Lance Hoyt

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Lance Hoyt
Lance Hoyt.jpg
Born (1977-02-28) February 28, 1977 (age 37)[1][2]
Gause, Texas[3]
Resides Austin, Texas[4]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Breakdown[4]
Dallas[4]
Hoyt[4]
Lance Archer[4]
Lance Hoyt[4]
Lance Rock[4]
Lance Steel[4]
Shadow[4]
Vance Archer[5]
Billed height 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)[1]
Billed weight 270 lb (120 kg)[1]
Billed from Dallas, Texas[5]
Austin, Texas[1]
Trained by Solo Fiatala[4][6]
Debut July 2000[4][6]

Lance Hoyt (born February 28, 1977)[4][1] is an American professional wrestler, currently signed to New Japan Pro Wrestling as Lance Archer, where he teams with Davey Boy Smith, Jr. as the Killer Elite Squad (K.E.S.).

He is also known for his work in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, where he was a two-time NWA World Tag Team Champion with Kid Kash while the title was under the TNA banner.[4] He also worked in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)[7] under the ring name Vance Archer.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Texas (2000–2009)[edit]

In 2000, Hoyt began training as a wrestler under Solo Faitala,[4] and debuted in July 2000, facing Tarzan Taylor in his first match. He spent the next four years working on the Texas independent circuit, using the ring names Lance Steel and Breakdown, the latter being a character created in the spur-of-the-moment by Hoyt in Corpus Christi when he had forgotten his usual ring attire and was forced to wrestle in his street clothing.[3] Hoyt's most notable tenure within the Texas independent circuit was in Professional Championship Wrestling (PCW), where he debuted in 2000 as Shadow, a dark heel character. Throughout his time in PCW, he faced notable opponents including Paul London and Ahmed Johnson and early in his tenure, he created a stable called "The Dark Circle".[3] Hoyt later left PCW upon signing with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) before later making his returned to the promotion in 2006 under his real name, while using his former Shadow ring name simply as a nickname. Soon after his return to PCW, Hoyt proceeded to win the Tag Team Championship with Wally Darkmon in 2006. Beginning in 2008, Hoyt reverted to his Shadow ring name and gimmick, while also adopting a mask. This was short-lived, however, as Hoyt unmasked and suddenly began using his Rock 'n Rave Infection gimmick from TNA a few months later. Following his release from TNA, PCW announced they had released Hoyt from his contract, which turned out to be a storyline, leading to Hoyt revealing he had a PCW "legends contract". Hoyt would go on to briefly become the commissioner of PCW before it was announced that he had signed a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling[edit]

Singles competition (2004–2007)[edit]

Hoyt was hired by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) in March 2004 and immediately teamed up with X Division mainstay Kid Kash as Dallas, Kash's bodyguard, tag team partner and on-screen relative.[3] He and Kash took part in a tournament for the vacant NWA World Tag Team Championship and won the vacant titles by defeating Low Ki and Christopher Daniels in the finals on April 7.[8] They lost the titles to D'Lo Brown and Apolo the subsequent week, then regained them from Brown and Apolo the week following that.[8] Their second and final reign ended on June 4 of that year when they were defeated by America's Most Wanted.[3]

Hoyt posing with Jimmy Hart.

After Kash was suspended by TNA in June 2004, Hoyt was reduced to wrestling dark matches. He appeared sporadically with TNA throughout the remainder of the year, and aided Kash in his feud with A.J. Styles upon his return from suspension.[3] In January 2005, Hoyt began wrestling under his own name at the instruction of booker Dusty Rhodes.[3] The common explanation for this is that they wanted no confusion between Hoyt and Diamond Dallas Page. Hoyt and Kash competed in the tag team division, unsuccessfully challenging America's Most Wanted for the NWA World Tag Team Championship at Against All Odds on February 13, until Kash was released by TNA on April 19, 2005.[9] Left without a partner, Hoyt teamed with Chris Candido to face Sonny Siaki and Apolo in a cage match at Lockdown.[10] In the course of the match, Candido suffered a serious leg injury and was stretchered out, and Hoyt was pinned shortly thereafter.[10] Following the match, Candido's cohorts, The Naturals, attacked Hoyt, thus turning him into a face character.[10]

Hoyt began developing a strong fan following, leading to his introducing a gimmick known as "Hoytamania", a reference to the "Hulkamania" surrounding Hulk Hogan.[3] He feuded with Team Canada throughout mid-2005, and lost to Abyss at Sacrifice.[11] He lost to Monty Brown at Bound for Glory[12] and was involved in the 10-man Gauntlet match later in the night to determine the number one contender for Jeff Jarrett's NWA World Heavyweight Championship.[12] In that match, Hoyt was eliminated by eventual winner Rhino.[12] He later began teaming with Matt Bentley in mid-card tag matches until a misinterpreted steel chair incident led Bentley to believe Hoyt had "screwed" him, and he severely turned on him with a spontaneous brawl by ringside, consisting of several chairshots. Hoyt defeated Bentley at Destination X.[13] He returned to TNA at No Surrender in the Triple Chance Tag Team battle royal as a partner to Ron "The Truth" Killings, but he was one of the first eliminated from the match.[14] Hoyt made his Spike TV return, teaming with Killings to defeat Matt Bentley and Kazarian.

Hoyt participated in the Fight for the Right Tournament, where he was one of the last two remaining men, making it to the third stage of the match. He lost to Abyss, who won a bye to the tournament finals for a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Even so, he wrestled Ron Killings in the quarterfinals of the tournament on the 2 November episode of Impact!, but was defeated. At Genesis, Hoyt and Killings defeated Austin Starr and Alex Shelley with Kevin Nash at ringside.[15]

The Rock 'n Rave Infection (2007–2009)[edit]

Hoyt in The Rock 'n Rave Infection with Christy Hemme.

After Killings was given a new program, Hoyt started teaming up with the Voodoo Kin Mafia (VKM). His role with the team seemed to be that of a friend and bodyguard, watching their backs during their matches, and working the occasional six-man tag team match with them on Impact!. At Slammiversary, VKM defeated Basham and Damaja when Kip James pinned Basham, but Hoyt turned his back on VKM when Kip was about to attack Christy Hemme.[16] He kissed Hemme after the match, thus re-establishing himself as a heel.[16] Hoyt lost to Abyss on an episode of Impact! and a week after that he lost to Kip James. He would then become part of a tag team managed by Hemme alongside the returning Jimmy Rave, later named The Rock 'n Rave Infection. They soon became a comedic rock band trio, with Hoyt and Rave entering the ring with Guitar Hero game controllers and Hemme screaming on a microphone.

Hoyt competed at Lockdown in a "Cuffed in the Cage" match losing to the eventual winner, Super Eric.[17] He changed his ringname to Lance Rock on the July 17 episode of Impact!, where he defeated Matt Morgan shortly after Morgan.[18]

Since then, The Rock 'n Rave Infection defeated the teams of Abyss and Matt Morgan, The Latin American Xchange, and The Prince Justice Brotherhood (Super Eric, Shark Boy, and Curry Man), the latter of whom soon began a feud with The Rock 'n Rave Infection. On February 10, 2009, Hoyt was released from his TNA contract.[19] He wrestled his last match in TNA on the February 26 edition of Impact!, teaming with Rave and losing to Beer Money, Inc. in an "Off the Wagon Challenge".[4]

World Wrestling Entertainment[edit]

Florida Championship Wrestling (2009)[edit]

After a brief stint in All Japan Pro Wrestling as a member of the Voodoo Murders, on April 26, 2009, Hoyt announced he had signed a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment.[7][20] He wrestled in WWE's developmental promotion Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) under the ring name Lance Archer.[4] For his first match, he teamed up with Jon Cutler and was defeated by Duke Rotundo and Vic Adams. His ring name was then tweaked to Vance Archer.[4]

ECW (2009–2010)[edit]

Hoyt as Vance Archer in FCW.

On the November 3 episode of ECW, Hoyt, now clean shaven and sporting both a short haircut and new attire, made his WWE debut under his Vance Archer ring name as a heel, defeating Logan Jones in an intense match.[21] After defeating several enhancement talents over the following weeks, Archer defeated Tommy Dreamer on the December 8 episode of ECW.[22] Archer continued his winning streak when he once again defeated Dreamer on the December 17, 2009 episode of WWE Superstars.[23] On the December 22 episode of ECW, Archer defeated Goldust in an "ECW Homecoming" qualifying match to advance to a battle royal where the winner would face ECW Champion Christian at Royal Rumble for the ECW Title.[24] He then started a feud with Shelton Benjamin, which saw Archer lose to him via disqualification on the December 31 episode of Superstars.[25] However, Archer's unpinned streak was left intact. On the January 12, 2010 episode of ECW, Archer was unable to win the "Homecoming Battle Royal" as he was eliminated by Benjamin.[26] The next week on Superstars, Archer was defeated by Benjamin, thus breaking his streak of not being pinned.[27] The two continued to exchange victories, as Archer defeated Benjamin on the February 2 episode of ECW while Benjamin defeated Archer in a no disqualification match the following week.[28][29] Hoyt made his WrestleMania debut on March 28, 2010 as he competed in a 26-man pre-show battle royal at WrestleMania XXVI, where he was eliminated.[30]

The Gatecrashers (2010)[edit]

Following the disbanding of the ECW brand, Archer competed in dark matches and in FCW, and was eventually moved to the SmackDown brand, forming a tag team with Curt Hawkins. They made their television debut as a team on the May 13 episode of Superstars, defeating two local competitors. After the match, Hawkins stated that he and Archer had been given a 30-day contract to "make an impact."[31] The team made its SmackDown debut on the May 21 episode, winning another squash match.[32] In an attempt to make an impact, the duo attacked Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) and Christian on consecutive episodes of SmackDown on June 4 and June 11, which they followed up on by defeating both in a tag team match on June 18. The next week the duo was officially named "The Gatecrashers".[33]

The team came to an end on the October 7 episode of Superstars after a match between Archer and Chris Masters. Archer accidentally struck Hawkins outside the ring, after which the two argued and a distracted Archer lost the match. Afterwards, Hawkins assaulted Archer.[34] Archer returned to singles competition on the November 4 edition of Superstars, losing to Luke Gallows.[35]

On November 19, 2010, Archer was released from his contract along with five other Superstars.[36]

New Japan Pro Wrestling (2011–present)[edit]

Main articles: Suzukigun and Killer Elite Squad
Archer during a tour with New Japan

On May 15, 2011, Hoyt made his debut for New Japan Pro Wrestling, during the promotion's first-ever tour of the United States, attacking Satoshi Kojima after a match.[37] The following day it was announced that Hoyt, under the ring name Lance Archer, had joined Minoru Suzuki's Suzukigun, who had recently begun feuding with Kojima.[38] Archer made his in-ring debut on June 18 at Dominion 6.18 in Osaka, teaming with Suzuki in a tag team match, where they defeated Kojima and Togi Makabe.[39][40] Three days later, the Suzukigun team of Archer, Taichi and Taka Michinoku was eliminated from the J Sports Crown Openweight 6 Man Tag Tournament in the first round by Kojima, Makabe and Tomoaki Honma.[41] In August, Archer took part in the 2011 G1 Climax, where he would manage to win four out of his nine matches, including defeating former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Togi Makabe in his opening match, finishing eighth out of the ten wrestlers in his block.[42] Archer had his to date highest profile match in New Japan on September 19, when he was defeated by Togi Makabe.[43] In the 2011 G1 Tag League, Archer teamed with Minoru Suzuki and, after four wins and one loss, the team finished second in their block, advancing to the semifinals of the tournament.[44] On November 6, Archer and Suzuki first defeated the CHAOS Top Team (Shinsuke Nakamura and Toru Yano) in the semifinals and then IWGP Tag Team Champions Bad Intentions (Giant Bernard and Karl Anderson) in the finals to win the 2011 G1 Tag League.[45] On November 12 at Power Struggle, Archer and Suzuki failed in their attempt to capture the IWGP Tag Team Championship from Bad Intentions.[46] On February 12, 2012, at The New Beginning, Archer, Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Taka Michinoku and Yoshihiro Takayama of the Suzukigun took a dominant 5–1 win over Kushida, Tiger Mask IV, Togi Makabe, Wataru Inoue and Yuji Nagata in a ten man elimination tag team match, with Archer scoring eliminations over Kushida, Tiger Mask and Inoue.[47] Afterwards, Archer and Takayama challenged Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima) to a match for the IWGP Tag Team Championship.[48] On March 18, Archer and Takayama were unsuccessful in their title challenge.[49] On July 22 at Kizuna Road, Archer, Suzuki, Michinoku and Taichi defeated Prince Devitt, Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe and Yuji Nagata in an eight man elimination tag team match, with Archer scoring three of his team's four eliminations. Following the match, Archer had a staredown with Makabe, building up to their upcoming match in the 2012 G1 Climax tournament.[50] The match took place on August 1, the first day of the tournament, and saw Archer pick up the win over the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion for the second year in a row.[51] After four wins and three losses, Archer headed to the final day of the tournament on August 12 tied at the top of his block, however, a loss to MVP in his final match caused him to get eliminated from the finals.[52][53]

Archer with Suzukigun in February 2012.

In the aftermath of Suzukigun's July 22 win, Archer had also made a challenge for the IWGP Tag Team Championship, held by Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima, but did not specify who his partner for the match would be.[54] On August 13, Harry Smith, later renamed Davey Boy Smith, Jr., was revealed as Archer's partner and the newest member of Suzukigun.[55] On October 8 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Archer and Smith, now known as the K.E.S. (Killer Elite Squad), defeated Kojima and Tenzan to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.[56][57] K.E.S. made their first successful title defense on November 11 at Power Struggle, defeating Tenzan and Kojima in a rematch.[58][59] From November 20 to December 1, K.E.S. took part in the round-robin portion of the 2012 World Tag League, finishing with a record of four wins and two losses, advancing to the semifinals of the tournament in the second place in their group.[60][61] On December 2, K.E.S. defeated Always Hypers (Togi Makabe and Wataru Inoue) to advance to the finals of the tournament, Archer's second in a row.[62] Later that same day, K.E.S. was defeated in the finals of the 2012 World Tag League by Sword & Guns (Hirooki Goto and Karl Anderson).[62] On January 4, 2013, at Wrestle Kingdom 7 in Tokyo Dome, K.E.S. defeated Sword & Guns in a rematch to retain the IWGP Tag Team Championship.[63][64] On February 10 at The New Beginning, Archer and Smith defeated Tenzan and Kojima for their third successful defense of the IWGP Tag Team Championship.[65] On March 3 at New Japan's 41st anniversary event, Archer unsuccessfully challenged Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.[66] On April 5, Archer and Smith made their fourth successful defense of the IWGP Tag Team Championship against Nakamura and Tomohiro Ishii.[67] On April 20, Archer and Smith defeated Ryan Genesis and Scot Summers in Houston, Texas to not only retain the IWGP Tag Team Championship, but to also win the NWA World Tag Team Championship.[68] On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2013, K.E.S. lost the IWGP Tag Team Championship back to Tencozy in a four-way match, which also included Takashi Iizuka and Toru Yano, and Manabu Nakanishi and Strong Man, though neither Archer nor Smith was involved in the finish.[69][70] K.E.S. received a rematch for the title on June 22 at Dominion 6.22 in a three-way match, which also included Iizuka and Yano, but were unable to regain the title, when Kojima pinned Archer for the win.[71][72] On August 1, Archer entered the 2013 G1 Climax.[73] The tournament concluded on August 11 with a match, where Archer defeated his tag team partner Davey Boy Smith, Jr., costing Smith a spot in the finals and giving Archer a record of four wins and five losses.[74][75] On November 9 at Power Struggle, K.E.S. faced Tencozy and The IronGodz (Jax Dane and Rob Conway) in a two-fall three-way match. In the first fall, they lost the NWA World Tag Team Championship to The IronGodz, but came back in the second to defeat Tencozy for the IWGP Tag Team Championship.[76][77] From November 24 to December 8, K.E.S. took part in the 2013 World Tag League.[78] After winning their round-robin block with a record of five wins and one loss,[79] they were eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals by their old rivals, Tencozy.[80] On January 4, 2014, at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tokyo Dome, K.E.S. lost the IWGP Tag Team Championship to the winners of the tournament, Bullet Club (Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson).[81][82] K.E.S. received a rematch for the title on February 9 at The New Beginning in Hiroshima, but were again defeated by Bullet Club.[83][84] On May 25 at Back to the Yokohama Arena, K.E.S. failed to regain the NWA World Tag Team Championship from Tencozy in a three-way match, which also included Rob Conway and Wes Brisco.[85] On June 21 at Dominion 6.21, K.E.S. received another shot at the NWA World Tag Team Championship, this time in a regular tag team match, but were again defeated by Tencozy.[86] From July 23 to August 8, Archer took part in the 2014 G1 Climax, where he finished tied sixth in his block with a record of four wins and six losses.[87][88] On October 13 at King of Pro-Wrestling, K.E.S. defeated Tencozy to regain the NWA World Tag Team Championship.[89][90] From November 22 to December 5, K.E.S. took part in the 2014 World Tag League.[91] The team finished their block with a record of four wins and three losses, narrowly missing the finals of the tournament.[92]

Other media[edit]

Hoyt, as Vance Archer, made his video game debut in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011.[93]

Personal life[edit]

In high school, Hoyt played basketball, football, and baseball.[8] He attended Texas State University, where he played college football as a quarterback.[3][8] He has a degree in English.[3] While in college he worked at a nightclub, where an acquaintance introduced him to Solo Fiatala, who trained him to be a professional wrestler.[8]

In wrestling[edit]

Archer and Davey Boy Smith, Jr. performing the Killer Bomb on Hiroyoshi Tenzan.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Archer (left) and Davey Boy Smith, Jr., the Killer Elite Squad, as the NWA World Tag Team Champions in June 2013.
  • Gippsland Pro Wrestling
    • GPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[116]
  • Heavy on Wrestling
    • HOW Undisputed Championship (1 time, current)[117]
  • Professional Championship Wrestling
    • PCW Heavyweight Championship (3 times)[8]
    • PCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Wally Darkmon[106]
    • PCW Television Championship (1 time)[8]
  • River City Wrestling
    • RCW Championship (1 time)[120]
  • Traditional Championship Wrestling
    • TCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[122]

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External links[edit]