CategoriesCOLIN MCGUIRE MUST-READ LIST VIEWPOINTS
By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.internet Staffer (@McGMondays)
It looks like endlessly in the past, however on Dec. 11, 2021, the Briscoe Brothers received the Ring of Honor tag-team titles for the twelfth time. It occurred on the Chesapeake Employers Insurance coverage Area in Baltimore, Maryland, and I used to be there. It was Remaining Battle and the identify of the present took on an particularly poignant life that evening as a result of many within the constructing believed it that it might have been the ultimate ROH present ever.
After Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe defeated Matt Taven and Mike Bennett, the “FTR” duo of Dax Harwood and Money Wheeler confirmed up. It was the spotlight of the evening. The groups confronted off, the group received as loud as it could get, and little did any of us know that it could be the precursor to maybe the perfect trilogy of wrestling matches seen by a large viewers in 2022. FTR would win these ROH tag belts – and even go on to efficiently defend them in opposition to the Briscoes earlier than dropping them in an epic double dog-collar match practically one yr after that preliminary stare down.
The factor that struck me essentially the most at that evening of wrestling in 2021 was the response the Briscoes acquired when their music hit they usually got here to the ring as challengers. It didn’t matter in the event that they had been alleged to work as babyfaces or heels; the group was going to cheer them that evening, particularly contemplating how the way forward for that firm – the corporate that turned synonymous with these brothers – was very a lot up within the air. If Ring of Honor actually was going to go beneath for good, what higher staff than the Briscoes to shut issues out as the ultimate tag staff champions?
That evening and people reactions performed in my head this final week because the information of Jay Briscoe’s loss of life circulated all through the wrestling world. That crowd beloved Dem Boys. There’s no actual different solution to put it. These brothers grew up in entrance of that fanbase. They turned tag champions as villains and as heroes. Jay, himself, was a two-time ROH World Champion. The reward from the followers had little to do with the staff’s in-ring potential (although for my cash, they’ve been among the best tag-teams on the earth for years now), and as an alternative, that reward had every little thing to do with heat. It was earned. It was wanting again by means of a life and seeing that one that’s been there for all of it. The ups, the downs, the successes, and the failures.
That’s what the Briscoes had been to ROH that evening. Irrespective of which massive identify got here into the corporate at any time, the Briscoes had been Ring of Honor’s guiding gentle. Irrespective of which up-and-comer took a step up from the lesser-known independents and stopped at ROH on their journey to the highest of the professional wrestling mountain, the Briscoes had been there to see them by means of. The drama, the uncertainty, the recognition, the rise, the autumn … no matter period of Ring of Honor you need to have fun, the Briscoes had been there.
In my thoughts, a minimum of a few of that was a testomony to the staff’s loyalty. By all accounts – and particularly within the wake of Jay’s passing – these two guys had been among the many nicest folks anybody might come throughout. They did enterprise the best manner, they seemingly by no means turned jaded with the wrestling world, they usually welcomed any and everybody in with open arms.
The opposite finish of that loyalty, in fact, turns into a bit of extra difficult when you think about the reported the explanation why WWE or AEW distanced themselves from Dem Boys, and that features a couple homophobic tweets Jay wrote a decade in the past. The shiny mainstream corporations couldn’t dare forgive Jay for what he mentioned some ten years again. And regardless of the notion that AEW proprietor Tony Khan tried to convey them into his firm a number of instances in recent times, the networks on which his weekly reveals seem wouldn’t let him due to these tweets.
Or, in different phrases, yeah, the Briscoes had been loyal to ROH as a result of they’re loyal folks, however the Briscoes had been additionally loyal to ROH as a result of there weren’t many different choices when it got here to work stateside.
And now it’s too late. With Jay Briscoe gone, that staff will endlessly exist on VHS tapes, DVDs, YouTube clips, and behind streaming service paywalls. Conversely, they won’t exist in actual time on the most important platforms the wrestling trade gives. To say it’s a disgrace is a large understatement. I’m not saying something you haven’t heard over the past six days, however to be judged solely by our worst moments is to be judged by means of a lens that lacks perspective. Sadly, that was the one lens supplied to Jay Briscoe from the decision-makers behind wrestling’s most distinguished automobiles earlier than he died. It’s such a evident instance of hypocrisy that the hypocrisy itself has been on the middle of a variety of dialogue since Jay’s passing, so that you don’t want to listen to extra about that from me.
The notion of forgiveness, although? You’ll be able to by no means say an excessive amount of about that. In what some might contemplate an ironic twist, the Pugh household (Briscoe’s out-of-ring final identify) has made it clear not more than per week after the pillar of their family died because of one other driver crossing the center line on a street that hate speech towards the motive force that initiated the crash shouldn’t be tolerated. As Ashley Pugh wrote just lately concerning the lady who additionally died within the automobile crash, “Please pray for the valuable infants who additionally misplaced their mom. … We cannot be indignant. This was all God’s timing.”
One household invests in forgiveness lower than per week faraway from tragedy; company America can’t discover the identical in itself a decade faraway from a pair tweets.
Issues wouldn’t really feel so soiled if Jay didn’t attempt so laborious to make it proper. So typically, the general public is brow-beaten into forgiving celebrities as a result of these celebrities are the product of a machine that wants the superstar to not go away. We’ve seen well-known folks get away with homicide, incite riots full of hate speech, sexually abuse others, and act like kids frequently just for these behaviors to be forgiven in as a lot time because it takes to craft a press launch and seem on a daytime talk-show tour that’s alleged to persuade us they’re sorry. Typically, we imagine it. Typically, we don’t.
Jamin Pugh didn’t have the posh of that sort of forgiveness machine behind him. As a substitute, by all accounts, he did one thing novel: He did the precise work. He requested questions. He opened his thoughts. He apologized. Once more. And once more. And once more. And once more. He didn’t run from it – one thing so many people can be taught from as a precept to dwell by when we’ve to reckon with our personal errors. He didn’t await it to go away so he might brush it off. He didn’t double-down and act defiant. He didn’t insist he was misunderstood. He heard the reactions. He accepted the ramifications. He grew. He adjusted. He tried. He modified.
However, because it seems, the prize for doing the best factor generally isn’t the identical prize some might imagine it should be – if there’s any prize in any respect. Grand public breakthroughs and common acclaim aren’t promised to those that take their errors severely. As a substitute, the outcomes are the outcomes. Was the reward of evolving as a human being price extra to Jay than a WWE or AEW contract? I can’t communicate to that as a result of I didn’t know him. What I feel we will all agree upon, although, after seeing the outpouring of assist from the wrestling neighborhood within the wake of his loss of life is that touchdown such a high-profile contract felt like essentially the most secondary factor to him. He had his religion. He had his household. He had the issues he beloved and people had been fulfilling sufficient – armed with these instruments, that man might do something, and amongst these issues was change.
There’s been a lot discuss Warner Bros. Discovery not permitting AEW to run extra of a tribute to Briscoe because it did throughout Wednesday’s version of Dynamite. There’s additionally been a lot discuss how unfair Jay’s loss of life is, how deserving he was to see by means of the remainder of his wrestling profession, the remainder of his kids’s journey into maturity, the remainder of life in Sandy Fork, Delaware. And that sort of speak is warranted. There are such a lot of what-if’s and there’s a lot heartbreak. Time is reserved for dialogue as a result of it needs to be. It’s a part of therapeutic. It’s a part of acceptance.
Past the anger and the disappointment and the tragedy, although, might be a household with a pair women who’ve an infinite street to restoration as they work their manner again from the identical auto accident that killed their father. When you haven’t seen the picture of them in reverse hospital beds holding palms just lately, go discover it. It epitomizes hope and it stands for every little thing Jamin Pugh and the Pugh household embodies. There isn’t any use for anger or resentment anymore – not that there ever was.
As a result of exterior a professional wrestling world the place forgiveness for Jay Briscoe from some turned an impossibility resides an actual world that features a Pugh household devoted to spreading love, brightness, and mercy for many who search it. And there aren’t sufficient championship belts on the earth that might measure as much as the kind of legacy these ethos leaves, the kind of legacy these ethos breeds.
Jamin Pugh could be proud. As such, Jamin Pugh ought to by no means be forgotten.