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Samoa Joe to referee NXT Championship match next week

Samoa Joe will be the special guest referee as Karrion Kross and Johnny Gargano face off for the NXT Championship.

With Joe as the special guest referee, Kross will defend his NXT Championship against Gargano on next Tuesday's episode of NXT. Joe returned to NXT as an authority figure last month, working alongside general manager William Regal as Regal's enforcer.

The title match was announced during a face-to-face segment with Kross and Gargano on tonight's Great American Bash edition of NXT. The face-to-face segment was made for tonight after Kross and Gargano brawled throughout last week's NXT. That included an angle where Kross tried to run Gargano over with his car as they fought in the parking lot. Joe pulled Gargano out of the way but said that Gargano perhaps pushed Kross a little too far.

Kross has been NXT Champion since defeating Finn Balor for the title at TakeOver: Stand & Deliver this April. He's successfully defended the title twice since then. In his first defense, Kross defeated Balor in an NXT Championship rematch in May. Kross then retained the title by defeating Kyle O'Reilly, Adam Cole, Pete Dunne, and Gargano in a fatal five-way match at TakeOver: In Your House in June.

Kross has wrestled in dark matches at WWE main roster shows in recent weeks. He also made an appearance on WWE Main Event two weeks ago and defeated Shelton Benjamin.

Gargano will be looking to become a two-time NXT Champion. He previously held the title from April 2019 to June 2019.

Here's the full list of what's been announced for next Tuesday's NXT:

  • NXT Champion Karrion Kross defends against Johnny Gargano (Samoa Joe will be the special guest referee)
  • NXT Breakout Tournament first-round match: Ikemen Jiro vs. Duke Hudson
  • Sarray in action

The Breakout Tournament is kicking off on next week's NXT. Duke Hudson is Brendan Vink's new WWE in-ring name.