IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Lance Archer has revealed why he turned down a contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling in order to sign with AEW.
The Murderhawk has appeared for New Japan numerous times over the last decade, but when it came time to put down more permanent roots, Archer chose to join AEW.
Speaking on the AEW Unrestricted Podcast with Aubrey Edwards, Archer described the thought process behind the move. Reflecting on his time in Japan, Archer explained that despite being a regular presence with the NJPW, he was never signed to a full-time deal. Instead, he was bound by a series of short term agreements.
The former NWA Tag Team Champion said that by the time NJPW offered him a full-time contract, he also had an offer from AEW on the table.
“New Japan, as far as Japanese wrestling is concerned, a lot of times, the old school way of doing business, especially with the foreigners, was just a tour by tour thing, and that’s how I’d actually been with the company for nearly nine years,” Archer explained.
“I came in. I had a contract for the tour that I was on, and when that tour is over, it was done, and it wasn’t until the most recent years that they actually started signing a lot of the foreigners to full-time contracts. And I’ve never had one with the company because I’ve been there so long. That was the style of business they’d done with me. Literally, almost the exact same time that the All Elite offer came in, the New Japan offer came in. So I had two on the table right at the same time.”
“There were a lot of pros and cons, and it took a bit for me to weigh all the goods and bads as far as making that decision,” Archer recalled. “A place I’d been in for nearly nine years, a lot of friends and people that had kind of become family over in Japan, and then the opportunity that All Elite Wrestling was providing, All Elite Wrestling was changing the professional wrestling world.
“I don’t even think, to a degree, I would have received the offer from New Japan if AEW didn’t exist. They didn’t even know that AEW offered me the deal. I’m just saying that AEW was changing the wrestling world completely from how everybody was doing business, and so that’s kind of where that came out with me.”
In conclusion, Archer revealed that it was the lure of coming home to the United States that helped seal the deal.
“So the opportunity to come back home, to tour the United States, this is prior to anybody knowing what was going to happen in 2020, the new challenges of coming back to the U.S. and being in AEW, a company that was growing and changing the world professional wrestling, all these things were just too enticing and something that I actually wanted to take on. I wanted to bet on myself and be a part of AEW.”
Lance Archer debuted in AEW in February 2020 as a client of Jake “The Snake” Roberts. On the most recent episode of AEW Dynamite Archer defeated Jon Moxley for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship.
The match came to a brutal conclusion as Moxley pulled out two barbed wire boards, placing them on two tables. As the champion went to get back in the ring, Archer stabbed him repeatedly with the fork before hitting a devastating Chokeslam onto the barbed wire. This left Moxley unable to answer a ten-count, leaving Archer as the winner.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.