Feared by crowds all across Japan, from young children to men, Lance Archer has been a constant in Japanese wrestling for 8 years, most notably for New Japan Pro Wrestling. As a former 3 x IWGP Tag Team Champion, Archer is mostly known for his prolific tag team wrestling as part of Suzuki-Gun’s Killer Elite Squad, but last month he faced Will Ospreay in singles action during the New Japan Cup. Since making his return to NJPW in 2017, it was perhaps Archer’s first real chance to showcase himself as a singles wrestler to a wealth of new Western wrestling fans that have discovered NJPW over the last few years, and he took full advantage. It was the perfect wrestling tale of David vs Goliath and garnered a lot of well deserved attention as it was one of the best matches of the entire tournament. On the back of his monumental match, we sent Archer some questions to answer as our wrestler of the week which you can read below!
What are your thoughts on your New Japan Cup match with Will Ospreay?
Other than the fact I didn’t win, it was one of my best matches in NJPW ever! It’s hard to have a bad match with someone the caliber of Will Ospreay (the future of pro wrestling). But I think I happily surprised a lot of people who maybe didn’t think I could “GO” like this. I have A LOT left and plan to continue surprising people for a long time!
You’ve been a consistent in the tag division for NJPW. Do you have any plans to be more of a singles competitor?
Tag team wrestling is where I’ve seen most of my success in wrestling as a whole. But as I believe I proved in my match with Ospreay, I absolutely know I’d “KILL IT” as a singles competitor if actually given the chance.
Could we see you enter the G1 Climax this year?
I’ve wrestled in 4 G1s in the past. It’s been 4 years that I haven’t been in the tournament. But hopefully I will this year and be only the 2nd foreigner to win the G1 Climax!
I love the dynamic of athleticism and acting combined that is needed to be great in the industry!
Are there any wrestlers you’re eager to face that you haven’t had the opportunity to?
Oh man, so many! In NJPW obviously whoever is Champion so I can beat them and become what many believed I never could be. Jay White. We’ve never had a match of any kind, tag or singles. Outside of NJPW, PAC. I think we’d have a match for the ages!
Who are your favourite wrestlers to be in the ring with?
Really anyone that is on their game and confident in who they are. And can TRY and bring my level of intensity back at me. BOOM!
What is your least favourite move to take?
The one that beats me!
What is the strangers rumor you’ve heard about yourself?
Back in TNA there was a rumor that Christy Hemme and I had a big fight backstage and “broke up.” Gotta love wrestling rumors based on storylines.
What would you change about wrestling if you could?
I would have stories be more of a focus rather than just move after move. I think 2019 wrestling is some of the most exciting EVER in the history of the business. But it lacks real emotion. Hogan slamming Andre. Shawn Michaels ending Ric Flair’s career. Undertaker’s streak ending. Sting FINALLY beating Hogan after a year+ gone from the ring. Stuff like that.
What/where is the weirdest place you’ve wrestled?
Weirdest place was an actual bull pen for a bull riding contest. It had bull riders in it right before we set up the ring and wrestling outside in 100 degree heat! (And this was in my FCW/WWE developmental days.)
If you could challenge for any Championship in the world, what would it be?
The IWGP Heavyweight title because of what NJPW has meant to me and my career!
Who is the best wrestler of all time in your eyes?
Man. Sting was the reason I got into pro wrestling. And Tanahashi has amazed me since day one with his multi-faceted abilities in the ring and working a crowd of any type.
If every time you walked into a room, 1 song had to play, what would it be?
Korn’s “Blind” right at the part it screams “ARRREEEEE YOU READDDDDYYYY!!!!”
You can pick any superhero or villain to become your tag team partner, who do you pick?
I’m gonna say Jesus Chris ‘cus he saves us ALL! No matter who ya’ are. Good or bad. Young or old. Man or woman. Criminal or saint! He is the ultimate superhero in my opinion! God bless everyone!
Lance Archer has always had a menacing presence in NJPW. Being part of Suzuki-Gun plays a part of that but his sheer size is simply terrifying. Combining those allegiances with his entrance music reminding you that “everybody dies”, the ferocity behind every step he makes towards the ring that sends Young Lions scurrying and his dominance in the squared-circle has made Archer a monster foreigner for NJPW over the years that truly strikes fear into those fans unfortunate enough to be in the front row. And from the sounds of it, if Lance has his way, there could be singles gold in his future. Putting the NEVER Openweight Championship on him would certainly afford NJPW something fresh and exciting. Or at the very least, maybe he’ll get Rocky Romero inside a steel cage. But for now, you should all go out of your way to see his 2nd round New Japan Cup match against Will Ospreay which is available now on NJPW World. And if you want something else, check out Archer’s match vs Jurn Simmons from RevPro’s Summer Sizzler 2018.