"The Murderhawk Monster" Lance Archer closed out AEW Dynamite this week by winning the second semifinal match in the TNT Championship tournament. The big took on the crafty veteran Dustin Rhodes, but was able to bust his head open early on and spent the rest of the match punishing the former WWE star. The final minutes of the match saw Archer rip off one of the top turnbuckles and repeatedly bash Rhodes' face against it. Both Cody Rhodes and QT Marshall ran out and teased throwing in the towel on Dustin's behalf, but Archer dragged him back towards the center of the rin and bashed his head against the canvas before holding him down for the pin.
Archer then stared down Cody afterwards, indicating that he'll be his next victim. Archer and "The American Nightmare" will face each other in the tournament finals at the Double or Nothing pay-per-view on May 23, and the winner will be crowned the company's first TNT Champion.
The rivalry between Rhodes and Archer can be traced back to early March when Jake "The Snake" Roberts made his surprise arrival in AEW and promised that his client would destroy Rhodes. That client was eventually revealed to be Archer, who had spent the majority of the previous year working as a singles star in New Japan and putting on solid matches with the likes of Juice Robinson, Will Ospreay and Jon Moxley. Rhodes has repeatedly said in both promos and interviews that he's not impressed by what Archer has done so far, leading to Roberts accusing him of ducking the challenge.
Roberts talked about his excitement for the Rhodes/Archer program in a recent interview with Sportskeeda.
I did the little card-dealing gimmick I did for them [at Double Or Nothing], that was just a nice thing to do, where I dealt the cards out for that thing they were doing. But then to get invited to do this angle was much bigger. It's going to be huge. We haven't really started it yet. It's yet to blossom into what it's going to be. We're going to do some more stuff this week. They've gone back to the old-school way of doing things, which I love. That's building something instead of doing it the WWE way where they build it the first part of the show and then end it by the end of the show. (laughs) This, people will remember, because they're taking the time to build it properly."
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