The new NXT North American champion, Leon Ruff, is a 24-year-old Florida native who made his pro wrestling debut in June 2017.
Ruff was unveiled as one of the latest students at the WWE Performance Center and signed a deal in July of this year. Throughout the year, Ruff made several appearances on WWE television and wrestled on Main Event, Raw, Smackdown, 205 Live, and even NXT.
Since March, Ruff wrestled Aleister Black, Sheamus, Karrion Kross, Tommaso Ciampa, Ever-Rise, Bronson Reed, Legado Del Fantasma, Drake Maverick, and his last match was against Austin Theory. All his matches were squash matches, the quickest one losing to Bronson Reed in just 24 seconds.
Ruff was often featured in EVOLVE and held the EVOLVE Tag Team titles once with AR Fox.
He is currently dating NXT referee Aja Smith and Smith confirmed their relationship when Ruff was destroyed by Karrion Kross a few months ago. “If you would have told me a year ago I’d be a referee, let alone referee my boyfriend’s match on TV, I woulda neverrrr believed it! Life is so cool. @LeonRuffsxe you’re always a winner to me,” she wrote back in May.
Now, Ruff finds himself holding the NXT North American championship, an outcome which surely no one ever imagined when NXT went on the air yesterday. “One of the greatest moments in my life @WWENXT C H A M P I O N,” he wrote on Twitter.