Featured Interview: Ring of Honor Legend Jay Briscoe

The rugged and outspoken star from Delaware has been pining for a chance to regain his Ring Of Honor World Championship he lost one year ago at Best in the World. Jay Briscoe, who’s a two-time ROH world champ, had his nine month reign end at the hands of Jay Lethal. Now Briscoe has a chance at a third reign.

The company has never had a three-time world champion and this isn’t lost on Briscoe. He knows it would further his legacy even more and put him alone at the top of the mountain. However, one man stands in the way and it’s the man who took the title off of him — Jay Lethal.

Briscoe is now getting a chance at redemption in what is being pinned as the ‘biggest rematch in ROH history.’

Even Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff can’t contain his enthusiasm. “This is a rematch that has been in the making for the last year,” Koff said. “Two great wrestlers who embody the true essence of Ring of Honor. The fans will be witnessing wrestling history once again.”

On the eve of his PPV title match in Cocord, North Carolina, Briscoe opens up about his journey to get to this moment and what to expect at Best in the World.

Best in the World

CraveOnline: You have come full circle. Last year at ROH’s ‘Best in the World’ you lost the ROH World Heavyweight Championship to Jay Lethal and now one year later, you have a chance to get the title back at the same event. What does that mean to you?

Jay Briscoe: It’s big, man. There’s never been a three-time ROH World Champion. It’s a big opportunity so I’m trying to be as ready as I can be and go in there and try to make it happen. 

CraveOnline: Like you said, no one has won the ROH world title three times and there have been a lot of greats in ROH. What would it mean for you to be the first guy to reach that achievement?

Jay Briscoe: It would be cool as shit. I just got to get it done. I’m not trying to think too much into the future. I’m just focusing on doing what I need to do.

Career Influences

CraveOnline: You’ve always had a unique promo style that has been very entertaining. Who did you model your promo skills after? How did you develop this style?

Jay Briscoe: To be honest with you, man. I remember back in the day when we were first starting out and I was doing promos, trying to talk like a pro wrestler. It just wasn’t natural trying to do that so I just started talking like myself. I was always a big fan of New Jack. Don’t get me wrong. I like how New Jack used to talk and stuff like that. I don’t really attribute it to any one or two people. It’s just talking how I talk.

CraveOnline: You grew up being a huge fan of the business. Who were some of your inspirations?

Jay Briscoe: We were big ECW fans. We were big Japanese fans; All Japan Pro Wrestling. We used to watch Toshiaki Kawada, Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi and all of those guys. I was real big on The Dudley Boyz. It was all those guys like Sandman, The Eliminators, The Public Enemy and all of those tag teams back in ECW. That was big for us.

CraveOnline: How supportive were your parents of your decision to go into pro wrestling even when you started in this industry at 15-years-old?

Jay Briscoe: Our parents were all for it ever since it started. Dad is the one who got my brother and I into it. He was always a big wrestling fan and still is today. I remember we were too young to drive to go to training when we first started and it was a two-hour drive three times a week but dad used to take us up there and watch training and be around it. They’ve been fully supportive the whole time. We got some buddies that were like ‘Nah, man. You won’t be able to do all of that’ but here we are today.

“We were so young we didn’t care. We just wanted to be 3712d629-e54c-4827-beab-8aaa1714cb34wrestlers.”

CraveOnline: What was life like for you when you were first trying to make it in the business?

Jay Briscoe: Well, I mean for a couple of years it was kind of tough, man. We would go to high school all day long and then have football practice after school from 3-5 p.m. and then when football practice got over, we would go to training that was over two hours away and get there at 7 o’clock and go until 10:30 at night and not get home until past midnight and get up and do it all over again. It wore on us but at the time, we were so young we didn’t care. We just wanted to be wrestlers.

Humble beginnings

CraveOnline: Did you ever have to have a side job while you were wrestling?

Jay Briscoe: Yeah, once I got out of high school, man. We’ve always had a chicken farm and everything but once I got out of high school, I started helping people clear lots, cut down trees and stuff like that. You’re just trying to support of everything and pay the bills. When you first start out wrestling, you’re not making much money so you got to do what you got to do.

The Briscoe Brothers

CraveOnline: The Briscoe Brothers [Jay and Mark Briscoe] are a record 8-time ROH Tag Team Champions. That’s a lot of success for you and your brother so was there a big rivalry while you were growing up with each other? Did you try and one up each other?

Jay Briscoe: Oh yeah. Yes, sir. Before we started wrestling training, when we were 10 or 11-years-old, we used to go out on the trampoline and wrestle on a trampoline. I would pretend to be Sandman and he’d be Tommy Dreamer and we’d have a match on a trampoline until the trampoline wasn’t cutting it anymore. We ended up building a ring in our backyard with some old tires and garden hose. We ended up videotaping what Mark and I did in the backyard and we would send it to people telling them that we really want to do this so can someone show us the proper way to do it. Finally, Jim Kettner from Wrestle Tech said come on and I was 16 and Mark [Briscoe] was 15 and that was all she wrote.

The chicken farm and wrestling

CraveOnline: Do you have time for any personal interests outside the ring?

Jay Briscoe: Shoot. Well, I’ve got three kids and my brother has four kids so between all of that and working on the chicken farm and we got a little landscaping business going on, we try to stay busy during the week. Now we’re starting to go to New Japan quite a bit more so we’re pretty tied up between the kids, the chicken farm, and wrestling.

c8bfa367-1619-4405-abc3-c55e3691d050Being a dad

CraveOnline: What’s it like being a parent and being on the road? Is that difficult?

Jay Briscoe: It gets hard, man. The kids really don’t understand. My wife understands I’m out making money and supporting the family and paying the bills but the kids, they’re still young. They just see Daddy is always leaving every weekend. We’ve been on quite a tear lately. We just got back from Japan and leaving for North Carolina but they’re cool with it. It’s on PPV so they’re going to stay up and watch it. They love wrestling. It’s tough being away, though.

ROH’s evolution

CraveOnline: Let’s discuss Ring of Honor’s reputation. You’ve been with ROH for a long time now. How have you seen it change and grow?

Jay Briscoe: It’s been crazy, man. My brother puts it the best. ROH used to be like an All-Star team with a bunch of great wrestlers from everywhere but now we’re like the New England Patriots. Everybody is on the same page. We’re all working toward the same goal. Everybody is being so selfless and not worry so much about their self; it’s good to see.

Facing Jay Lethal

CraveOnline: What can we expect in your match when you clash with the ROH World Champion Jay Lethal at “Best in the World?” How do your styles differ?

Jay Briscoe: I think we’re similar style wise. I’m a little more smash mouth and Jay has a few more moves than I do.  Last time it was pretty much just a fight and I’m expecting the same thing this time. Jay [Lethal] is one of the best wrestlers in the world so it’s going to be a hell of a match.

“I don’t know how to do anything else”

CraveOnline: Jay, you’ve been an 8-time ROH Tag Team Champion and a 2-time ROH World Champion. How do you stay motivated?

Jay Briscoe: We just keep rolling. I really can’t explain it. There’s no specific goal. We just wake up and do this every single day because it’s what we love to do and it’s just who we are, man. I’ve been doing it so long, I don’t know how to do anything else.

Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline Sports, a hockey fanatic, a pro wrestling connoisseur and an expert on all things Patrick Swayze. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaCaudill85 or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.

ROH presents Best in the World
Friday, June 24, 2016 09:00 p.m. EDT
Cabarrus Arena – 4751 NC-49 – Concord, North Carolina, 28025
Photos: Lee South (Action shots via Andrew Kellaway)