It looks like AEW has its own “Monster Among Men” now in the form of Lance Archer.
Serving as Jake Roberts’ henchman, the 6-foot-7 Texan made his debut on Dynamite this week and truly looked like a force to be reckoned with. He attacked cameramen and ringside staff, went after the ref — a female — and pummeled his opponent, Marko Stunt, well after the final bell rang. The performance was nearly identical to some of the stuff that WWE’s Braun Strowman has done in the past, and that’s not a bad thing.
Archer’s attitude and actions throughout the match echoed Strowman’s back when he first debuted as a singles star. He even went up against an incredibly small opponent, much like Strowman did when he was first being built up as a monster. The bout against Stunt sparked memories of the WWE star’s viral battle on Raw against James Ellsworth. Ellsworth and Stunt are both about the same size and Archer has a similar nickname to Strowman’s “The Monster Among Men” in “The Murderhawk Monster.”
The former TNA star, who formerly went by Lance Hoyt, tossed Stunt around like a rag doll from bell to bell, never giving him a chance to display much of an offense. There were brief sparks of life from the little guy, but they didn’t even come close to making an impact. Archer flattened Stunt with a chokeslam at one point and looked as if he was going to go for the three-count afterwards — only for the behemoth to lift Stunt up at two and continue his assault.
The AEW stars who were gathered in the empty arena kept booing Archer throughout the match on account of his bad behavior. He talked trash to many of them and kept beating Stunt down anyway. The match finally came to an end after Archer hit his “Blackout” finisher, which is basically a reverse crucifix powerbomb — imagine Razor Ramon’s finisher, but with the opponent’s body turned around to face forward.
If AEW wants to come even remotely close to the success that WWE first had with Strowman, it needs to continue making him look like a monster while also advancing his character. AEW should succeed where WWE failed if it can avoid the pitfalls WWE fell into with Strowman: it shouldn’t turn Archer into a comedy act. It shouldn’t do anything to weaken his dangerous aura. If anything, it should make him even more of a bully than Strowman ever was.
AEW has something that WWE doesn’t, which is a much older and more mature following. While turning Strowman into a more family-friendly character wasn’t what many people wanted, it was an understandable move on account of WWE’s younger fanbase. But, AEW doesn’t care about that stuff, and doesn’t need to pander to younger viewers. It isn’t going for cutesy, wholesome entertainment. AEW wants to put wrestling back in the forefront. Unleashing Archer on the entire locker room — with him going after anyone and everyone with no remorse — would make for an excellent on-screen villain, one that simply doesn’t exist in WWE anymore. Wherever AEW decides to take his character, just please don’t have Archer tag with a 10-year-old.
Jake Roberts' new client, Lance Archer, looked like AEW's version of “The Monster Among Men” in his debut against Marko Stunt.