In wrestling, the saying “card subject to change” reads like the fine print disclaimer that often appears at the bottom of commercials for various products. It’s there to give the promotion an out in case something unforeseen occurs that necessitates a change to the regularly scheduled programming. It’s not often that change comes about thanks to a natural disaster but that was the case on Sunday as at King of Pro Wrestling, thanks to Typhoon Hagabis in Japan, Jon Moxley and Zack Sabre Jr. were unable to make the show. It resulted in not just a change in the card but a new champion as well as Lance Archer took his opportunity and made the most of it.
A few days ago, Lance Archer was set to join his Suzuki-Gun teammates, Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. in a six-man tag against the Los Ingobernables de Japon unit of BUSHI, Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito. It was the standard kind of match Archer is used to being in as the so-called American Psycho has primarily wrestled in tags this year. But, with his longtime partner Davey Boy Smith Jr. leaving New Japan Pro Wrestling, Archer has started to see some singles opportunities come his way including the chance to take part in the New Japan Cup and the G1 Climax this year, his first appearance in the prestigious tournament since 2014.
— 新日本プロレスリング株式会社 (@njpw1972) October 14, 2019
Coming off the Fighting Spirit Unleashed three-day tour in Philadelphia, Boston and New York, in which he dispatched one young lion after the next, Lance Archer was the beneficiary of travel issues that affected both his Suzuki-gun partner Zack Sabre Jr., and the then-defending IWGP United States Champion, Jon Moxley. Unable to make it to Japan due to the typhoon hitting the country, Moxley, who was set to defend his championship in his rubber match against Juice Robinson, was pulled from the card. And, because of NJPW’s policy that if a champion cannot defend his title in a scheduled title defense they be stripped of the belt, Moxley was forced to relinquish the United States Championship.
That left Robinson in a title match without an opponent. Also unable to make King of Pro Wrestling was Sabre. So, the card needed to change. Lance Archer was taken out of the six-man tag, which was turned into a regular tag team match of Naito and Takagi vs Taichi and DOUKI, and Archer was moved into the no disqualification United States title match against Robinson.
Congratulating @LanceHoyt on winning his first singles title in #njpw at #njkopw. You deserve it bro, you're the best! #iwgpunitedstateschampionship #lancearcher #lancehoyt #NJPW pic.twitter.com/GM3jf4gP50
— Too Sweet Magazine (@toosweetzine) October 14, 2019
There were chairs, tables and a lot of spot wrestling as Robinson and Archer made the most of the NO DQ stipulation to just inflict all kinds of pain on each other. In the end, after slamming Robinson’s head multiple times into a chair, Archer used his EBD (Everybody Dies) Claw to pin his opponent to win his first-ever singles title in NJPW. He followed this up by continuing to attack Robinson after the match. This setup the return of Robinson’s partner, David Finlay, who had been out with injury since March. Finlay and Robinson managed to chase Archer off but as he left, he did so holding the title high, the seventh United States Champion in its brief history.
The 42-year-old Lance Archer is about to embark on his 20th year as a pro wrestler and has the accolades to go along with such a long career. Known mostly for his Killer Elite Squad team with Davey Boy Smith Jr., Archer has picked up tag team titles in NWA (4x with Smith, 6x overall), NJPW (3x) and Pro Wrestling NOAH (2x). While he does have some singles titles from smaller promotions, this is easily the top singles gold Archer has captured. And for a wrestler who has been with NJPW since 2011, certainly one that is well-earned.
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