Though he never wrestled a match for the promotion – not even a local jobber squash – WWE SmackDown did not go off the air without multiple shoutouts to former Ring of Honor Triple Crown Champion Jay Briscoe, who tragically passed away on Tuesday in a car accident.
Much like on NXT and AEW before them, SmackDown featured a shoutout on the mic from Michael Cole, who paid his respects and sent his condolences to a member of “one of wrestling’s great tag teams.” The opening match also featured two performers wearing Dem Boys armbands, as Ivar and Erik of The Viking Raiders actually wrestled The Briscoes on multiple occasions during their shared time in Ring of Honor, when the duo were known as War Machine.
Kevin Owens then got in on the action in the main event of the show, clearing house in what was supposed to be a contract signing with a black armband simply reading Jay wrapped around his left arm. Now for fans keeping track at home, this wasn’t the first time KO has paid tribute to his fallen former ROH friend, as he donated a staggering $10,000 in the name of the Steen family to Briscoe’s GiveSendGo fundraiser, and even wrote a touching tribute to his fallen friend.
After once being rejected from developmental for not being “aesthetically pleasing,” it’s certainly interesting to see and hear tributes to The Briscoes on WWE television. It’s just a shame the positive accolades didn’t come for a better reason.
Love you Jay, Love you Briscoes
— Ivar (@Ivar_WWE) January 21, 2023
KO sends a touching tribute to Jay Briscoe.
In addition to his physical tribute to Briscoe, KO took to his Twitter to share a touching tribute to his fallen friend, which you can read in full below.
I spent hours reading what people had to say about Jamin last night. I watched some of our matches together. I went back and read our last texts to each other.
I am so heartbroken for his family. Every single one of them that I met over the years, and I met a lot of them because they all stuck together like glue, all special human beings that would give you the shirt off their back in a heartbeat if you needed it.
That’s who Jamin was, too.
There are a few people in this industry that I consider pillars of my own career. People I truly feel I would not be where I am today had I not encountered them. Jay and Mark Briscoe are two of those pillars. In 2007, they had the opportunity to make or break two Canadian guys that were trying to put themselves on the map on the US indie scene. I remember walking up to Jay that afternoon before our match and asking what he wanted to do… never met him before… first interaction we ever had… he heard my questions, looked at me, and with a huge smile across his face, said “Well sh*t, man… let’s go out there and f*cking kill it!”
So we did. We did that night and we did many times after that. Each match I had with them stands out in my memory among the thousands of matches I’ve had in my career because working with The Briscoes was special, every single time.
Having the honor of being in the ring with Jay and his entire Family as they celebrated after he beat me for the ROH Title is my favorite memory of my independent career, bar none. It was special for all of them, for the crowd there that night, for everyone in the locker room and for me because Jay was special.
I didn’t get to see Jamin much after I went to WWE in 2014. In fact, I think we only saw each other once but it was like no time had passed at all. He came to see a WWE show and of course, he had his whole family with him. He was so excited and proud to tell me about everything his kids and wife were up to and how great they were doing. He loved his family with everything he had… It was amazing to see them all. We didn’t keep in touch very often but every time we did, it absolutely made my day. Getting a text message from him was always a giant ray of sunshine.
I’m so thankful that I got to have him in my life. I’m so thankful for the laughs and memories. Just so thankful to have known him. I’m a better person for having had the chance to.
My heart goes out to Ashley and the kids, to Mark and his parents, and to everyone else that knew and loved him. And that’s a lot of f*cking people.
Because Jay was special.
Over his professional wrestling career, Owens shared a ring with one or both of the Briscoes on 35 occasions, 24 as part of a tag team, and nine more in singles action against either Jay or Mark. Jay took the belt off of KO at Supercard of Honor in 2013, wrestled together on multiple occasions, and ultimately left an indelible mark on his wrestling career despite a near-decade away from each other in the ring. Some relationships just hit differently and to paraphrase KO, his relationship with Jay was “special.”
— Kevinn (@FightOwensFight) January 21, 2023