The current IWGP United States Champion had a solid run in Impact Wrestling back when it was TNA, winning the NWA World Tag Team Titles twice before forming the popular group, The Rock 'n Rave Infection. Following his release from Impact in 2009, Archer was signed by WWE. The guy had the look and charisma to be a big star, but it wasn't meant to be. He looks at it as a timing situation.
"I don't know exactly what went wrong, but like I said I do put some of that on myself," Archer stated. "It was a different time I think also in WWE, that was back when Linda McMahon was running for Senate. There were a lot of restrictions as far as what you could and more of what you couldn't do. Again, I went into WWE off the TNA stuff. There was some of that TNA stink where guys were trying to come into the WWE so I had to get that off of me, which I think I did well going into their developmental system to get that off of me, and then when I came up to their ECW product I went from having a complete image.
"Michael Hayes was the one that brought me up to be part of ECW. I had long hair, a braided goatee. I had the full badass biker look going and the first day, five minutes before the doors open Vince McMahon and them decided to chop the hair, shave the face, and they took the jacket and made me 'Big Guy #3' and they were like, go! I didn't have the understanding or maturity to make that successful, so some of that I put that on me and I think it was kind of a give and take there."
Archer was released from the company in 2010, along with a few others. While WWE's version of ECW wasn't the most well-received, Archer saw it as a true proving ground for young talent.
"I think initially with the ECW product it was a perfect place," Archer continued. "Even though it was WWE's ECW, it was a perfect place for the young talent to kind of get their feet wet and figure out the lay of the land and to figure out how the WWE works and then you can transition better into Raw or SmackDown. The ECW that I was part of ended about 3 ½, 4 months into that. They started the original NXT product and then I was kind of put back on the shelf for about four months until they kind of randomly threw me out there with Curt Hawkins. It was just a situation where there was no drive or direction."
Since his time with Impact and WWE, Archer has dominated the Japanese scene, becoming a key feature in Suzuki-Gun. A multiple-time IWGP Tag Team Champion and GHC Tag Team Champion with Pro Wrestling NOAH, the opportunities are just starting for him. There is no rest for the weary, and the veteran is not ready to slow down and hang up the boots just yet.
"I have had some amazing opportunities. I don't take anyway anything that I have had from my past but I think I am really capitalizing on it. Some guys get very lucky or they are very mature and figure things out early in their careers and then get bigger opportunities early on. I had some amazing opportunities through TNA, even my time in WWE. Just to be able to go out there and walk out there in a WWE arena is an opportunity in itself but I don't think I was ready to capitalize on that. Now, after 19 years in the business and all the things that I have learned and all of the people that I have worked with and all the opportunities that have come in front of me I just haven't capitalized on them, but now, like I said, starting with the G1 I said that I was not going to let this pass me by. I was not going to fail. I am either going to sink or swim on my own and I'm going to swim across to the net place that I need to be."
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.