Jay Briscoe Death – Accident
1984-2023 (Age 38)
The death of Jay Briscoe shocked the wrestling world. A motor vehicle accident ended his life at the relatively young age of 38. He was known as a strong family man and an upstanding member of the community in addition to being a gifted wrestler.
Jay’s career seemed synonymous with his brother Mark. After all the two held tag team championships wherever they competed. However, Jay Briscoe also had a notable singles career, proving he was more than a one-trick pony.
Jamin Dale Pugh was born on January 25, 1984, in Salisbury, Maryland. He excelled as a high school athlete:
Pugh was a first-team All-Henlopen Conference Southern Division fullback and linebacker and honorable mention All-State linebacker before graduating from Laurel in 2002 on teams coached by his father, Mike.
Pugh would later give back to the community by providing guidance in amateur athletics. This was but one aspect of Briscoe’s legacy.
Working with Many Future Stars
Jay Briscoe entered the grappling game at age 16. He and his brother caught attention on the indie circuit when they began working in Combat Zone Wrestling. The Briscoes also worked in Jersey Pro Wrestling (JAPW), again making an impression on anyone who saw them.
The early 2000s was a fantastic time for the indie circuit as there were many small but flourishing markets for young wrestlers to compete in. Although crowds were often limited to just hundreds of fans, wrestlers had a chance to develop their own styles without the strict conformity of the WWE, which by 2002 was the only major promotion left in the United States.
As Jay Briscoe traveled throughout the independent circuit, he crossed paths with many emerging and future stars including Homicide, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Seth Rollins.
Tag Team Specialist Supreme
Jay and Mark Briscoe became one of the best tag teams to work outside the major American promotions. The two dominated Ring of Honor (holding the promotion’s tag team titles a record 13 times). However, they also found tag team success in other promotions in North America and Japan.
The Briscoes held tag team championships in IMPACT Wrestling, Game Changer Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling, and several others in North America. In Japan, they captured tag team gold in New Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Noah.
Although Jay and his brother battled many different teams, rivalries with The Young Bucks, FTR, The Age of the Fall, Kevin Steen and El Generico, and The American Wolves stand out as some of their best.
Reaching the Top of the Mountain
In 2013, Jay reached the top of the singles mountain when he defeated Kevin Steen (aka future WWE Superstar Kevin Owens) for the ROH World. Briscoe successfully defended the title against Adam Cole, Matt Hardy, and Mark Briscoe before dropping the belt due to an injury storyline. Jay captured the belt a second time in 2014, holding it for roughly nine months before losing it to Jay Lethal.
Briscoe’s career was not without controversy. His comments on social media incurred a firestorm of controversy. In June of 2011, he wrote “Damn there’s [sic] a lot of fags out in New York today.”
In August of that year he had this to say about Hurricane Irene:
“To all da hoes, sluts, skanks, he-shes, she-hes and homos that be whorin it up on da eastcoast… this hurricanes for you.”
Whatever backlash Jay experienced for these remarks paled to what happened when he tweeted this in 2013:
“The Delaware Senate passed a bill yesterday that allows same sex couples to get married. If that makes you happy, then congratulations!!!!!!
… try and teach my kids that there’s nothing wrong with that and I’ll fucking shoot you”
Consequences for His Comments
Unlike Jay Briscoe’s previous remarks, this one was quickly addressed by Ring of Honor, which posted this on its website:
“(ROH World champion) Jay Briscoe would like to again express his sincerest apologies and regrets to all, especially his young fans, for his recent hateful Twitter comment. Ring of Honor has insisted that Jay also make a public apology at the Ring of Honor event this Saturday night (in Belle Vernon, Pa.). Jay will address the public during the event.
In addition to this apology, Ring of Honor and Jay have agreed that he will donate his full pay from the next two Ring of Honor events to the Partners Against Hate charitable organization. Partners Against Hate was created to help prevent, deter, and reduce juvenile hate-related behavior.
Although Briscoe apologized several times for the remarks, some fans have speculated that the stigma from his remarks kept him and his brother from working in larger companies such as the WWE and AEW.
A Family Man and Community Leader
Jay Briscoe was known for his devotion to his family and for serving his community. Jay was known for helping his daughters with practicing their cheers. He even put a bow in his hair to fit the mood. USA Today would report:
Briscoe is being remembered as a community leader. He was an assistant coach for the Laurel Middle School football team, where his son, Gannon, played. He also coached a youth basketball team.
Jay Briscoe was also loved by many in the wrestling community and seen as a loyal friend.
The Death of Jay Briscoe
The Briscoe Brothers’ last big match was a brutal Double Dog Collar Match against FTR. The two teams fought for the ROH World Tag Team Championship. The Briscoes defeated Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler, making history with their 13th ROH Tag Team Championship win. Sadly, that would be Jay and Mark’s last reign.
On January 17, 2023, Jay Briscoe died when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident. NBC News would report:
Briscoe, whose real name was Jamin Pugh, was driving east on Laurel Road in a Chevrolet Silverado 2500 at 5:09 p.m. ET Tuesday when a westbound Chevrolet Silverado 1500 “crossed the center lane” and came “directly into the path” of eastbound traffic. The Silverado 1500 was driven by Lillyanne Ternahan, 27, of Frankford. She and Pugh, 38, of Laurel, were pronounced dead at the scene in Laurel. Ternahan was wearing a seat belt, and Pugh was not, police said.
Briscoe is one of many wrestlers who died in motor vehicle accidents including Adrian Adonis, “Nature Boy” Buddy Landel, The Junkyard Dog, and Brady Boone. Referee Joey Marella (the son of WWE Hall of Famer Gorilla Monsoon) was killed in a motor vehicle crash as well.
Jay Briscoe’s two daughters survived the crash but suffered serious injuries. Jay is survived by his wife, three children, and his brother Mark.
What are your favorite memories of Jay Briscoe? Let us know in the comments below.