Jamin Pugh, better known to wrestling fans as Jay Briscoe, tragically passed away in a car accident on January 17th, 2023. Briscoe was only 38 years old. Briscoe’s untimely death has led to numerous wrestlers and fans reflecting on his career.
Jay Briscoe was one half of the Briscoe Brothers with his younger brother, Mark. Together, the Briscoe Brothers were a recognizable name among the Northeast independents appearing on dozens of promotions cards throughout the 2000s and 2010s. However, they got their first significant break working for Ring of Honor, with Jay appearing on the first show, the Era Of Honor Begins.
With Mark Briscoe being too young to wrestle in Pennsylvania legally, Jay worked as a singles wrestler for a few months. After that, Mark appeared in ROH, but as a manager. They would compete in a singles match against each other on August 24th, 2002, but that happened because ROH had a show in Massachusetts where Mark was old enough to compete. Their second singles match against each other was on February 8th, 2003, in New York, with Jay winning the encounter.
Since March 22nd, 2003, The Briscoe Brothers have been the best tag team in Ring of Honor history. The Briscoe Brothers won the ROH World Tag Team Championships an impressive thirteen times. Throughout their career in ROH, the Briscoe Brothers had some memorable feuds with some of the best tag teams.
Their first memorable feud was their matches against AJ Styles and Amazing Red. Despite the Briscoe Brothers failing to win the tag titles from Styles and Red, the Briscoes quickly made an impact amongst ROH fans. By November 2003, the Briscoe Brothers won their first tag team championship. Jay would also continue to shine as a singles competitor during his tag team run. Jay competed against Bryan Danielson in a losing effort at the 2003 Final Battle event. It would be just a matter of time before Jay Briscoe truly shined in the role of a single competitor for ROH.
Jay’s breakout moment came on March 13th, 2004. Jay earned an ROH World Championship match against Samoa Joe inside a steel cage at ROH At Our Best. In the match, Jay displayed undeniable heart after suffering a brutal cut to the forehead. It’s one of the bloodiest moments in wrestling history and one of the best title defenses during Samoa Joe’s reign.
By August 2004, the Briscoe Brothers left ROH and would return in February 2006. However, the Briscoe Brothers would remain ROH regulars until ROH sold to AEW. After that, the Briscoe Brothers became one of ROH’s most impactful and vital acts. Their work ethic and willingness to do whatever it took to entertain fans propelled them to be considered one of the best tag teams in the modern era despite never competing for WWE.
In 2007, the Briscoe Brothers battled the team of El Generico (Sami Zayn) and Kevin Steen (Owens) in a series of incredible matches that put all four men on the map. First, they battled in a street fight, steel cage, and best two of three fall matches through the summer. Then, on September 14th, 2007, the two teams squared off in a ladder match, the first to ever take place in ROH history. To finish off 2007, the Briscoe Brothers were involved in a blood feud with the group The Age Of The Fall, led by Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black (Seth Rollins). The rivalry started with the infamous segment where a bloodied Jay Briscoe was hung upside down, and his blood dripped onto Jacobs, wearing all white in the middle of the ring. It’s a controversial moment in ROH but fondly remembered amongst ROH diehards.
Over the next several years, the Briscoe Brothers had standout feuds with teams such as the American Wolves (Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards), Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli), Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin), All Night Express (Rhett Titus & Kenny King), and Jimmy Jacobs & Steve Corino. Any match involving the Briscoe Brothers was a guaranteed quality match, as the Briscoe Brothers had become one of the greatest tag teams ever to compete.
By 2013, the Briscoe Brothers entered the singles competition in ROH, having accomplished everything they could as a duo. Jay Briscoe won his first ROH World Championship on April 5th, 2013, defeating Kevin Steen (Owens), the leader of the hated group SCUM. Shortly after the victory, Jay suffered an injury and vacated the championship. Briscoe would be involved in a three-way for the ROH World Championship at Final Battle 2013 but failed to win the title from champion Adam Cole in the match that also featured Michael Elgin. Jay could not win the championship in a brutal ladder match against Adam Cole on April 4th, 2014.
Jay would recapture the ROH World Championship on September 6th, 2014, defeating Michael Elgin to win his second and final championship. Briscoe retained the title against Adam Cole in a Fight Without Honor at the 2014 Final Battle. Briscoe would hold the championship until losing to Jay Lethal on June 19th, 2015, at Best In The World.
The Briscoe Brothers would then return to primarily focusing on tag team wrestling until ROH was sold to AEW. In 2022, the Briscoe Brothers had an incredible trilogy of matches against FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Hardwood). Their final match on December 10th, 2022, was a double dog collar match that has gotten critical acclaim.
Jay Briscoe will be remembered for not only his incredible matches in the ring but his generosity to other wrestlers and for being a great father and husband. While the Briscoe Brothers never made it to the WWE, that was by choice. They were a rare example of a wrestling act not needing to be on the big stage to be considered one of the best. Instead, they remained loyal to ROH and the ROH fans. Their loyalty was never taken for granted but rather appreciated and respected. In wrestling history, The Briscoe Brothers will be remembered as one of the best to compete in tag team wrestling. In addition, Jay Briscoe is one of the best and most beloved competitors to step foot in the squared circle.
In 2022, the Briscoe Brothers were inducted into the Ring of Honor Hall of Fame.
TILT Magazine sends its condolences to the Briscoe family, fans, and friends. Thank you for the sacrifices and the memories. Rest in peace, Jay Briscoe.