AEW kicked off the new year with a new challenger for Hangman Page following his successful title defense against Bryan Danielson. Lance Archer made his return from a pre-Full Gear injury sustained in the world title eliminator tournament to decimate the reigning champ.
Now scheduled for the February 19 episode of Dynamite, Hangman Page will defend his title against Archer in a Texas Deathmatch. The extreme match stipulation is favored by Archer, having captured the IWGP US title from Jon Moxley previously.
Former WWE manager Jim Cornette has reservations over the use of the match type. Speaking on the Jim Cornette Experience, the former Smoky Mountain promoter explained the reasons behind his concerns:
“The first match between them, whether there’s going to be a series or not we don’t know, is a Texas Deathmatch. Why is a Texas Deathmatch the stipulation for the very first match between the guys? When they haven’t had a regular match yet? We’re going immediately to one man cannot continue that’s the only way this thing can be over; before we have an actual wrestling match, for the challenger who hasn’t wrestled because of injury in the past four months. Help me out here!” (2:50:00 onwards)
Cornette believes the use of the gimmick match from the get-go makes little sense when traditionally gimmick matches were used in the progression of a feud. Page and Archer have only just commenced their feud and look to square off for the first time in AEW.
The new year paved the way for Lance Archer’s AEW title challenge
Lance Archer had previously been injured battling Eddie Kingston in the tournament eventually won by Bryan Danielson. With AEW’s rankings restarting at the turn of the new year, it was the right time for Archer to call his shot.
Before his injury, Lance Archer sat at #4 in the rankings and on the cusp of becoming a challenger to then-champ Kenny Omega. Hangman Page denied Archer his initial opportunity when he returned as the Joker to win the Casino Ladder Match. Now Archer has returned with a vengeance and promises to rip the title away from The Millennial Cowboy.
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