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Meet Ruffin It, AEW’s unlikely trio of Leon Ruff and Bear Country

AEW, AEW Rampage, Bear Country, Leon Ruff

When Excaliber hurried through the AEW Rampage card at lightning speed while calling the Tag Team Championship ladder match featuring his PWG buddies, the Young Bucks and Jurassic Express, one bout stood out for an unknown name featured in the copy.

A talking segment from Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee? Considering how the Casion Battle Royal shook out, it’s about darn time. Matches between Bobby Fish and Darby Allin, Dante Martin and Jon Moxley, and Jade Cargill and Willow Nightingale? All totally normal as well, as, even though Nightingale isn’t technically a contracted AEW talent, she’s been in the promotion sporadically for a while now and is a certified fan favorite. Heck, even a “we hear from” segment featuring Hook and Danhausen has become a staple of Rampage, and their union is arguably the best thing going on the show.

No, the surprise was a trios match between Max Caster and The Ass Boys The Gunn Club versus Ruffin It in a trios match.

… who? There isn’t a team called Ruffin It on Cagematch? Do they even exist? Is it a typo?

Well fear not, AEW fans, for the team does, in fact, exist, and the trio comprised of Bear Country and Leon Ruff could prove to be very intriguing indeed.

Ruffin It might be the best way to get three promising performers on AEW TV.

If you’re a fan of weekly televised professional wrestling, you’ve probably heard the name Leon Ruff before.

Trained by AR Fox of Viceland’s The Wrestlers fame, Ruffin came up in the same school as (Austin) Theory, Allan “Five” Angels, and Shawn Dean, and began his pro career in the south-eastern part of the country, where he wrestled for promotions like WWA4, PSW, and WHAT. Within his first year of wrestling action, Ruff took on foes like Ace Austin, Zachary Wentz, and Suge D and steadily grew in popularity across the independent wrestling world. He caught the eye of EVOLVE Wrestling booker Gabe Sapolsky, who booked him for 39 matches with the promotion versus everyone from Anthony Greene, to Eddie Kingston, Matt Riddle, and The Beaver Boys (Alex Reynolds and John Silver), both as a solo performer and teamed up with his trainer, AR Fox.

From there, Ruffin followed the path so many of his fellow Evolve performers took before him and landed in WWE, where he joined NXT after two matches against Aleister Black and a Smackdown loss to Sheamus. Ruffin secured his first win with the promotion in only his fifth match as an NXT performer, which, funny enough, was in a title match versus Johnny Gargano, where he pinned the DIY member in under four minutes. Ruff successfully defended the title once, again versus Gargano, before dropping the belt to Johnny G in a triple threat title match on WasGames IV that also featured Damian Priest. 

Now granted, was Ruff given the title match via a spinning wheel? Yes. Did the match have more to do with a feud between Priest and Gargano? Yes as well. But will Ruff forever have the phrase “former NXT North American Champion” next to his name? Yes, that is very much the case.

From there, Ruff’s biggest NXT feud came against the performer then known as Swerve Scott, who he wrestled five times from February to May of 2021. Though Scott ultimately got the best of the rivalry in the end, with the feud officially ended via a falls count anywhere match on May 4th, Ruff rebounded with a match versus Pete Dunne and a win over Grayson Waller on 205 Live before being released from the promotion due to “budget cuts.” From there, Ruff rebounded around the independent wrestling world, performing at two GCW events and the second running of Terminus before latching on with AEW Dark, where he took Ls to Tony Nese and Lee Moriarty in Universal Studios.

Despite being exclusively utilized as a singles performer during his AEW run, even if he sometimes looks like multiple performers due to his speedy, acrobatic style, Ruff will make his Rampage debut in a trio alongside Bear Country as Ruffin It, a big-small-big triplet who could surprise people. Will it work? Will the trio who have yet to take the ring together be able to unseat Caster and the Gunns on the second show of Road Rager? Probably not, what with wrestling’s tradition of new teams having to lose from time to time before they build up their stock and all, but if the reviews are glowing, the trio of Ruff, Boulder, and Bronson might just make it onto the television world over a bit more often and finally onto the AEW roster page.