North American title match, Strong-Dunne set for WWE NXT next week

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Two matches have been announced for the final NXT episode of 2020.

WWE has announced that Johnny Gargano will defend his North American Championship against Leon Ruff on NXT next Wednesday (December 30). Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne is also set for the episode.

With help from Austin Theory, Gargano regained the North American Championship by defeating Ruff and Damian Priest in a triple threat match at TakeOver: WarGames earlier this month. Gargano had lost the title to Ruff in November. In storyline, Gargano was trying to break his title defense curse by facing Ruff. Ruff got the win after a distraction by Priest.

Next week’s Gargano vs. Ruff match will be the first title defense of Gargano’s current North American title reign. He’s a three-time North American Champion.

Ruff got another surprise win on NXT tonight when he pinned Timothy Thatcher with a cradle as Thatcher was going for a submission. Thatcher had promised to take liberties with Ruff and told Tommaso Ciampa to come and fight him. Thatcher attacked Ruff after the match until Ciampa made the save.

Gargano & Theory defeated Ruff & Kushida in a tag team match on last week’s NXT. Theory pinned Ruff in that match. The Way (Gargano, Candice LeRae, Indi Hartwell, and Theory) didn’t appear in person on this week’s show, but they were featured in multiple “A Very Gargano Christmas” segments.

After losing to Kyle O’Reilly last week in a match to decide NXT Champion Finn Balor’s challenger for New Year’s Evil, Dunne attacked Strong at ringside during the Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream main event on tonight’s NXT. Dunne laid out Strong by hitting the Bitter End on the apron.

Next week’s NXT will also include the announcement of the 2020 NXT year-end awards. Plus, the episode will feature the final build to NXT New Year’s Evil. New Year’s Evil is taking place on Wednesday, January 6.

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