Lance Archer Recalls His Interactions With Vince McMahon

AEW/ROH star “The Murderhawk Monster” Lance Archer recently appeared on an episode of The Snake Pit with Jake Roberts, where he talked about a number of topics including why his WWE career didn’t work out.

Archer said, “Why didn’t it work out? I don’t know. I think you could put — different people go through different things and have different experiences everywhere they go. I think my very short time there was a very different time in the business for the company, for myself. I remember I had a conversation with Batista one time because he was still heavily involved when I first got on the road with them. And he was like, ‘Man, I wouldn’t want to be a heel in this day and age wrestling,’ because — and this was like 2009 also. Because he was like, ‘It’s so hard to be a heel. Because all the little basic bad guys heel things that we used to could do to cheat. What he’s saying, like when he first got into the business or even when he first got on the road with them, they’d have kind of been taken away. You know, they were looking at it more straight sport-oriented, very kind of like — the UFC had such a strong influence. They were extremely PG back then. So there were just so many things that we just weren’t allowed to do to be a heel. And you know, I’m not saying that that really is what caused my time there not to be good. I think there were goods and bads.”

On his WWE debut:

“My story about when I even debuted there. And this is like November of 2009. I’d been down in Florida at FCW, which is pre-NXT and all that stuff. And I got called up on the road, I literally was at home. I think it was like a Saturday, and I got a call or an email or something. It was like, ‘Hey, we need you for TV on Tuesday,’ which is when they take Smackdown and ECW at the time. And you know a lot of times guys and girls get put up on the road, and it’s just to take a look at them. See what they can do, see what they can offer. Then, decisions were made later. I was debuting on their ECW product, because this was before NXT even existed. So I debuted an ECW product, and nobody had told me. And it wasn’t till the morning of when Joey Styles, who was still heavily involved with the website stuff, he basically came to me and he was like, ‘Oh, hey, man, it’s good to see you on the road. I’ll get all your information for your profile later.’ And I went, ‘My profile later?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, you’re debuting tonight.’ ‘Okay.’”

“And then fast forward, you know, we’re at the arena, we’re getting ready, and everything’s kind of being set up and whatnot. And at the time I had long hair, and I had this very strong biker gimmick look going on. And this was something I’ve been doing in FCW for a long time, or the six months I’ve been there. And I remember being in the ring for about five minutes before the doors opened. The former owner of the company — we’ll leave it, figure out who that is. He and another guy [imitates John Laurinaitis] who talks like this. Hey, kid, what’s up? You know who I’m talking about. They were standing there talking to each other while I’m standing in the ring. I mean, it’s literally like five minutes before doors are going to open. The staff is coming in, they’re seeing us all standing around there. They’re literally about to start letting fans rush into the building. I mean, literally like five minutes before the doors. And all of a sudden the raspy man voice goes, ‘Hey kid, come here?’ It’s like, ‘What’s up, man?’ He goes, ‘We’re cutting your hair.’ I go, ‘Okay, am I still on TV tonight? And he goes, ‘Yeah, but you know, go do it.’ And so they went and sent me to the hair and makeup lady, and she started chopping at my hair. And again, I had hair down to my butt almost. And she chopped it up like. They wanted to originally do like this weird Bieber look, and my hair wouldn’t do that. And I looked like I had a mushroom head. But they did take me into the big boss’s office. They’re like, ‘Okay, how’s this?’ And he goes, ‘Yes, I like it! Get out!’ It’s like, ‘Okay.’”

On his time in WWE:

“I always say they turned me into Big Guy #3, you know. And I debuted, and I did my thing. And for a few weeks, it was going really fun and strong. And then ECW itself shut down. Shelton Benjamin and I had a few fun good matches. Kind of had to the second last ECW show, we had a nice hardcore match, an ECW Rules match or whatever they call it back then. But then, you know, everything kind of went on the shelf, and I didn’t know what was going on. They put me on SmackDown, but I didn’t do anything for like three or four months. And then Brian Myers — or Curt Hawkins, as he was then — called me one night when we got somewhere in Virginia or something like that. And he was like, ‘Hey, man.’ He goes, ‘Uh, you at the hotel?’ And I was like, ‘Uh yeah, you?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah.’ I go, ‘Cool, man. Are you back on the road?’ He goes, ‘Remember that angle I pitched way back when you first showed up in the company?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah?’ He was, ‘Well, they’re gonna put us together.’ And then it was like, ‘Okay, cool.”

“And then the next day, you know, they were like, ‘We’re gonna film all these vignettes, we’re gonna do all this stuff to kind of started introducing you guys.’ And then as the day went on, nothing happened. As the day went on, nothing happened. As the day went o, nothing happened. And then they’re like, ‘We don’t have time to do that. So you guys just go do a dark match.’ So we did. ‘We’ll get to it next week.’ And then the next week came, and same thing. They were like, ‘We’re gonna film all this stuff, you guys are showing up, we’re gonna film you in front of the trucks like you’re invading,’ and blah, blah, blah. Nothing ever happened. It was just, all of a sudden that they threw us on Superstars or something like that. So our debut together was on Superstars. And then fast forward to a few matches on Smackdown. And then it just kind of disappeared. You know, there was no real explanation to it. So, why didn’t it go? Well, I don’t know. I mean, there’s probably a lot of reasons, and somebody didn’t like me, who knows what the case was. But it just didn’t, it was what it was. It ultimately led to the best time in my career when I started working with Japan. You know, I’d worked in Japan a few times before that. But not knowing how influential Japanese wrestling would be to me in my career. Had I just maintained my existence there, it probably would have never happened. So you know, blessing in disguise. It only lasted a very short period of time. You know, like, two years under contract, a year and a half on TV or something like that. So I don’t know. You tell me why it didn’t work.”

On his interactions with Vince McMahon:

“I had very short ones, dude. Like, to the point where the night I was debuting, basically he was like, ‘Don’t fuck it up. You only get one chance to make a first impression.’ I was like, ‘Okay.’ And then I think later, there was one moment when I was walking down the hallway and he’s like, ‘Hah! You guys are kicking ass, I love it!’ And he just walked out. And that was about it. I didn’t have much more interaction during my whole time there. I do remember — so the funny story. Basically, that time between ECW and when I was on SmackDown, I was working dark matches here and there. And this was before anything was all taped and put on, whatnot. And so anyway, I go and do this match — I think it was actually the dark match that Hawkins and I did together for our first time.”

“And we do the match, we come back to the curtain. And Billy Kidman, who’s at gorilla at the time. He’s like, ‘Hey–‘ And my name then was Vance. He was like, ‘Hey Vance!’ I was like, ‘What’s up man?’ He goes, ‘Vince likes a beard?’ And I went, ‘…what?’ He goes, ‘He likes your beard!’ ‘Okay.’ And I kind of gave him a thumbs up and went off. Later, because I still had to go down and do the FCW Thursday tapings at the time that they were doing. He told the story afterward. And I think it was just kind of like a, ‘Hey, you never know what’s going to draw somebody’s attention’ story. And so basically what happened was, I guess we were out in the ring, and we’re doing our thing. And I can only guess that they did a close-up on my face. I’d been growing a beard for several months at this point. So it had gone from pretty close shaven in ECW to pretty grizzled beard going on. And I had shaken his hand and said hello for three months straight. But again, I was never somebody that was on his radar, so he didn’t pay attention ever. And then this one time like, I’m sure he was in his office and we were just on the screen, and they just did a close up on my face. And the beard was popping at the moment. And he called into Billy, and Billy told me. And I think I remember like, the next week was when we were on Smackdown for the first time. So it was a really interesting experience that he liked my beard.”

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(H/T to for transcribing the above quotes)