Former NXT North American Champion, Damian Priest, has spoken out about how he didn’t enjoy the storyline with Leon Ruff when it was first pitched to him.
After being cost NXT’s red strap at Halloween Havoc on October 28 thanks to the interference of Austin Theory as Ghostface, the once Ring of Honor star had been looking for payback against Johnny Gargano and found the perfect time to strike.
On the November 11 edition of NXT, Priest became involved in the North American Championship Match between Johnny Wrestling and former EVOLVE star, Leon Ruff, aiding the newcomer in shocking the world by pinning Gargano to lift the strap.
One week later during their rematch, Damian again got the last laugh on Johnny when he pulled Ruff from the ring and laid him out with a right hand. The action caused the referee to disqualify Gargano, thus costing him the championship once more.
However, though it may have looked like ‘The Archer of Infamy’ was enjoying himself on television, the truth is that he disliked the the tale when it was pitched to him as he told Sean Waltman on the X-Pac 12360 Podcast:
“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 loveable, 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.'”
Damian Priest, Leon Ruff and Johnny Gargano brought their three way storyline to a close at NXT TakeOver: WarGames on December 6, when the latter regained the gold in a Triple Threat Match.
However, because Priest was again attacked by a host of men dressed as Ghostface before the leader revealed themselves to be Austin Theory – who did a perfect rendition of Vince McMahon’s speech upon being unmasked as the higher power – it appears that Damian is far from done with Gargano or his newest cohort.
Credit for the interview: X-Pac 12360 Podcast
h/t for the transcription: Fightful