Wrestling star Jay Briscoe, who was one half of the Ring of Honor World Tag Team champions, has died in a Delaware car crash at the age of 38.
Briscoe - real name Jamin Pugh - was a favourite among fans within Ring of Honor (ROH) and the wrestling world at large, and had teamed with his brother Mark for the better part of 20 years.
His death was announced on Twitter by AEW and ROH owner, Tony Khan, who said, “‘Sadly, Jamin Pugh has passed away. Known to fans as Jay Briscoe, he was a star in ROH for over 20 years, from the first show until today.
“Jay and his brother Mark dominated ROH, reigning as champions to this day. We’ll do whatever we can to support his family. Rest In Peace Jamin.”
The Briscoes are regarded as two of the finest tag team wrestlers of the modern era, and have won countless championships across their careers. Here is everything you need to know about him.
Who was Jay Briscoe?
Born in Maryland in 1984, Jay Briscoe was one half of modern wrestling’s most well-regarded tag teams, alongside his brother Mark.
Known as The Briscoes, the duo made their professional wrestling debut in 2001 for Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), but began making a name for themselves with a move to Ring of Honor (ROH) in 2002.
That “independent” wrestling promotion - as opposed to WWE’s highly produced, mainstream product - was a firm favourite among “hardcore” wrestling fans, with its top names remaining stars today.
Jay wrestled on the company’s first ever show - his brother was too young to compete under state law - and the Briscoes would go on to remain with the company throughout its existence. In their time with ROH, the pair won the coveted World Tag Team championships a record 13 times, putting on some of the company’s best tag team wrestling spectacles.
Most recently, a trilogy of matches with AEW’s FTR won plaudits from fans and wrestlers alike, and Jay and Mark managed to recapture the tag team titles at ROH’s ‘Final Battle’ show in December 2022. In the wake of Jay’s death, it has yet to be announced what will happen to those championships.
It wasn’t just in ROH where Jay competed, and The Briscoes also wrestled in Impact Wrestling, Game Changer Wrestling (GCW), and in Japan for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW).
Jay also found success as a singles competitor, winning the ROH World Championship on two occasions. Arguably his best regarded singles match came against his brother, when the pair fought a gruelling 30-minute battle against one another in Liverpool in 2007.
Throughout his career, Jay portrayed a tough, no nonsense “redneck” character from Delaware, a character which often courted controversy, particularly when playing to role of a “heel”, or bad guy. In May 2013, he stirred up controversy on Twitter, threatening "f***ing shoot" anybody that tries to "teach [his] kids that there’s nothing wrong with [same sex marriage]".
He had previously made other disparaging remarks about homosexuality on social media, for which he apologised at a ROH live show, and clarified that the remarks were intended to represent Jay Briscoe, "the redneck character he plays on TV," and were not his real-life views.
Who has paid tribute?
The Briscoes never wrestled in WWE, but Jay’s influence was felt across the entire industry, and the multi-million dollar wrestling company has acknowledged his death as a mark of respect.
WWE commentator Vic Joseph acknowledged his death on this week’s episode of NXT as he sent the company’s condolences to Briscoe’s family. WWE Tag Team champions The Usos tweeted: ‘RIP to the homie Jay Briscoe. Condolences to your family. Rest in paradise.”
A match between The Usos and The Briscoes will have been considered a dream match-up by many wrestling fans, though it is sadly now something that will never be seen.
WWE’s Sami Zayn, who wrestled Jay multiple times as El Generico in ROH, wrote: “I don’t have the words right now to properly convey my sorrow. I love Jay & Mark Briscoe. Always have.
“I wouldn’t be here without them. I’m very lucky to have shared the ring & shared so many laughs with Jay Briscoe and I’m so sad to know neither will happen again. RIP my friend.”
Dax Harwood of FTR - who wrestled The Briscoes in one of the team’s final ever matches - simply tweeted “I love you Jay.”