BANKIE'S HOT TAKE #62 - Lethal vs Maff: For Mikey
At American Championship Entertainment’s A Hero’s Celebration on February 3, 2024 at the Knights of Columbus of Teaneck in Teaneck, NJ, a very special match has been signed, dedicated to the memory of the late, great Mike Morgan, Jr, between two ACE legends.
Former two-time Ring of Honor World and multi-time TNA X-Division Champion Jay Lethal, currently in All Elite Wrestling, goes one-on-one with former Ring of Honor World Tag Team Champion and three-time ACE Heavyweight champion Dan Maff!
The history between the pair is deeper than one could imagine.
Maff and Lethal have, at one point or another, had their careers intersected with each other at every stop.
Both men are former Jersey All-Pro Wrestling Heavyweight champions. In fact, in 2005, Maff and Lethal were embroiled in a feud for Maff’s title. However, Maff took a sabbatical from wrestling for three years, beginning in March, forcing a vacancy of the gold. Lethal won the championship two months later in May. Then, after Maff’s return to professional wrestling in 2008, Lethal and Maff found themselves connected again over the JAPW title, which Maff ultimately won in a steel cage match on June 27, 2009 in Jersey City, NJ.
It was the same with ROH. Lethal, as a member of the rich kid raver group Special K, nicknamed Hydro, would be one of the many getting their heads handed to them by Da Hit Squad, Maff’s tag team, and Low Ki in 2002-2003. Once Lethal got rehabilitated and became a pupil to then-ROH World Champion Samoa Joe, Lethal evolved into ROH’s “franchise” over the next two decades, winning every championship available and becoming the face of the promotion. In 2020, after Maff made his return to the company, he formed a tag team with Jeff Cobb and, in a non-title Proving Ground match, defeated Jonathan Gresham and Lethal, who were the World Tag Team Champions at the time.
For American Championship Entertainment, both men were heavily involved in establishing the promotion during the late 2000s-early 2010s. However, in ACE, there was never a big one-on-one match between the pair. It just never happened…
[EDIT: Robert Lotti, ACE superfan and extraordinaire, alerted me that a one-on-one match in ACE DID happen at the last ACE show at the ACE Arena on September 10, 2011. HOWEVER, Lethal won by disqualification, but no real clear winner here. Thanks Robert.]
UNTIL FEBRUARY 3, 2024.
The memory of Mikey Viruet still hangs over the world of American Championship Entertainment to this day. He was, is, and forever will be the heart of ACE. Everyone who knew him loved him.
None loved him as much as Jay Lethal and Dan Maff.
When Mikey was a kid, he always hung around the ACE Arena at 725 Sip Street in Union City, NJ. He bonded with Jay, who was the head trainer of the wrestling school, and saw him as a big brother. The bond between the pair was strong.
With Maff and Mike Morgan, Mikey’s father, being close friends from childhood, Mikey’s bond with Dan was also very strong. Mikey consistently sat under the learning tree of Maff after most ACE shows, gaining insight and guidance on the wrestling business and life.
Both men have one objective in mind: to face each other at A Hero’s Celebration to honor the spirit and passion Mikey Viruet brought to wrestling and life.
February 3, 2024 in Teaneck, NJ will have a match you can’t miss on a night you will never forget.
Lethal vs Maff: For Mikey.