Instinct Culture by Denise Salcedo interviewed the new NXT North American Champion, Leon Ruff after his surprising victory over Johnny Gargano. In our conversation he talks about what winning the title meant to him, how and when he found out he was winning, dream opponents he has within NXT, and advice he was given from mentors such as: Tommaso Ciampa, Shawn Michaels and Triple H. Towards the end of the stream we also play a fun lightning round Q&A game where we get to learn more about who Leon Ruff is.
Leon Ruff Thought It Was A Joke When Matt Bloom Told Him He Was Winning The NXT North American Championship From Johnny Gargano
That moment everything that I did to pursue wrestling, every sacrifice that I made was worth it. I felt validated. It felt good to know that it paid off, I did myself a good job. I was doing a lot of work and I just kept telling myself, ‘if you keep doing this one day it will all pay off.’ So when it all did it was a great moment….I couldn’t believe it because at first I thought it was a joke. I thought somebody was playing a prank on the new guy; ‘ Yo, we’re gonna make him believe this and then we’re gonna see how he looks when we tell him no’ but when I found out it was real, I had to take a second to think because Johnny Gargano is somebody that I admire a lot. When I discovered who he was on the independent scene I started to watch a lot of his matches and his documentaries. I used to write a lot of notes about him, so not only to wrestle him on TV but to take the title from him it was mind blowing, I couldn’t believe I got the opportunity to do it and I felt really fortunate.
Leon Ruff Credits His Match with Aleister Black For Helping Him Get Noticed on NXT
I can honestly say it was the Aleister Black match because we ended up having a match twice. I see a lot of wrestlers that will come and just go through the motions and get it over with because they’re not shining, they’re not the stars, but I feel that with me they saw somebody who was willing to take the extra step, go the extra mile, no matter how much time he’s given that he’ll make the most of it. I felt like that’s what they saw, somebody who makes the most out of a little.
Leon Ruff Names The NXT Talents He Would Like To Defend His NXT North American Championship Against
As champion, I would love to face Timothy Thatcher. I would love to face Adam Cole. I would love to face Tommaso Ciampa again, he’s just a great guy. Cameron Grimes, and Dexter Lumis; love , love to work with Dexter Lumis.
To listen to the audio version of this interview, click here.