I don’t remember when I first saw the Briscoe Brothers wrestle but I do remember becoming an instant fan. Their rough-and-tough fighting style, their unconventional looks, their wild and intense promos – everything about them felt authentic and was interesting to me in a way that most wrestlers weren’t.
While most of my experiences of them came from trading tapes or watching DVDs, I finally got the chance to witness them live at Ring of Honor’s Glory By Honor show in 2006, where they were aligned with Jim Cornette who announced them as his personal enforcers, coming out to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets” and decked out in rebel gear. While it may be politically incorrect, I was enthralled by the duo, cheering them loudly despite their heelish alignment and dropping a bunch of cash on their merch, including a T-shirt that, years later I can’t wear out in public anymore, thanks to its incorporation of a confederate flag on it.
And even though I only saw them wrestle live a few more times after that, I always looked forward to seeing their matches online or on PPV – including last year’s trilogy of matches against FTR, which I would put up there on my list of some of the best matches I’ve ever seen.
As a fan, it was always a hope that I would get to one day interview the Briscoes, and I finally got my chance last year during the NWA’s 73rd Anniversary weekend.
In the hours before the show, I watched from afar as they talked with the other talent, going through their matches for the night with their various opponents – they were in the Tag Team Tournament so had a few matches to go over – and then had discussions with Billy Corgan. The respect and admiration that everyone in the building had for Jay and Mark was easily evident. And you could tell that “Dem Boys” enjoyed being there among “the boys,” some of which they hadn’t seen for a while, as the team had been mostly wrestling at indie shows since ROH went on hiatus.
After they had finished with their preparation, I introduced myself and told them I’d been hoping to interview them.
“Well, let’s do that today!” Jay bellowed enthusiastically, with Mark nodding behind him. Before we could actually talk, though, they got called away for a backstage production meeting, and I thought I’d lost my chance.
About an hour later, as I was typing up an interview I’d done with someone else, I got a shoulder tap, and saw that Mark and Jay were flanking me.
“Let’s do it!’ Mark whooped.
We went outside behind the building where it was quieter, and we talked – not for long, but enough to get their thoughts on the news that Tony Khan had purchased ROH, and some other topics that I thought would be interesting for our readers.
At the end, I asked a question that I save for situations where I think the interviewee will be open enough to share some personal information. With Mark and Jay, they seemed like nothing was off the table, so I asked them what they do when they’re not wrestling – what’s a typical day in the life of the Briscoes.
Their eyes lit up at the question, and both of them were enthusiastic to answer.
Jay’s answer – which never made it into the interview, as I wasn’t sure how to really fit it in among the business talk – was all about his kids.
“Me and my wife have two daughters and one son. My son just made the middle-school baseball team, so there’s practice every night, and games when he has them. Our daughters do competitive cheerleading. So, five nights out of the week, we’re going to practice. And that’s about a 25-minute drive to and from. And then they have competitions on some weekends, kind of like wrestling shows. So they take up pretty much all of my free time.”
In talking about his kids, Jays’ voice – which was particularly booming and explosive throughout the interview, not unlike during one of his promos – lowered considerably, and softened, reflecting how serious and important those family times were to him. There was a new level of reality to his words, even though everything else he said was completely authentic.
I share this now in light of Jay’s tragic death this week, and the subsequent news that both of his daughters were seriously injured in the car accident that took Jay’s life. While the wrestling world mourns his life, they should also say a prayer or send some positive vibes to the rest of his family, or consider donating to the fundraiser that has been set up to help his family with medical expenses.
A few months after the interview, I ran into the Briscoes at the Starrcast fan fest where they were signing autographs and meeting with fans. When I approached their table, they both stood up and Jay whooped at me and yelled out “There’s the man!” and they both thanked me for the interview. We talked for a little while and I wished them the best for their match that night, told them again what a fan I am, and wished them well.
After a parting fist-bump, Jay folded his hands and told me, “Thank you. We appreciate you.”
The feeling is mutual, Jay.
Rest in peace.