NXT's upcoming Oct. 4 TakeOver event has its first match — NXT North American Champion Damien Priest vs. Johnny Gargano. Priest won the vacated title in a five-way ladder match at NXT TakeOver: XXX, while Gargano has tried and failed on numerous occasions to become the first wrestler to ever hold the championship twice. His first reign came at the start of 2019, and this year alone he came up short against Keith Lee in two title matches before taking part in the aforementioned ladder match.
William Regal booked the match by tweeting, "One of [NXT's] rising stars vs. arguably the most consistent performer on the black and gold brand. In his first #NXTTakeOver defense, [Damian Priest] will defend the #WWENXT North American Title against [Johnny Gargano]."
This week's NXT will determine two more championship matches for TakeOver. The first will see the NXT Women's Division compete in an over-the-top battle royal for a shot at Io Shirai's NXT Women's Championship. Following that, Kushida, Timothy Thatcher, Bronson Reed, Cameron Grimes and Kyle O'Reilly will compete in a five-man Gauntlet Eliminator Match. The winner faces NXT Champion Finn Balor at TakeOver.
While Gargano's change from babyface to heel came suddenly back at TakeOver: Portland in February, Priest's transition into a babyface came more gradually. He talked about that character change during a recent interview with ComicBook.
"Yeah, basically what you're saying right now is that it's natural," Priest said. "People change because of circumstance, and I think that circumstances for me have changed. I am who I am. I can't be something that I'm not. I can't do that. A huge change, it would have to be still within the realm of me being me because I don't know how to be someone else."
"Yes, I will continue to change, as far as what I need to do to keep improving," Priest said. "That's never going to end, that's never going to stop. If there's a time that I have to make a drastic change, I would do it, if I had to. I love being myself, and I don't know how to be anything other than that."