Delirious, Ring of Honor’s booker from 2010-2021, is not a man of many words. Coming up with a character who takes his name literally, with the masked performer often mumbling incoherently and having to be subtitled, fans have been more akin to watching the member of Incoherence – his faction with Hallowicked, Ultra Mantis Black, and company – working mid-card matches and working behind the scenes than putting himself centerstage in the pursuit of external attention.
When Jay Briscoe passed away in a car accident, however, Delirious decided to peel back the curtain, steady his speech, and write an expansive, near-1,000-word tribute to his fallen friend filled with anecdotes, touching memories, and more than a few backstage tidbits that fans wouldn’t have been privy to otherwise. One of those stories is why Briscoe, a tag team wrestler by trade, became the ROH World Champion in a shocking win over Kevin Steen, who was the promotion’s top guy before leaving to become Kevin Owens in WWE.
“As a ROH contracted wrestler he was as easy going as it gets,” Delirious wrote. “A wrestler who worked extremely hard and never “took it easy” in the ring. A worker who never complained to management and embraced whatever came his way. In 12 years of running ROH creative there was never one time Jay objected to his creative direction or had a problem losing. Someone who never called during the week upset they weren’t on the upcoming event poster or upset they weren’t in a higher profile match. Jay made it easy on everyone he worked with fom his opponents to management. There was a level of faith and confidence in Jay as a performer that made him very easy to produce and book. There was a level of faith and confidence in Jay as a performer that made him very easy to produce and book. This was the extent on creative and producing Jay the majority of the time. Me: “Briscoe’s y’all got 12 minutes and y’all up with doomsday. Do whatever you want. Don’t cuss.” Jay: “Can we do Froggy Bow as the finish instead.” Me: “Yeah, whatever.” In a lot of matches or circumstances there can be a lot of input and micro management of talent/matches from the booker. Not Jay and Mark. These guys know what there doing and will always exceed expectations. Having that level of confidence in performers is so special. This is luxury as a booker… trust me.”
“I remember the decision to make Jay the ROH World champion. At the time ROH Champion Kevin Steen was incredibly over. Arguably the most over talent in ROH at the time. With the story we were telling with Kevin at the time, it was very difficult figuring out who would dethrone him. I always tried to have an idea of the next champion months and months before changing it. Our fan base would not accept many people at the time as someone to beat Kevin for the belt. The decision was made on Jay with the idea that nobody expects it but once it happens it will be universally accepted. Fans see it and a lightbulb goes off with the thought of Yes!!! Jay is the perfect champion I never thought of. The Kevin vs. Jay match was not built up super strong like most main event world title matches and this was on purpose. Jay seemed to be a guy that always got a world title shot on a lower profile show as just a filler defense for whoever the champion was at the time. I wanted this match to seem like one of those filer defenses to enhance the overall surprise. It worked perfectly and was one of my all time favorite ROH moments. What a moment and what a scene!! Not one person could deny that Briscoe didn’t deserve it and it made all the sense in the world once it happened.”
While the decision to book Briscoe as the world champion turned more than a few heads at the time, Delirious was dead on in his assessment that the call aged like fine wine and is now considered one of the highlights of both the late wrestler’s career and of the last era of ROH wrestling. Thanks for that, Delirious.
— 👽 (@ROHDelirious) January 20, 2023
Jay Briscoe was a fixture of Delirious’ favorite Ring of Honor storyline.
While the decision to put Briscoe over Steen was a legit shocker for wrestling fans the world over, having Jay Lethal work his way up to a Title vs. Title match at Terminal 5 was far more deliberate, as Delirious spent months building up to the match. Really, it’s no wonder Delirious considers it his all-time favorite angle he booked during his time in ROH.
“My all time favorite ROH story that I booked was the rise of Jay Lethal as TV champion building to the ultimate Title vs. Title match against Jay,” Delirious wrote. “Many months were spent slow building this and the promos, angles etc leading up to the match were brilliant. Everything was perfect. The only thing I would change is the match happening at the Hammerstein Ballroom and not Terminal 5 in New York. For a reason I can’t remember we took a hiatus from running Hammerstein and the best option at the time was a venue that didn’t enhance the match the way Hammerstein would have. A small critique in an overall fantastic and historic feud between Jay and Jay.”
Considering Lethal and Briscoe earned a 4.25-star rating from Dave Meltzer for their efforts, it’s safe to say Delirious booked himself a good bout that will live on forever as new crops of wrestling fans discover Jay as both a singles and tag team wrestler.