AEW gave us a tribute video for the late Jamin “Jay Briscoe” Pugh early in the Jan. 25 Dynamite. On the night when he would have celebrated his 39th birthday, they saved the best for the main event.
Ring of Honor’s Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman joined Excalibur for the call. Jay Lethal struggled to control his emotions from the moment he stepped on the ramp. And when Mark Briscoe came out with both ROH Tag belts, as the Lexington, Kentucky crowd exploded when “Reach for the Sky, boy” hit the Rupp Arena loud speakers?
I don’t think there was a dry eye anywhere in the wrestling world.
The match was great, but also felt somewhat secondary. The announcers reminded us that Jay Briscoe would have loved the violence that unfolded, and it was hard not to smile as Mark hit a Froggy Boy on Lethal through a ringside table...
...and won the match with his brother’s Jay Driller finish. That led to the AEW roster hitting the stage as Mark spoke to his nieces — and his brother — through the camera. He joined the men & women on stage, many of whom he knew, and all of whom knew what Jamin Pugh meant to wrestling in the 21st century.
Wish to God this scene didn’t have to happen, but given that we have to accept Jay Briscoe is gone... it’s hard to imagine it being any more beautiful.
As Riccaboni and Coleman continually reminded us during the match, don’t wait to tell folks you love and appreciate them. Thank you, Jay Briscoe for reminding us of that — and for everything else you gave us during your nearly 39 years on Earth.
UPDATE: The Ring of Honor “Celebration of Life” special for Jay Briscoe, matches for which were filmed after last week’s Dynamite (SPOILERS are here), will stream on YouTube tonight at 1am ET. The special will also feature matches from the Briscoes’ career, and interviews & comments from those who knew him best. Cageside Seats will have a watch-a-long post tonight, and follow-up coverage in the days ahead.
UPDATE 2: The video is now marked private, so it may have been set-up in error. Stay tuned.
UPDATE 3: You can watch ROH’s Jay Briscoe Tribute & Celebration of Life here.
Get complete results and coverage of everything from tonight’s episode of Dynamite here.