On a recent episode of the Chris Van Vliet Show, former IWGP U.S. Champion Lance Archer was on to discuss being apart of WrestleMania 26 in the pre-show battle royal. Since his release from WWE, Archer has mostly said kind words about his time there, and he did so with Van Vliet when looking back at WrestleMania 26.
"I could be sour; I could be bitter about my time there but what good does that do me to help me move forward in wrestling or life of whatever? And that was a cool moment to be able to lace up the boots and walk down the ramp and get in the ring at a WrestleMania," Archer admitted. "It was the preshow battle royal that they would do pretty much every year.
"I remember Tyler Reks was a good buddy of mine at the time and he was right behind me when we were walking down the ramp and it was one of those moments, I think they said there was 72,000 people at Mania that year in Arizona and there was probably 30,000 or 40,000 in the building at that point because everybody's still filtering in or whatnot while we're doing this battle royal.
"I just remember they were playing the generic music as all the different wrestlers head down to the ring. It was a huge, huge, long ramp and it was one of those cool moments where I looked back at Reks and I was like 'Bro, can you believe this?' and he's like 'No, this is too damn cool'."
Archer went through what led to his AEW signing in February of this year. He noted that he did not have a full-time deal with NJPW, but he expressed his gratitude towards them and the other experiences he's had in the wrestling business.
"When all of this started last year, it started close to about this time," Archer recalled. "It was December of 2019 when I had just finished up the New Japan Tag League tour literally two days prior and AEW came to town to Dallas, Texas so I went there just to see some friends and whatnot because there's a lot of people that I've been around the business with and become really good friends with.
"That was kind of where the seed was planted because people were asking what my situation was. And at that time, my situation with New Japan was that I did not have a full-time contract. I was still running under the old system of tour by tour. That was just kind of how they did business with the foreigners throughout the history of wrestling. You show up, you sign a little deal, you work the tour, that's your contract and when it's done, you're finished as far as that contract is concerned.
"But I had done that, at that point for eight and a half years with New Japan. So I didn't go looking for a job but ultimately that's kind of what happened. I've been lucky and blessed in a lot of different ways. I've worked in a lot of different places from TNA to WWE for a short cup of coffee, I showed up in Ring of Honor a few times, I worked down in Mexico with AAA and different places like that. So I've bounced around and been a journeyman to say the least."
One of Archer's signature catchphrases is "Everybody Dies". He explained that there is a double meaning to the phrase while noting his 20 years in the wrestling business.
"There's kind of that underlying meaning to the phrase 'Everybody Dies' that's like everybody's career ends at some point," Archer noted. "I've been lucky and blessed over 20 years now and still going strong and at a top level with a top company in the business of professional wrestling but at some point, it will come to an end.
"I don't know when and I don't plan on it being any time soon, but this has been my biggest and best opportunity and the waves that AEW is making in the whole world of professional wrestling from the very first All In event, I was very supportive of that, simply for the fact that I knew what it could do to change the business of professional wrestling... going back to the manta of 'Everybody Dies', it's like take your chances now. Don't let anything pass you by. Kick ass now and apologize later if you have to."
Archer is commonly known as the "Murderhawk Monster". He also explained where that moniker came from recalling that time he changed his hair to a Mohawk style.
"So last year when the G1 happened it was one of those situations where I took it upon myself, I was like 'This is a big opportunity,'" Archer recalled. "Initially I wasn't even in the G1 for that year, they were starting in Dallas, I was going to be on that show and then I was included into the G1. I had been part of a great tag team, KES, Killer Elite Squad for many years and this was my first real coming out part as a singles wrestler in New Japan since before Davey Boy Smith Jr. had joined New Japan back in 2012 and KES had just gotten started.
"I just did everything I could to change every part of me that was known to the wrestling world and the G1 was such a huge platform. We were going to be live on AXS TV in the United States of America so it was just one of those situations where I was like I am going to change everything.
"The initial hair was not the braid, it was more of a crazy poofed up Mohawk thing and we started calling it this crazy Mohawk and this and that and I was like, 'It's not a Mohawk, it's a Murderhawk' and then it morphed into the Murderhawk Monster. Everybody's had their 'monster' monikers in professional wrestling world throughout history but I just thought it was fun to say; Murderhawk Monster."