Leon Ruff wanted a chance to prove he wasn’t a joke, and that his North American title win wasn’t a fluke. He got it with a Triple Threat title defense against former champs Johnny Gargano and Damian Priest at TakeOver: WarGames.
Working in his favor was the fact Gargano and Priest really, really don’t like each other. The Archer of Infamy was focused on Johnny from the moment he locked eyes with him. He dispatched Ruff at times so he could get his hands on Gargano. Johnny, on the other hand, sought to take Priest out just long enough to target what he saw as the weak link - the champ.
Throughout this program, Priest has presented himself as having Ruff’s best interests at heart - or at least saying there were no hard feelings behind his actions. It was only business, after all. He even apologized as he took the champ out of the match with this move.
Gargano & Priest had plenty of time to take advantage of the no countout, no disqualification nature of the Triple Threat after that. But they couldn’t put their rival away, and that set the stage for a big comeback from the underdog titleholder.
Taking advantage of the two rings set-up, Johnny tied Priest up in the ring ropes and tried to get Ruff to tap to Garga-No Escape. But the Archer got free and looked poised to pin Gargano when the Ghostface masked lackeys who’ve been haunting this feud got involved.
Priest fought them all off, and it even looked like Leon might be able to pull a win out amidst the chaos.
It was Ghostface with a lead pipe that finally took out Priest as he was setting up to hit Johnny with a Reckoning, and distracted Ruff until he walked into a high knee. One Final Beat ended the match, and the reveal of Austin Theory ended the mystery of Johnny’s Ghostface.
For a complete rundown of everything that happened during TakeOver: WarGames on Dec. 6, head to our live blog here.