On June 22nd, The Briscoes reached the pinnacle of their lengthy Ring Of Honor careers, headlining the glitch filled Best In The World iPPV in a brutal singles match against each other for the ROH World Championship. Jay beat his brother Mark in a war of attrition that left their family members concerned for both men's safety.
One day later, the duo were written out of the company's storylines at their TV tapings when SCUM capitalised on the worked injuries they had obtained the night before (Jay was supposed to have reinjured his shoulder, while Mark was said to have suffered a concussion from taking a Jay Driller through a table) to take them out for good with chairs to their battered body parts, after Jay had successfully retained his ROH World title against Matt Hardy.
As we reported yesterday in our rumour roundup, the belief was that the talented duo had left the company, but the reasons as to why were unknown:
"In even more Ring of Honor news, there is a whisper that the Briscoes, Jay and Mark, may be done with the promotion. WWE reportedly was interested in signing them early in 2012, but could not until their contracts had expired with Ring of Honor. This will be a story to follow as it develops, especially with Jay as the current Ring of Honor world champion."
The obvious reason for their departure would be to sign the WWE deal that they weren't allowed to take last year, but initially the speculation was that it was another consequence of Jay Briscoe's homophobic message on Twitter last month that embarrassed ROH officials.
This came from PWTorch's Sean Radican and James Caldwell, who claimed that Sinclair Broadcasting higher ups were taking further action, having just found out about the incident:
"The Briscoes's contracts expired and will not be renewed at this time. The decision was made in response to Jay's tweets in early May vowing to shoot anyone who teaches his children about marriage between same-sex couples.
PWTorch has learned that Sinclair Broadcasting, the publicly-traded company that owns ROH, recently became aware of the tweets. ROH had previously tried to handle the issue in-house by having Briscoe issue a public apology and donate his pay from two shows."
At face value this is hard to believe, as ROH responded decisively to the incident in such a praiseworthy way that it made the promotion look good and killed the negative publicity dead. But then again, corporations that run wrestling companies have made much stranger decisions in the past (see WCW).
However, Bryan Alvarez of f4wonline.com publicly stated that the Torch's journalism was erroneous, but also didn't seem to know what was really going on either:
"Regarding reports online that the Briscoes are done with Ring of Honor, we can confirm that they have been written out of storylines per the latest set of TV tapings. However, online reports that this has to do with Sinclair officials being upset about ROH Champion Jay's controversial tweets a month or so back are incorrect. The reason Briscoe vs. Briscoe for the title was booked last weekend in what seemed like a rushed storyline (one would have presumed brother vs. brother for the belt would have taken place further down the road) is that for whatever reason (and right now I don't know what the reason was, but there are people who believe there was a WWE deal on the table) the plan was to write them out of storylines after this iPPV. These plans were made long before Jay made any tweets, and according to a source in ROH the tweets had absolutely nothing to do with the current situation. It is true that their contracts have expired, and while I don't know this to be the case, there are people in the company who believe that unless they get a big money offer from WWE or elsewhere, at some point they'll be back with the company."
It's possible that having been burnt in the past by Kenny King appearing on TNA Impact while still being one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions two weeks after his contract expired, the decision to write The Briscoes out of the storylines was a preemptive move by ROH management in case they jumped ship to WWE or TNA. The fact that they didn't take the ROH World title off Jay seems to suggest that The Briscoes haven't made up their minds yet about what they are going to do and are open to returning if they can't find a better deal elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Jason Powell of prowrestling.net didn't contradict the PWTorch story, but also brought up the possibility that WWE may be interested in The Briscoes too:
"Dot Net's Chris Shore was told by his sources prior to Jay's most recent Twitter controversy that The Briscoes were likely leaving ROH for a WWE developmental deal, but we have not been able to confirm whether that is actually in the works. While the uncertainty regarding the future of the brothers in ROH may help explain the decision to rush into the Briscoe vs. Briscoe match that headlined Best in the World on Saturday, it does not explain why the company didn't set themselves up for life after the Briscoes better.
The company just ran a Briscoes documentary in their weekly television time slot this week. There were some developments at the iPPV and television taping that will help explain their absence, but you'd think the company would have found a way to get the title off Jay at the television taping if they knew his contract was about to expire. It has me wondering whether ROH officials are still hopeful of bringing the brothers back despite whatever issues there may be with the parent company. "
So basically no-one knows what the hell is going on for sure, but the best bet is that The Briscoes will sign with WWE shortly, who would possibly allow Jay to drop the title in Ring Of Honor while his medicals are still being processed. We'll let you know more Cagesiders when more concrete information is released.
Edit - The latest rumour today is that WWE's interest in The Briscoes may have also waned over Jay's hate filled ramblings on Twitter, feeling that the duo are loose cannons that could cause them far too many headaches and thus aren't worth investing in:
To follow up yesterday's item, by all accounts, the contracts of Mark and Jay Briscoe with Ring of Honor have expired and will not be renewed. WWE reportedly had serious interest in the duo in the past, but may now be hesitant to sign them due to their recent rants on Twitter, with one source calling them "a P.R. disaster waiting to happen."