Like some of you probably did, I spent last night (Jan. 17) scrolling my Twitter timeline. Much of the time I was wiping tears from my eyes after reading the latest tribute to Jamin “Jay Briscoe” Pugh, who died in a traffic accident earlier in the day. But I also often grinned in spite of how I felt at the amazing promos and moments people were sharing from his legendary ROH & indie career.
There seemed to be a never ending stream of both, and it continued into today. Some of this is due to the tragic nature of his death, and — according to those who actually knew him — the quality of person he was. But it’s also evidence of the community formed by wrestlers and fans on the independent circuit. There are very few wrestlers who’ve been active this century who didn’t share a locker room with Jay and his brother Mark at some point. And if you pay attention to wrestling outside of WWE at all, you knew Dem Boys.
Here are some great examples of both those kinds of messages we’ve seen over the past 24 hours.
I spent hours reading what people had to say about Jamin last night. I watched some of our matches together. I went back and read our last texts to each other
I am so heartbroken for his family. Every single one of them that I met over the years, and I met a lot of them because they all stuck together like glue, all special human beings that would give you the shirt off their back in a heartbeat if you needed it.
That’s who Jamin was, too.
There are a few people in this industry that I consider pillars of my own career. People I truly feel I would not be where I am today had I not encountered them. Jay and Mark Briscoe are two of those pillars.
In 2007, they had the opportunity to make or break two Canadian guys that were trying to put themselves on the map on the US indie scene. I remember walking up to Jay that afternoon before our match and asking what he wanted to do...never met him before...first interaction we ever had...he heard my question, looked at me and with a huge smile across his face, said ‘Well shit, man...let’s go out there and fucking kill it!’
So we did. We did that night and we did many times after that. Each match I had with them stands out in my memory among the thousands of matches I’ve had in my career because working with the Briscoes was special, every single time.
Having the honor of being in the ring with Jay and his entire family as they celebrated after he beat me for the ROH title is my favorite moment of my independent career, bar none. It was special for all of them, for the crowd there that night, for everyone in the locker room and for me because Jay was special.
I didn’t get to see Jamin much after I went to WWE in 2014. In fact, I think we only saw each other once but it was like no time had passed at all. He came to see a WWE show and of course, he had his whole family with him. He was so excited and proud to tell me about everything his kids and his wife were up to and how great they were doing. He loved his family with everything he had...It was amazing to see them all.
We didn’t keep in touch very often but every time we did, it absolutely made my day. Getting a text message from him was always like a giant ray of sunshine.
I’m so thankful that I got to have him in my life. I’m so thankful for the laughs and the memories. Just so thankful to have known him. I’m a better person for having had the chance to.
My heart goes out to Ashley and the kids, to Mark and his parents, and to everyone else that knew and loved him. And that’s a lot of fucking people.
Because Jay was special.
Jay Briscoe beating Kevin Steen for his first ROH World Title is easily a top three moment in the history of the company. We need to start giving talent their flowers while they are here to smell them.— ️ ️ (@KXNGAO) January 18, 2023
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.— Sami Zayn (@SamiZayn) January 18, 2023
I don’t know what my life would be like without Jay Briscoe in it, and I don’t want to know.— Adam Cole (@AdamColePro) January 18, 2023
You believed in me, you helped me, you treated me like family. There will never be another like you. I am so grateful to have known a man like you.
I love you Jay.
Being in the ring with Jay Briscoe got me my first ROH contract. He and Mark being so selfless helped Jimmy and I find our footing as AOTF. Without him, I don’t know if Tyler Black could ever have been Seth Rollins.— Seth “Freakin’” Rollins (@WWERollins) January 18, 2023
This one hurts so bad. Jay Briscoe defined passion… for his family, his friends, wrestling, and everything in between. I love you. I will miss you.— Tommaso Ciampa (@CiampaWWE) January 18, 2023
We certainly studied & “borrowed” from the Briscoe Brothers. They have left an indelible mark on tag team wrestling. I was blown away by the trilogy with FTR. My deepest condolences to Jay Briscoe’s loved ones.— Ettore “Big E” Ewen (@WWEBigE) January 18, 2023
Jay Briscoe was the real deal. I was always amazed how someone could be so intimidating one moment then so warm & affable the next. He gave so much to the business & to his family and I’m forever grateful for having known him. Strength and love to Mark and his family. Love u bro— Kyle O'Reilly (@KORcombat) January 18, 2023
I cannot even begin to process this right now. I loved everything about my friend Jay Briscoe. His passion. His drive. His presence. Our wars in the ring. Most importantly, how much he loved his family. I am literally sick to my stomach… pic.twitter.com/XNK5ZHlqxu— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) January 18, 2023
Jay Briscoe was one of the toughest men I ever had the privilege of sharing a ring with, as well as being a tremendous brother, father, and man. I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to know him and wrestle him as often as I did. Rest in Peace, Jay, I love you.#RIPJayBriscoe pic.twitter.com/6ZxNfgPcmw— Christopher Daniels (@facdaniels) January 18, 2023
As teenagers Jay Briscoe (18) & Mark Briscoe (17) were already wrestling at a level that put them at the forefront of the new wave of American wrestling, but they still worked to improve every year & in 2022 had some of the best matches ever seen. (8.24.02) #RIPJayBriscoe pic.twitter.com/qQkCHRc5ON— Vintage Puroresu プロレス (@vintagepuro) January 18, 2023
Laurel [Delaware] High School Athletic Director Kevin Walmsley spoke to Delaware Online about Pugh’s impact:
“He was heavily involved. He was at school almost every day. … It’s a huge tragedy for the community.
“With the kids at practice, teaching skills, techniques, some of them knew he was a star in professional wrestling and some didn’t know that. But he treated every kid the same, and he’s gonna be missed.
“You saw him at the local store. He gave back. All the kids knew him. Just a true motivator.”
In 40 years in this business you meet all kinds of people. The bad guys end up being the good guys and the good guys end up being the bad guys.
I have to say, my impression of the Briscoes was that these are a couple of wild men. I had the opportunity to meet them for the one and only time at Starrcast. We passed in the hall and they were the nicest, most respectful and soft spoken men you will ever meet. Jay will be remembered for his talent, professionalism, and the rapport that he had with his coworkers. Our hearts are broken for his family friends, fans and those of us that didn’t have the honor to get to know him.
Much respect. -AA
Jay and Mark Briscoe are 2 of the nicest people you could ever meet.— Lauren/Angelina Love (@ActualALove) January 18, 2023
Jay, I’m so sorry this happened to you. Thank you for being like family to anyone that ever had the pleasure of meeting you. I pray for your wife and your beautiful babies RIP my friend pic.twitter.com/0BTfIKueYx
I love you boys All of you pic.twitter.com/bZC5HVNTdr— Karl Anderson (@MachineGunKA) January 18, 2023
I wish you knew just how good of a human Jay was. pic.twitter.com/vON7cGp1uD— ᴛʜᴇ ᴛʀᴇɴᴅ MʌTT TʌVEN (@MattTaven) January 18, 2023
Heard this tragic news while flying. I’m DEVASTATED that Jay Briscoe (Jamin Pugh) tragically died today. I was honored to work with him many times. I loved Jay. Jay was SO real. Jay loved his wife & kids more than anything & we shared that bond. I’m heartbroken for his family. pic.twitter.com/c2Jki7dEp0— MATT HARDY (@MATTHARDYBRAND) January 18, 2023
Jay Briscoe showed me respect and love when everyone told me he wouldn't. If you knew Jay, you knew he would uplift everyone in that locker room regardless of whatever world they came to wrestling from. The best. Rest easy, brother.— EFFY (@EFFYlives) January 18, 2023
God Bless Jay. It’s beautiful. pic.twitter.com/BLynHkFwLU— DIJAK (@TBARRetribution) January 18, 2023
The last ever Briscoes promo.— Drainmaker ️ (@DrainBamager) January 18, 2023
These two together were always hilarious yet intimidating at the same time. Damn, they could hype you up for a match in instant.pic.twitter.com/dvDw1G7hsw
At that point in our careers, we needed each other. We absolutely were put here to fight each other, which built a legacy, which made more money for all four of our respective families.— Uncle Dax FTR (@DaxFTR) January 18, 2023
That last part is the thing we’re all the most proud of. Thank you for sharing this. https://t.co/YqFhM3CBm5
Many wrestlers, regardless of organization, were tweeting about Jay Briscoe. He was such a great athlete. I am also worried about his brother, Mark. Rest in peace