Following his release from WWE in 2010, Lance Archer made his way to New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Archer rebuilt his career in NJPW, finding success as a World Tag League Champion, IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, and IWGP United States Champion.
Archer started to catch the eye of most of the wrestling world with his impressive performances in the G1 Climax 29.
Despite spending eight-years in NJPW, Archer never had a full-time contract with the promotion. And the lack of contract helped pave the way to AEW. Appearing on Talk is Jericho, Archer detailed his meetings with AEW and choosing AEW over NJPW.
"We just finished Tag League, last year. I got home December 9, AEW was coming to Dallas on December 11. I wanted to go see my friends. I wasn't going looking for a job or going to bother anybody. I don't want to be that guy. Things were good with me in NJPW so it wasn't like I needed to do that at the time. It was a situation where I got to meet Tony [Khan] for the first time and we had a good conversation. You [Jericho] and I talked that night and the possibility of something in the future. It came to be that, they found out I didn't have a full contract with NJPW. I never had a full contract with NJPW. Will Ospreay, Juice Robinson, they were under contract. I had been with the company for eight years and, I think with me, they had grown accustomed to the fact that I was an old school gaijin tour-by-tour style, that's just how they were doing business. There was no animosity toward them, that's just the way our business was done. I don't think they thought they needed to," he recalled.
Archer went on to say that he drove to Corpus Christi -- a six-hour drive -- the following week to formally meet with AEW and discuss the idea of working together.
"We had a conversation, an idea was pitched, and some of the guys and girls in AEW had been brought in on a short-term deal to see how it goes and you move forward from that," he said. "I was like, 'That's cool, I understand.' Before going to Corpus Christi, I received my first full-time annual contract from New Japan. A lot of foreign boys went to bat for me like, 'Why isn't Lance under contract?' I didn't know it was coming. I met with AEW and the short-term deal was pitched. I said, 'That's great, I love it, but understand now, I have an actual annual contract offer. If the short-term deal is the only thing that is offered, understand, I can't leave something on the table.' Then, it changed. 'We want you here.' It was a tough decision."
Archer mentioned said there were too many pros with AEW including the ability to spend time with his family, the opportunity, and the challenge.
"The Murderhawk Monster" will face his biggest challenge Saturday at AEW Double or Nothing when he takes on Cody to crown the first-ever AEW TNT Champion.
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