Lance Archer was New Japan Pro Wrestling‘s most unexpected breakout star of 2019, and another promotion has reportedly taken notice. According to Sports Illustrated, All Elite Wrestling is in talks with Archer, and since SI has previously published reports that very obviously came directly from AEW wrestlers’ agents, this is probably true!
Archer, who is billed at 6’8″, has spent almost a decade of his career in NJPW after wrestling in TNA, WWE, and on the independent circuit. He joined the promotion in 2011 as a new member of the Suzukigun stable and has been mainly a tag team wrestler for most of his time in New Japan. As Killer Elite Squad, he and Davey Boy Smith Jr. (who left NJPW last year and currently works mainly in MLW) held the IWGP Tag Team Championship three times, as well as Pro Wrestling NOAH’s GHC Tag Team Championship twice during an angle when Suzukigun was banished from NJPW and invaded NOAH.
After Smith left New Japan, Archer made more of an impression as a singles wrestler than anyone expected in the 2019 G1 Climax when he started using the Iron Claw as his finisher, calling himself, “the Murderhawk Monster,” and doing flippy moves extremely unusual for a guy almost seven feet tall. Months later, he beat Juice Robinson for the IWGP United States Championship to win his first singles title in New Japan, then lost it at Wrestle Kingdom in a Texas Death Match with Jon Moxley.
Unless there’s more singles success in store for Archer in New Japan, him towering over every other AEW wrestler in the future doesn’t seem out of the question. If every recent AEW signing rumor turns out to be true (or all those negotiations work out), we could see the roster get a lot bigger in 2020.