then I got to be around him a little more and have conversations. As we progressed and everything happened, I couldn’t imagine a cooler storyline that wasn’t about me but actually elevated and helped someone else, deservedly. I really like Leon Ruff. He’s just as lovable, humble, and respectful (as you see on TV). I’m really happy he’s getting this spotlight. I don’t know how his career is going to develop, but I look forward to watching it and being along for the ride. He hit my heart, just like most of the audience. I felt a bond to the person. He loves this business. It wasn’t something I was super enthused about, but I learned my lesson of, ‘not everything is going to be the way you think, but it’s probably going to be pretty good if you just trust.'”
It’s not often a wrestler admits to not being a fan of a storyline, only to have changed their line during the course of it or even in retrospect. Priest’s candid words about the storyline and about Ruff shows that sometimes an angle you don’t expect to be great is actually pretty interesting.
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