The Ballad of The Briscoes

At last night’s Impact Under Siege event, The Briscoes won the Impact tag team championships, their most high profile accomplishment since the stellar bout with FTR at Super card of Honor during Wrestlemania weekend.

However, the tag championship victory goes along with a trend throughout their career, The Briscoes are often big fish in a small pond.

Mark and Jay, the real-life brothers that are legitimately chicken farmers from Delaware, were a part of the fabric of Ring Of Honor, as they competed for the group almost since its inception. Within just a few years, Mark and Jay had such an incredible run with a series of high quality matches under the ROH banner that there was a legitimate argument to be made that they were the best tag team in the entire business.

In retrospect, it’s somewhat puzzling that when TNA made its talent exclusive, and WWE began to sign a few key ROH talents around 2007 that for whatever reason, the Briscoes opted to stay on the Ring Of Honor roster. For several years afterwards, they continued to be the tag team of ROH, and the combination worked so well, and the matches were so consistent that there wasn’t much reason for either of them to change their career paths. Even though the Sinclair purchase in 2011, when the company was on shaky ground with its presentation and the infamous iPPV mishaps, the Briscoes were quality talent that you could count on for a solid performance each time they stepped into the ring.

Eventually, Jay worked his way up the card to claim the ROH championship, a belt that at one time was probably the most prestigious title in the United States. Unfortunately, Jay posted some absolutely terrible and hateful slurs on social media. He apologized and donated a portion of his earnings to charity, but the damage was done in terms of the business perception of the Briscoes.

Those ignorant and ill-advised tweets truly altered the career path of one of the best tag teams of the modern era.

Jay vacated the ROH title because his contract with the promotion wasn’t going to be renewed in the aftermath of the bad publicity of the social media controversy, but he eventually re-signed and had another short reign with the belt before he dropped it again toward the conclusion of 2014. Since that time, the Briscoes more or less resumed their role as the tag team standard of Ring Of Honor and provided some consistency to a promotion that varied considerably over the years, depending on when Sinclair wanted to put money into the project.

Among the dream matches discussed online in recent years was the Briscoes vs. FTR, as the two tags were both a throwback to the golden age of the NWA tag wrestling of a previous era. When Tony Khan purchased ROH, the speculation only increased, with most fans assuming it only a matter of time before Mark and Jay showed up on Dynamite.

A few months ago, it was reported online that a TBS executive specifically told AEW that the Briscoes couldn’t be featured on their networks because of Jay’s hateful tweets in the past. There might’ve been some credibility to those reports because Jay addressed the past controversy again and apologized for a second time, explaining that he thought he was standing up for his religion at the time, but has since realized that he misrepresented his religion and himself. Jay acknowledged himself that his comments were stupid and misguided. If someone chooses to accept his apology or view it as sincere is their personal choice.

If I had to guess, and this is a total guess, I would say that Jay Briscoes is probably legitimately sorry for the terrible things he said, and maybe he shouldn’t still face the consequences for what he said over a decade ago. Still, that doesn’t mean that anyone, including the TBS executive, has to give Jay Briscoe a second chance.

The bottom line is, the partnership with TBS is exponentially more important than any one talent or tag team on the roster so if Turner management says no then there just won’t be a place for the Briscoes on AEW programming. All things considered, it’s an extremely disappointing situation from almost every perspective. The Briscoe brothers have an authenticity that very few others have in the modern era, and ultimately, that’s what draws money in the wrestling business. Mark and Jay would be tremendous assets for All Elite, and they have the skills to be on national television. It would add another great team to the promotion that’s at least trying to put a proper spotlight on tag wrestling. If Jay is legitimately sorry and remorseful for the things he said, it’s unfortunate that his real-life character remains tainted for stupid things that he said more than ten years ago. It’s definitely possible for someone to evolve and have a better understand of others in society, but only Jay Briscoe truly knows if he learned that.

I think it’s fair to say that The Briscoes would’ve done very well in AEW, and proof of the possibilities of an All Elite run was the previously mentioned showcase match against FTR. Personally, I don’t think labeling someone as a terrible person for something they said years earlier honestly helps anyone if they are legitimately apologetic for it. Everyone should at least have a chance to learn from their flawed ideology. There’s no place for hate in the world, but there’s definitely a place for forgiveness so maybe the Briscoes should be given a chance?

However, the reality of the situation is that those past comments will keep the Briscoes away from AEW, and you can’t necessarily call it unfair because they were truly awful remarks. That being said, Impact Wrestling landed a quality tag team, something that they will needed, specifically with some of the recent departures in the company, including The Good Brothers since they look like they will return to New Japan on a full-rime basis. Still, the Briscoes winning the Impact tag titles is rather moot in the grand scheme of things. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that Impact gives more wrestlers a place to make a full-time living in the sport, and obviously the economics of the company work for Anthem, the group that bought the promotion to keep it on the Fight Network in Canada. At the same time, the vast majority of the Impact product, specifically since the conclusion of the Kenny Omega angle last year, is irrelevant among the wrestling landscape since the focus of the industry is on the WWE and AEW competition.

What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

E mail | You can follow me on Twitter @jimlamotta