At NXT: The Great American Bash, Johnny Gargano defeated Isaiah "Swerve" Scott in singles competition. On the July 22 episode of NXT, Gargano faced Bronson Reed and Roderick Strong in a Triple Threat qualifying match to earn a spot in the NXT North American Championship Match at NXT TakeOver XXX, but lost after Reed pinned Strong. But after Dexter Lumis dropped out of the ladder match following an ankle injury. Gargano would replace Lumis after a last chance match against Ridge Holland which he won. At TakeOver XXX, Gargano would fail to win the title. It was announced on the August 25 episode of NXT that Gargano would be one of the men competing in the Fatal 4-Way Iron Man match on the September 2 episode of NXT for the vacant NXT Championship. He was unsuccessful at capturing the title as the match ended in a time limit draw. On October 28 at NXT: Halloween Havoc, Gargano defeated Damian Priest to become the first-ever two-time NXT North American Champion. He would then lose the title to Leon Ruff on the November 11 episode of NXT and regain it at NXT TakeOver: WarGames in a triple threat match, involving Priest, to become the first-ever three-time North American Champion. He then revealed on the December 9 episode of NXT that he had formed a villainous faction with LeRae, Indi Hartwell and Austin Theory called The Way.