RIP Jay Briscoe
I’m at that age now where the immortality we felt when we were younger is starting to dissipate slowly but surely. Father Time comes for us all. Of course we all feel aches and pains, but you realize that once you become elderly, time comes for us all. We are not immortal.
So today, as a wrestling fan, hearing the news that Jay Briscoe passed away at 38 years old in a car accident numbs you.
38 years old? Jesus Christ Almighty, life has only just begun.
To every die-hard Ring of Honor fan, Jay Briscoe literally built the foundation of the promotion. He was on the very first show in the very first singles match against the Amazing Red at "The Era Of Honor Begins" on February 23, 2002. How’s that for history?
Over the next twenty years, he was involved in so many turnovers and eras with the promotion. From RF Video to Cary Silkin to Sinclair Broadcasting to Tony Khan; from Gabe Sapolsky to Adam Pearce to Jim Cornette to Delirious. Every turning point of Ring of Honor, Jay Briscoe was there.
What’s wild is that he did it alongside his brother.
From Day 1, Jay and Mark Briscoe DOMINATED tag team wrestling in ROH. After going under the guidance of Jim Cornette in 2003, the Briscoes beat Izzy and Dixie of Special K to become ROH Tag Team champions at Main Event Spectacles at the RexPlex on November 1. It was the first of THIRTEEN REIGNS as the top tag team in ROH.
Special K, Maff & Whitmer, Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal, Naruki Doi & SHINGO, the No Remorse Corps, the American Wolves, Haas & Benjamin, Jimmy Jacobs & Steve Corino, the Motor City Machine Guns, So Cal Uncensored, the Guerillas of Destiny, the Kingdom, and FTR all saw their ROH Tag Team title reigns eradicated by the boys from Sandy Fork, Delaware.
More than that, the tag team matches they had are among the greatest performances ever in the history of the game. The Briscoes, especially in ROH, made tag team wrestling special again.
Their matches with FTR are being universally praised at the moment, but during the “glory days” of ROH in the mid-2000s, the Briscoes against Austin Aries and Roderick Strong were unreal. Their sprint with AJ Styles and Matt Sydal at the 100th show in 2006, the war with the Age of the Fall in 2008, and the epic LADDER WAR with Kevin Steen and El Generico at “MAN UP” in 2007 on pay-per-view still remain etched on my memory to this very day.
Even with all the tag accolades the Briscoes made, as a singles competitor, Jay held the most important belt in North America, the ROH World championship, TWICE! He first beat Kevin Steen at Supercard of Honor VII on April 5, 2013 at the Hammerstein Ballroom and then, a year later, at All Star Extravaganza VI in Toronto, Ontario, Canada against Michael Elgin on September 6, 2014.
He never split with Mark at all. Of course, like most brothers, there were disagreements. There were three separate matches between the brothers (Fifth Year Festival: Finale in 2007, Best in the World in 2013, Fight on the Farm in 2021), but they always reconnected at the end of the day. Families fight, but the bond remains strong.
Obviously, as a wrestling fan, that’s all I can really say about him - as a performer, he was fantastic.
But there is a human side, naturally, to this whole thing. Jay Briscoe had a family. He had a wife and three kids. He had a brother, sister-in-law, nieces and nephews, uncles and aunts. Those people, who had him on a day-to-day basis, lost something way more than us wrestling fans could ever imagine. Add in reports that his kids were involved with the crash and injured, this is a tragedy.
I’ve never been a praying person, or believe in anything spiritual, but today, you just have to send a prayer out into the ether for the man and hope for his family to overcome.
Also, seeing the mass humanity of wrestlers sending out stories of him being a family man and how kind of a human being he was showcases the measure of a man he was. To those that held a grudge against him for a tweet he made, in which he apologized multiple times for and, in turn, grew and became a better person because of his mistake, I hope you realize the power of change and growth. Jay Briscoe, from these wrestlers’ accounts, did that and then some.
On top of which, two of my friends, who became wrestlers as well, actually made a connection with the Briscoes. It’s their stories to tell, but from what I heard, the Briscoes were as kind and generous as they come. That goes a long way with me.
Respect from your family and peers: nothing like it.
I want to end this post with this. On March 13, 2004, my two friends and I went to the RexPlex in Elizabeth, NJ for Ring of Honor “At Our Best”. Samoa Joe defended his ROH World Title against Jay Briscoe in a Steel Cage match. At 21 years old, Briscoe put in the performance of a lifetime, laying it all on the line, as well as bleeding profusely. The blood was so thick that it was CLOTTING as it came out of his cranium. That match legitimized Jay as an absolute badass.
My two friends and I were so enthralled by this match and the subsequent Scramble Cage match that we decided to follow Ring of Honor full-time. A few years later, they got involved in pro wrestling as performers. Jay Briscoe’s performance caused that.
Without that match, I don’t know if I would have watched wrestling past 2004. #MANUP
Father Time comes for all of us. I just don’t think he should come for someone at 38 years old.
Rest In Power to Jay Briscoe. A prayer and a thought to his family, including his brother, wife, and two kids who were hurt in the car accident as well.
As a fan, I’m numb.
But I do know two things.
Jay Briscoe is the perfect example to look up to if you wish to be a financially successful independent professional wrestler.
Jamin Pugh, from testimonials from his peers, loved his family and was beloved by them.
If there is a way to live a great life, respect and love is the recipe for success. It’s damn close to immortality as it gets.