I didn’t know Jay Briscoe that well, if at all.
A professional wrestler, he was one part of the famous Briscoe Brothers tag team, wining multiple tag team championship across many promotions, but not WWE. They were considered indie through and through and “Dem Boys”, as they liked to refer to themselves as, did all that they could do to leave it in the ring every time.
This past year, 2022, Jay and his tag partner/brother, Mark, had a trilogy of matches with other famed tag team, FTR, that many are calling the greatest tag team rivalry of all time. Their most recent bout, a tag team dog collar match, was especially brutal and in contention for best tag bout of all time. It received 5 1/2 stars from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, one of the most important wrestling publications around whose star rating system is well known for causing controversy and being incredibly accurate.
A veteran of the industry for nearly 20 years, I only recently became familiar with Jay’s work thanks to AEW’s purchase of the smaller promotion Ring of Honor, or ROH as its sometimes known. Thanks to that public action, many of the talents, the Briscoes included, were given a prime opportunity to showcase their skills on a greater stage. Finally they would have a chance to seize the spotlight and get the nationwide recognition their years of work were building towards.
Kind of of.
See, Jay made some comments years ago about the LGBTQ community. In character? What he actually thought at the time? That’s all irrelevant because the damage had been done. Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company who owns AEW, could never put the Briscoes on national TV because of the potential backlash it could bring.
For all that its worth, those who knew Jay well said he expressed nothing but remorse for those past comments and had done a lot to work with and help the LGBTQ community both in and out of the ring. A man who learned from error and did all he could to fix it. To help. To be an ally. Most of it was apparently done behind the scenes and those in the know would speak highly of the actions he took to better himself.
He was a father.
He was a brother.
He was a friend.
Jay Briscoe passed away two days ago and to say his passing has hurt the wrestling community across company lines is underselling the pain and anguish those who really knew him are feeling.
Look, this isn’t my job, and there are definitely better tributes out there, both in written and video form, if you’d like to learn more about him. If I didn’t know him, if he wasn’t one of my favorites, why write about him?
Its like that classic Muppet expression, “If you need to know the measure of a man, you simply count his friends.” There was message after message, tribute after tribute, pouring in for a man whom I was barely getting familiar with. Someone who was creating work that resonated and impacted all who watched.
And now he’s gone.
I wanted to talk about this here because while its truly sad this father will no longer see his children, I wanted to recognize him. To acknowledge him, and to express my own fears. I’m scared.
This video of Jay practicing a cheer routine with his daughter was being shared around a lot over the last two days. A true mirror into the heart of his character. Staying safe but keeping her entertained. I guess that should always be one of the goals.
To be more like Jay.
Thanks for reading,