Pro Wrestler Jay Briscoe Dies at 38
January 18, 2023 9:03 AM   Subscribe

Professional wrestler Jay Briscoe has died at age 38. Briscoe (real name Jamin Pugh) and his brother (IRL and on-screen) Mark were mainstays of the Ring of Honor promotion, appearing at its first-ever event. They would go on to hold the ROH Tag Team Championship 13 times over the next 20 years, including reigning as champions at the time of Jay's death. Jay also won the ROH World Championship on two occasions from 2013 to 2015.

In May 2013, Briscoe tweeted "...try and teach my kids that there's nothing wrong with [same-sex marriage] and I'll fucking shoot you." Pugh quickly apologized for this and other homophobic things he had tweeted over the years, saying they were meant to be in the voice of the redneck character he portrayed. Amid the mourning of Briscoe's death, fellow wrestler EFFY said "Jay Briscoe showed me respect and love when everyone told me he wouldn't. If you knew Jay, you knew he would uplift everyone in that locker room regardless of whatever world they came to wrestling from. The best. Rest easy, brother." The controversy over the tweets led many to theorize that the Briscoes were persona non grata with larger wrestling promotions over the years, with WWE likely passing over hiring them after ROH shut down in late 2021 and AEW seeming reluctant to feature them even after founder Tony Khan bought the remains of ROH a few months later.

Briscoe died in a car wreck, and it is believed that he was coming home from a cheerleading competition with his daughter, who also died in the crash. Her school has closed due to an "unthinkable tragedy in the community".
posted by Etrigan (6 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Back before I knew about Sinclair Media and Trump, I would catch as many ROH shows in my region as I could, and I don't think I ever saw a show that didn't have the Briscoes in it. They featured in every ROH Final Battle from 2006 until 2022 last month.

Here's a clip that resurfaced of Jay helping his daughter practice her cheerleading routine.

Maybe Tony should consider retiring the ROH tag belts, so that their victory in the FTR vs. Briscoes collar match is the final statement on the matter.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 9:51 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]


Maybe Tony should consider retiring the ROH tag belts, so that their victory in the FTR vs. Briscoes collar match is the final statement on the matter.

At the very least, the straps should be referred to as The Briscoe Belts from now on.
posted by Etrigan at 10:32 AM on January 18


In May 2013, Briscoe tweeted "...try and teach my kids that there's nothing wrong with [same-sex marriage] and I'll fucking shoot you." Pugh quickly apologized for this and other homophobic things he had tweeted over the years, saying they were meant to be in the voice of the redneck character he portrayed.

I don't think this really goes far enough to discuss how much work Jay Briscoe (and Mark) put into atoning for those comments. Last year in an interview, he said this:

I put out a stupid tweet nine years ago, the most dumbest, immature, obnoxious shit I’ve ever done. I don’t want anybody, from any walk of life, to feel like they can’t care for the Briscoes because I promise we love everybody. We love everybody and we just want to go out there and be pro wrestlers and give the best match that we can. I said some dumb shit a long time ago, I apologized for it and I’ll apologize for it again. It was stupid. I feel like now there are people who look at us like, ‘we can’t cheer for them because they hate a certain group of people.’ We don’t hate nobody. We love everybody. We’re just some country boys. I thought I was taking a stand for the Lord back in the day.

Jay in particular had also gotten a reputation for personally apologizing to queer wrestlers and fans for the comments, unprompted. He genuinely felt remorse and tried to make amends. For much the same reason, the Briscoes stopped wearing Confederate-themed gear (a staple of their career earlier) a few years ago.

The Briscoes were in the conversation for "best tag team in pro wrestling, period" for almost their entire careers. Their final feud, against FTR this past year, is arguably the best tag team wrestling feud of all time. Jay leaves behind a host of people who have lost a beloved friend and family member and a legacy of creative excellence most wrestlers never come close to achieving.
posted by mightygodking at 11:28 AM on January 18 [17 favorites]


As of an hour ago, both of Briscoe's daughters were alive; critically injured, but alive. The driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash did die.
posted by cooker girl at 12:15 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]


thankfully both girls had seatbelts on but it sounds like a horrific accident. how horrible for the families involved :(
posted by supermedusa at 12:23 PM on January 18


I never really followed ROH that much, so never really knew the Briscoes other than as a name until their matches this past year on AEW. Death in wrestling is such a common thing, and you see wrestlers putting out statements or tweets about respected elders a lot, enough that it’s almost normal to see. This is different, and you can see from different wrestlers reactions how painful this is. It’s a sudden and agonizing hike ripped open in the lives of everyone who knew and worked with him.

It seemed like this last year was a well deserved breakthrough for the Briscoes, reaching a larger audience than ever, and showing how well deserved it was in every match. I can’t articulate much past thinking that this is a goddamn shame, and a reminder of how capricious and cruel the world can be.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:50 PM on January 18


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