Preview and Pick for Cody vs. Lance Archer Match Ahead of AEW Double or NothingMay 18, 2020
All Elite Wrestling's Double or Nothing card is stacked with intriguing matches. None, however, has gotten as deeply personal as Cody vs. Lance Archer.
The Murderhawk and The American Nightmare have been at each other's throats while keeping their rivalry at the forefront of AEW programming the past couple of months.
Below is a breakdown of the rivalry until now. Watch their match and the rest of the Double or Nothing event at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on B/R Live.
The Beginning: Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
In the aftermath of Cody losing to MJF at Revolution, he walked to the ring and vented about his defeat. Then, Jake "The Snake" Roberts made a surprise appearance on Dynamite to confront the 34-year-old. No one knew why he was there, but it soon became obvious that Roberts had bad intentions.
"I'm not here to praise you," Roberts said. "I'm here to slay you."
The Hall of Famer said he had a client coming to AEW who would strip Cody of his glory. The week after, Roberts and Archer appeared ringside while watching Cody's match against Ortiz.
Introduction of Lance Archer
Some fans knew of Archer's work in New Japan Pro-Wrestling as a former IWGP United States champion and three-time tag team champion, but The Murderhawk hadn't been exposed to a U.S. audience in nearly a decade. It was important for him to come off as an absolute monster immediately, and he did just that.
With his 6'8", near-300-pound frame and Roberts as his mouthpiece, Archer started his AEW career by flattening Marko Stunt and local talent. Along with his brute strength, the 43-year-old also showcased surprising speed for someone his size.
Throughout Archer's early weeks in the company, Roberts cut promo after promo trying to get Cody's attention. He cited a lack of interest from AEW when it first launched as the reason he and Archer were there to take what they wanted.
"My phone didn't ring, and here I am as the best mind the business has ever had," Roberts said. "And yet, I didn't get a phone call. Lance Archer was in Japan where you guys saw him romping and stomping. Maybe that's the problem—you guys saw what he was doing and you were afraid ... It's time for you to stand up and meet the man. It wasn't going to be something that turned personal, but it will and it has ... Meet us just once and we'll get done what we want done."
Cody continued to ignore their calls ahead of the TNT Championship tournament that both he and Archer were part of.
AEW TNT Championship Tournament
To crown the inaugural TNT champion, an eight-man tournament took place starting April 8.
Cody opened the bracket by defeating former rival Shawn Spears in a back-and-forth affair. He then met Darby Allin in a frantic semifinal match that eventually saw Cody win after multiple near-falls.
Meanwhile, Archer picked apart Colt Cabana in the quarterfinals before meeting Dustin Rhodes in the next round for a shot at the TNT Championship. It was another dominant showing from Archer, who toyed with Cody's half-brother throughout the match. QT Marshall nearly threw in the towel for Dustin after he began bleeding profusely, but The Natural wouldn't allow it.
Instead, Archer eventually showed mercy and pinned Dustin to advance to the final where he'll take on Cody at Double or Nothing in hopes of becoming the inaugural TNT champion.
Archer and Cody Come to Blows
Archer took on Marshall the week after his semifinal match and defeated him in ruthless fashion, intentionally refusing to pin the Nightmare Family member until The Murderhawk was satisfied with the amount of brutality.
Brandi Rhodes, who accompanied Marshall, was thrown into the ring after Britt Baker attacked her ringside. Then, Roberts brought out a massive snake and threw it over Rhodes before taunting her.
An enraged Cody bulldozed through the arena barricade with his truck a week later, confronting Archer and Roberts while they spoke inside the ring. The two men who will meet for the TNT Championship brawled in and out of the ring until Roberts told his client to retreat ahead of his match with Cody at Double or Nothing.
It's not surprising that Archer and Cody are meeting in the TNT Championship tournament's final. AEW established an impending rivalry between the two before the tournament even began, so it was only fitting both gained momentum from the opening rounds before colliding in hopes of becoming the inaugural champion.
However, it's Archer's momentum that should continue by winning the title. There would be little sense in promoting him as a ruthless behemoth up to this point just to see him fall to Cody. There's star power in the combination of Archer and Roberts, and AEW has only just scratched the surface of their partnership.
A long title run for Archer as they establish the belt as a world-renowned championship could be in the works, while Cody losing their match at Double or Nothing wouldn't negatively impact his credibility as one of the biggest faces at AEW considering how powerful Archer has come off.