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Lance Archer on Developing as a Performer in NJPW, Working Wrestle Kingdom vs. Working WrestleMania

January 13, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Lance Archer

– Lance Archer was the guest on a recent episode of Busted Open Radio and discussed how New Japan has helped him develop as a wrestler, as well as his experience working the Tokyo Dome. Archer spent some time in WWE and had a run in WWE as Vance Archer, including an appearance on the WrestleMania XXVI pre-show. Archer compared his WrestleMania experience to his Wrestle Kingdom experience and talked about how they were different.

Highlights from the discussion are below:

On how New Japan has helped him develop as a performer: “For me you know, like I said, New Japan’s been great for me and my career. Because it was a place I came and there was really no limitations. There was never a ‘No, don’t do that.’ It was always ‘That’s good, but we need more. We need bigger, we need stronger, we need more monster.’ I heard that so many times in my early start with New Japan in 2011 and so on. And it was just one of things things where as the years have gone on, I’ve just continued to kind of bring out new elements and new ideas, and all of that’s been accepted and encouraged by New Japan. And then like I said with the G1, it was one of those things where I knew at this point in my career, even with New Japan and the loyalty that they have for the guys who’ve been loyal to them, that this was a moment that I had to make a decision. Either be the same guy that they kind of thought they had, and just kind of exist and coast and get things here and there. Or take this chance, take this opportunity and do everything I possibly can. And you know, it was just kind of, I was like ‘Screw it. It’s either do or die, adapt and die,’ and I was not gonna die. I was planning on doing everything I could to do more than survive, and it was to become something new for myself. So like I said, it reinvigorated myself, and I think created a confidence that I had already been gaining, but made it that much more.”

On working the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom: “It’s amazing, to say the least. I had one opportunity to do one WrestleMania, which was amazing by itself because only a select few get to do it. You know, my match at WrestleMania was just a pre-show battle royal, and this is pre-Network era. So you know, nobody really saw it except for if you bought the DVD or whatnot. But it was still a very special moment for me. And to get to wrestle at Wrestle Kingdom, especially you know, the first one that Smith and I did where we were the tag champs going in defending. That was probably one of the most special moments in my career to date. And you know, Wrestle Kingdom, for people who don’t understand — Wrestle Kingdom is basically WrestleMania but with a very strong emphasis on the wrestling aspect. All the matches are pretty much title matches, and that’s the focus. Who’s the champion, who’s the challenger, and that’s exactly what’s going into this — the fight scenario that’s going into both nights of Wrestle Kingdom. So I think that’s what it is. You get the big show allure of WrestleMania, but with the sport focus of champions and challengers.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.