MR. TITO: Two Lessons to Learn from Jay Briscoe’s Passing (May He Rest in Peace)

Jay Briscoe, born Jamin Pugh, passed away yesterday at the young age of 38, just 8 days before his 38th birthday. Cause of death was a car accident in which another driver failed to maintain their lane and entered the other lane for a head-on collision with Jay Briscoe. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene. There is no information on why the other driver entered Briscoe’s lane to cause the accident. While Jay Briscoe passed away, his 2 daughters survived the accident but are at the hospital in critical condition.

What a shame… A dad, just driving his truck with his 2 daughters, is gone just like that.

To wrestling fans, this was a guy whom they followed for over 20 years along with his brother, Mark Briscoe (Mark Pugh, 1 year younger than Jay), as the great tag team the “Briscoe Brothers”. For years, including myself, I thought these were the kids of former wrestling great Gerald Brisco, but that’s not the case… After reportedly naming themselves, Gerald Brisco was cool with their names but wished they’d asked him first…

The Briscoe Brothers were an EXCELLENT Tag Team. Fundamentally sound, great athletes, very durable, and very reliable. If you dared to watch Ring of Honor during those Sinclair years of the 2010s, they were the best thing on the show. 13-time Ring of Honor Tag Team Champions… That’s a bigger accomplishment than you know, as Ring of Honor had probably the best tag team division for the past 2 decades and was a strong staple of that show, even after many of the singles stars were raided by the WWE after the late 2000s. They also held Impact and New Japan Tag Titles one time each.

But now, because of a bad car accident, we’ll never see Jay Briscoe perform again or arguably the best tag team of the last decade or two, the Briscoe Brothers, ever perform together again. What a shame…

May Jamin Pugh (aka Jay Briscoe) rest in peace and my sincerest of condolences to his family and closest friends. Certainly, my best wishes goes out to his many, many fans…

There are TWO big lessons to learn from Jay Briscoe’s passing, but this will not be about car or seatbelt safety. Not at all… These are lessons to the wrestling business and its wrestling fans:

(1) WWE should have signed and featured the Briscoe Brothers as a top Tag Team.

(2) Attend live events or autograph signings to support your favorite wrestlers.

Let’s talk about the WWE, first.

It is a FACT that Vince McMahon dislikes Tag Team wrestling, particularly since the WWE became corporate. Why? Because since the WWE became publicly traded, its financials have to be made public. In his mind, having a roster of more singles wrestlers is far more cost effective than placing multiple contracts in the ring at once. THAT is how Vince McMahon and his surrounding corporate thugs look at things… Everything is an expense to be potentially reduced. Furthermore, if 1 member of a tag team gets hurt, that reduces the use of the other tag team wrestler so thus that’s 2 contracted wrestlers getting paid without any action.

Yet, I can point to the WWE’s PEAK times and suggest that when the Tag Team division was on fire, it greatly helped the WWE’s bottom line. Late 1980s and early 1990s WWE may have been headlined by Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and the Ultimate Warrior, but Demolition, the Hart Foundation, British Bulldogs, etc. mattered. Then during the late 1990s and early 2000s, Hardys vs. Edge/Christian vs. Dudleys was incredible to complement the Main Event scene featuring Steve Austin, Rock, Triple H, Foley, and Undertaker. Then, I’d argue that one of the reasons why WWE Smackdown from 2002 to 2003 regularly outpaced RAW was the incredible Smackdown Tag Team division with Mysterio/Edge, Benoit/Angle, Guerreros, and Team Angle/World’s Greatest Tag Team (Benjamin & Haas).

But the past 2 decades have been about booking what Vince McMahon wants and NOT what the fans want. For the last 2 decades, fans have been BEGGING for the WWE to actually care about Tag Team Wrestling again and yet Vince won’t budge. Even as accomplished Tag Teams came up from NXT, such as The Revival or American Alpha, Vince’s creative team mowed through those teams and wanted to repackage them.

The Vince McMahon of the 21st Century just doesn’t care about Tag Team Wrestling… If I were FTR, I’d possibly reconsider my stances on those AEW or Ring of Honor contracts with Vince McMahon back.

And for the past 2 decades, the Briscoe Brothers could have been picked off as free agents by the WWE, but noooooooo, the WWE wanted nothing of them. During late 2009, they had a WWE tryout at a Smackdown/ECW taping and then soon were invited for a Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) developmental territory tryout (before there was NXT). Yet, WWE opted not to have the Briscoes either in the WWE or FCW because they weren’t “cosmetically pleasing enough to the WWE” according to the Briscoes. This was after the Briscoes heard many great things about their tryouts…

The thing about Jay and Mark is that they were REAL GUYS in the pro wrestling industry, who fully respected the wrestling business and were legit guys who just wanted respect for the many dues that they paid.

But maybe the Briscoes were never brought on because they were too real and maybe too opinionated. Jay Briscoe, for example, caught some heat various things said on Twitter. Look, I’m not here to excuse what Jay may or may not have posted, but how is that any different than ANYTHING that the Ultimate Warrior has ever said. Yet, WWE props that man’s career up as being legendary, has a Hall of Fame benefit award named after the guy, and highly merchandises him throughout their WWE Shopzone and video games. But Briscoe can’t get hired by the WWE for Tweets which he apologized for? Jay even donated 2 month’s salary to charity to show how sincere he was apologizing. When did Warrior apologize for his any of his many anti-gay comments? He never did and WWE gave Warrior his flowers anyway.

Both Jay and Mark were GREAT in-ring talents and even had the look to be successful singles. Jay is 6’1″ and Mark is 6’0″ himself. Both were ahead of their times with heavy tattoos that most superstars are beginning to carry years after WWE denied them after their 2009 tryout. Cosmetically pleasing? Look what the WWE makes their talent wear today, along with the looks they are allowing. Jay and Mark look like how most are fashioning themselves these days.

WWE has been starving for good in-ring talent that can relate to fans… The Briscoes were just what WWE needed, but were constantly nixed from ever joining the WWE.

Well, WWE, you missed out… You denied one of the best tag teams of the past 2 decades from entering your promotion and possibly salvaging the disorganized Tag Team division that you’ve attempted over the past 2 decades. And this just adds to your complete mistreatment of tag teams based on who you actually had on your roster since the Smackdown brand gave you great tag team wrestling during 2002-2003. Then you do goofy things like create the Women’s Tag Titles and literally do nothing with them. To Triple H‘s credit, he has revived Tag Team wrestling in NXT at times, but they get shredded on the main WWE roster.


The bigger lesson of Jay Briscoe‘s death…

If you love Pro Wrestling and are a big fan of a particular pro wrestler, GO SEE THEM LIVE and IN-PERSON.

With Jay’s passing, the only place that you can see the Briscoes together is on video. That’s a shame… I’m feeling it, because I could have seen Ring of Honor LIVE multiple times but for whatever reason, I didn’t do it… That’s my fault and I could have seen many great talents live if I just didn’t feel too old that evening to spend time driving to the arena, enduring hours of a show, and then getting home late.

On March 13th, 2022, I wrote a column titled “Enjoy Your Favorite Wrestlers Today… They May Be Gone Tomorrow and it was about my attendance of a Pro Wrestling convention from March 12th that featured great wrestling legends like Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash, Barry Windham, Tully Blanchard, New Age Outlaws, Ron Simmons, the Steiner Brothers, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Shane Douglas, Tommy Rich, The Fantastics (Fulton Brothers version), Buff Bagwell, Kevin Sullivan, and many, many others… For most of them, I waited in line and spent the money to not only get their autographs, but to get a picture with many of my heroes.

Just moments after I posted this very column, news about Scott Hall having multiple heart attacks and being placed on life support began to circulate… I couldn’t believe it… I literally just saw his best friend, Kevin Nash, the day before at an autograph signing and Kevin Nash was one of the nicest guys that I ever met. After having a discussion with Nash about bad hotel service, which was hilarious as we were getting our pictures signed, I’m feeling so much pain for him as he endures the loss of his child just after he lost his best friend in Scott. Nash was a “bucket list” wrestler to meet, as I was a huge fan of him as Diesel in the WWE and I’m one of the biggest nWo fanatics ever…

The painful part about this March 2022 convention in Chillicothe, OH was the fact that it was originally scheduled for 2020. Damn COVID-19 outbreak caused it to be delayed for 2 years, which caused me to miss out on 2 guys originally scheduled for it: “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and Road Warrior Animal. That HURTS, man, as both were members of my favorite tag teams of all time. Jim Cornette was also supposed to attend this 2020 event, too, and I was soooo looking forward to meeting him in person, too. But with COVID hitting, he’s not making live appearances any longer (don’t blame him with that successful Podcast).

I was glad to have met Barry Windham. He was my FAVORITE Horsemen back in the day, as I was beginning to watch during 1988. Loved how he had that one black glove on and the Superplex off the top rope blew my mind. I told Barry, to his face, how much I loved and appreciated his work. I’ll tell you this much, when he was sick a short while ago, I was emotional because I didn’t want to hear bad news of his death. Yet, I do have some closure with Barry because I was able to tell him, to his face, how much he was appreciated by me as a huge fan of his work.

As I look at my autograph wall, I see Kurt Angle, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Sting, New Jack, John Cena, and then all of the wrestlers that I mentioned above… For each of them, I told them how much I appreciated their work and careers. These guys and gals risk their freakin’ bodies just to bump in the ring and then travel many miles to do the same for another town. They perform this work while sacrificing having a family or spending time with their own families. Wrestling doesn’t provide benefits or pensions, either… Thus, they aren’t as financially set as you think and have health issues later on.

But YOU, as a wrestling fan, can do so much to support your favorites. Go see them… If your favorite wrestler comes to your town, see them live or attend their appearance. TELL THEM how much you love and appreciate them. Then, go to merchandise shops and buy their stuff. When you see them face-to-face, open your heart to them… At this March 12th convention, Buff Bagwell was there and this was pre-DDP rehab. He was in bad physical shape, as he was on crutches and limping. YET, when fans came up to him for a photo or autograph, his face lit up. He so happy to tell stories of his career to fans.

You never know when a wrestler may pass… To WWE’s benefit, their revamped Wellness Policy and offering re-hab to past wrestlers has helped wrestlers extend their lives instead of dying from performance enhancers and/or pain killing pills. Diamond Dallas Page is a freakin’ saint, too, for taking care of wrestlers. Wrestlers are living longer, but you never know when a legend may pass. Do you love Sting? He’s going to retire from in-ring activity later this year… Go see him wrestle while you can!

Jay was only 38 years old when he passed… That’s a total shame and I’m full of regret for not seeing them live in action.

In the immortal words of the band Cinderella… “You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone”.

Go see your favorite stars perform live or see them at appearances. Warm their hearts by showing how much you appreciate what they do for the wrestling business and its fans.

Rest in peace, Jay. You’re a hero to many. Thank you for everything.

So just chill… till the next episode!

Mr. Tito NoDQ Column Archive