Jay and Mark Briscoe have long been regarded not only as the greatest team in Ring of Honor history, but also as one of the greatest tag teams in the history of pro wrestling. After breaking their own record by winning their ninth ROH World Tag Team Championship at ROH’s 16th Anniversary pay-per-view March 9 in Las Vegas, the question now becomes whether the words “one of” still apply.
Five years after the Briscoes’ eighth reign ended at the 11th Anniversary show in 2013, the badass brothers from Sandy Fork, Del., showed that they are as tough as ever by reclaiming what they had been saying is their property from The Motor City Machine Guns.
It wasn’t easy by any means, as the Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley), who were at the top of their game during their five-month reign, matched the Briscoes in intensity and determination. But the Briscoes simply wouldn’t be denied, as not even a huge gash above Mark Briscoe’s right eye would stop them.
It was fitting that the Briscoes regained the titles at a show celebrating ROH’s 16th year in existence. Along with Christopher Daniels, they are the only current members of the roster who appeared on the company’s very first show, “The Honor of Era Begins,” on Feb. 2, 2002 at the Murphy Recreation Center in Philadelphia. Both Jay and Mark were teenagers at the time.
While there have been a number of great tag teams to come through ROH over the years, the Briscoes have been stalwarts as well as standard-bearers in a division that is as deep and competitive as any in the sport.
They won the ROH World Tag Team Titles for the first time on Nov. 1, 2003 and regained them on May 15, 2004. Then, from 2007-2012, the Briscoes dominated the title picture, winning the championships on six occasions, with one of their reigns lasting 275 days. No other tag team has won the ROH World Tag Team Titles more than three times. The Briscoes also have one IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title on their resume.
Had the Briscoes not decided to devote significant time to their singles careers during the ensuing years -- Jay won the ROH World Title in 2013 and 2015, holding it for a combined 375 days -- their number of ROH World Tag Team Title reigns would likely be in double digits.
However, despite all their accomplishments and long tenure in ROH, the Briscoes’ historic victory at 16th Anniversary wasn’t exactly a feel-good moment. The former crowd favorites have made it clear that they don’t want or need the fans’ support. To drive home that point, Jay Briscoe held up the championship belt after the match and yelled, “Read it and weep! I told you!” As they exited the ring Mark Briscoe told fans at ringside to “piss off.”
When ROHWrestling.com reached out to the Briscoes for comment about their title win, Jay Briscoe angrily responded by saying, “Man, we’re the nine-time ROH World Tag Team Champions. We ain’t got time for that dot-com bullsh*t!”
The Briscoes have always been dangerous, no-nonsense competitors, but over the past five months they’ve taken their ruthlessness and violent tendencies to scary new heights. ROH commentator Ian Riccaboni noted during the match at 16th Anniversary that the Briscoes have “reached into the darkest recesses of their minds.”
The Briscoes had shocked the wrestling world with their new attitude last October when they viciously attacked Bully Ray, who had been their partner when the trio were ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions, and Bully’s friend Tommy Dreamer. At Final Battle in December, the Briscoes defeated Bully and Dreamer in a bloody, violent New York Street Fight.
From that point forward, the Briscoes were on a mission to regain the ROH World Tag Team Titles and they vowed to achieve that goal by any means necessary. In separate incidents, the Briscoes sent a message to the champions by attacking Sabin and Shelley and leaving them lying.
“We don’t care if we break bones,” Mark Briscoe said after the attacks. “We don’t care if we cripple you, if you walk back to the locker room or are carted back. Hell, we don’t care if you live or if you die.”
With that mindset combined with the fact that the Briscoes are still in the prime of their careers, one has to wonder not only if title reign No. 9 will be their longest, but also just how many tag teams will be left in their wake.