Heading into Full Gear 2022, AEW is having a tournament to decide who will become the first number-one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship after either Jon Moxley or MJF leaves The Rock in Newark, New Jersey with the strap. Dubbed the “World Title Eliminator Tournament” for obvious reasons, things took an interesting turn when Lance Archer vs. Ricky Starks, one of the initial matches of the eight-man event, was postponed because the former beat the latter up so badly in a backstage segment on Dynamite that “Absolute” wasn't medically cleared to perform. While the tournament continued on as planned, with the semi-finals match between Bandido and “All Ego” Ethan Page curiously lapping the opening contest of “The Murderhawk Monster” and “Stroke Daddy,” fans still wondered what was going on with the former member of Team Taz and the in-ring ward of Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
On Dynamite, Starks was afforded a chance to address the situation in a backstage segment following Death Triangle's match against AR Fox and Top Flight, and even the acknowledged return of The Elite, Kenny Omega, and the Young Bucks, couldn't outshine him.
“Lance Archer, you got one up on old Absolute, I was not medically cleared last week because of an attack by you, and that’s cool,” Starks said backstage. “you love to attack people, hey, so do I. That’s why this week on Rampage it’s gonna be you and me, and I’m saying this: Let’s start backstage, let’s start with me wrapping my hands around your braids and dog-walking you around the arena and then breaking them off and making you choke on them. Why? Because I don’t talk in ifs, ands, or maybes, I talk in absolute. And the absolute truth is this: On Rampage this week, I am going to beat you.”
So what, is Starkman going to run through Archer, beat his former Team Taz partner, Brian Cage, and then become the number-one contender at Full Gear? Well, let's just say Archer has another idea of how their match will go down, and it involves a whole lot less “dog-walking.”
— AEW on TV (@AEWonTV) November 17, 2022
Lance Archer is ready to unleash the chaos on AEW Rampage.
Though Archer wasn't at Dynamite for reasons he would explain later, “The Murderhawk Monster” sent in a video package to the AEW social media team, and it was re-tweeted to the promotion's 882.2K followers.
“Ricky, we’ve known each other for a long time,” Archer began. “And you know that there is the calm and the chaos to my existence. Last week, you ran into “The Murderhawk,” you ran into the chaos, you ran into the anger and the frustration that has been building for month after month after… month. But now, I’m coming to you simply as Lance Archer and I’m going to try to appeal to what you think is your smarter side. Ricky, do not show up on Rampage on Friday; there’s a reason I’m not there tonight because they knew, they knew if I was there tonight you would not be medically cleared ever again. But if you insist and you want to start this fight backstage Friday, you are going to run into chaos that you never experienced before Ricky. I was there at the beginning of Ricky Starks in professional wrestling and if you show up on Friday, which I am begging you not to Ricky, then I will be there for the end of Ricky Starks. Because Ricky, everybody dies.”
Oh… snap, while Archer isn't the most prominently booked member of the AEW Galaxy – why? beats me – when Tony Khan needs a big-time foe for another performer to overcome or a heelish machine to run the table for a bit in the upper mid-card while he builds up a worthy champion, the 22-year pro and heavy of Minoru Suzuki's Suzuki-gun faction in New Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Noah is a perfect man for the job, as his matches against Cody Rhodes, “Hangman” Adam Page, and even current World Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley know all too well. If Starks is going to beat out the odds, beat Cage for a spot in the World Title Eliminator Tournament” finale at Full Gear, and eventually secure the win over “All Ego” Ethan Page with (presumably) help from Stokley Hathaway, “Big Bill” W. Morrissey, The Gunns, Lee Moriarty and whomever else The Firm decides to bring along for the ride, he'll first need to overcome “The Murderhawk Monster” and prove that while everybody dies, this former FTW Champion has a lot of fight left in him.