The Briscoes and FTR | An Old-School Style Rivalry That Ignited A New Era Of ROH

Tag team wrestling has evolved throughout the years through teams like the Young Bucks and the Usos to more high-flying styles. But when we look back to the gritty style seen in the 1980s, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

On one side, we have Dem Boys and two men who have come deeply inked with Ring of Honor through amazing work as singles wrestlers and, more iconically, a tag team.

On the other side, we have the Top Guys and a team that has been putting on matches of tag team excellence in WWE and AEW. They were looking to claim the throne of the best tag team ever. This is the rivalry between The Briscoes and FTR.

The Briscoes and FTR
[Photo: WrestleZone]

The Briscoes and FTR
FTR Disrespect The Honor At Final Battle 2021

Unlike many rivalries, this did not start in the ring but over Twitter, where both teams tried to run each other down with their words, with the Briscoes sounding off with ‘Done Talking. Pull up and fight us.

On December 11th, 2021, at Final Battle (End of an Era), the Briscoes became record-breaking 12-time ROH Tag Team Champions, defeating Mike Bennett and Matt Taven for the straps.

During an emotional goodbye to the fans, before Ring of Honor went on a break of reinvention, the lights went out to come back with a shock for the fans and the Briscoes.

FTR made their ROH debut to confront Dem Boys after all the online trash talk. Due to the insults the two teams threw, the face-off quickly descended into a savage brawl between the two teams.

All four men beat the hell out of one another before being separated by security, but the looks in all of their eyes told the story: the war had begun.

FTR disrespected the company with zero honor shown for the PPV or the roster but had their goals set. They wanted to step on the proving ground with the Briscoe Brothers and add the ROH Tag Team Championships to their collection.

War Of Words Over Social Media

After the chaos and controversy the Top Guys created at Final Battle, both Dax and Cash continued to send jabs the way of the Briscoes through social media and calling them out over Twitter, especially with Dax telling them ‘if they want to get paid, they know where to find us.’

Jay and Mark did not take this kindly and posted videos over the internet in attempts to run down FTR and claim that they are levels above the Top Guys, and when they do fight, they will be beaten down by Dem Boys.

This kept the fans salivating at the idea of a fight between two of the best tag teams today, but as of now, there was no date confirmed for the battle, but this was all about to change.

FTR disrespected the company with zero honor shown for the PPV or the roster but had their goals set. They wanted to step on the proving ground with the Briscoe Brothers and add the ROH Tag Team Championships to their collection.

The Long-Anticipated Announcement For The New Era

For the return show of Ring of Honor, and Supercard of Honor, the Briscoes issued an open challenge for the tag team titles. Despite the vast talent in today’s tag team divisions worldwide, the wrestling world had only one team on its mind.

On March 18th, 2022, FTR had accepted the ROH World Tag Team Championship Open Challenge and would make their ROH debut to face off with the Briscoes.

The mere confirmation of this matchup had fans excited for April 1st, but the four men knew the threat either team proposed and were focused on backing up all the trash talk and getting their hands raised on the night.

The Briscoes Vs FTR Announced For ROH Supercard Of Honor
[Photo: Wrestling Inc]

The Briscoes and FTR
The Dream Tag Team Supercard Showdown

On April 1st, 2022, the long-awaited dream tag war between the Briscoes and FTR finally went down. The intensity was there from the beginning when both teams went head-to-head like bulls in the introduction, with the crowd screaming the roof off. This was only a tiny preview of the clash that was to follow.

The match opened with Mark and Cash trying to intimidate each other with piercing stares, proceeded by a lockup with genuine malice and heavy chops that could cave in a chest. The hostility in this match grew when the main instigators of the harsh words stepped in to fight one another: Dax Harwood and Jay Briscoe.

After this, the match truly showed the clash of styles this matchup proposed, with FTR’s technical tag team efficiency and the Briscoes’ wild redneck assaults creating an interesting story throughout the match.

Due to the teams being polar opposites in wrestling ideologies, there was no clear team in the lead, as the pendulum of momentum indeed swung in the way of both teams. This led to all four men upping the violence in order to deal more damage than their adversaries, seeing all four men busted open and tasting their own blood.

After many damaging spots, such as suplexes from the ring to the floor to being slammed through tables, even a savage spot of FTR slingshotting Jay Briscoe’s face into the underneath of a table, and overall, beating each other up, the Briscoes tried to turn the Top Guy’s move against them. They used the Big Rig for the important victory, but Cash Wheeler kicked to survive in this colossal battle.

After a grueling 27-minute war in which all men got the respect of the crowd, FTR used their high ring IQ to outsmart Dem Boys to hit the Big Rig and win the ROH tag titles for the first time. A Young Bucks attack ruined this huge moment for the new champions. It was until a shock save from the Briscoes, running off the AEW EVPs.

Briscoes and FTR ended with a handshake and hugs all around, showing the utmost respect to one another after one of the best tag matches of all time. This was a great battle, but it was one of the first in the beginning of a tag war.

FTR Come Calling For Round Two

A month away from the PPV, the ROH Pure and World title matches had been decided for Death Before Dishonor 2022. However, the tag champions had nothing in store for the PPV. Due to this, they decided to call out the Briscoes for a second round in this rivalry. The brothers accepted this, and the anticipated rematch was on.

The Briscoes and FTR
Upping The Stakes and Intensity

On July 15th, 2022, Ring Of Honor conducted a sit-down interview between the two teams to hype their anticipated rematch at Death Before Dishonor 2022. The room had a clear tense atmosphere, with the Briscoes trying to downplay FTR’s victory, sparking some fuel in the fire for July 23rd.

The debate quickly got heated when Dax told Jay to ‘shut your f*****g mouth!’. Both teams almost broke into a brawl until FTR proposed the idea of returning to the early days of ROH and offered a new stipulation for their rematch under a favorite of Dem Boys: 2-out-of-3 Falls.

These teams seemed to agree respectfully with a shot of Tequila shared between the four. However, Jay and Mark threw their glasses to the ground as a sign of hostility and sent a clear message to prepare for a fight at the PPV.

FTR Vs. The Briscoes (Death Before Dishonor) Match Review | Wrestle Purists | All Things Pro Wrestling
[Photo: Wrestle Purists]

Briscoes and FTR Represent Death Before Dishonor

On July 23rd, 2022, the second match went down between two of the greatest tag teams today. Despite going into this with prior knowledge from their match in April, there was still a slow start, as one team must get two victories to hold the ROH World Tag Team Championships.

The Briscoes did not make the same mistake they made at Supercard of Honor, trying to compete in FTR’s style of match. Instead, they brought the violence by cutting off the ring for Dax and knocking Cash off the apron, frustrating the champions. This ended up working in favor of Dem Boys, scoring them the first fall off a Doomsday Device, which left Dax Harwood a bloody and dazed mess.

With Dax not knowing where he is, a clean sweep seemed inevitable for the challengers unless FTR could fight back. Against all odds, the Top Guys brought the fight to the brothers, leaving all four men painted red.

In all of the chaos, FTR landed their finishing shot to tie up the match at one-a-piece. The final fall saw both teams trying to land their biggest shots through the exhaustion of keeping up a high pace for over 30 minutes in a huge main event slot.

After 10 minutes of heavy slams, hard-hitting chops, forearms, and tag team violence, it seemed that the Briscoes were about to become 12-time champions. This was until Cash Wheeler took Mark off the top rope through a table in a terrifying fall.

Meanwhile, Dax wrestled Jay into a brutal piledriver off the second rope to secure the second fall and the victory. After the match, the Briscoes and FTR took a bow after such a brutal affair.

This match truly represents the old-school vibe that this rivalry represents, from the pace slowly building to create an exceptionally consistent 45-minute match to the blood and grit that would have been seen in the likes of the NWA in the 90s. It made this rivalry feel quite unique in modern wrestling that raised the profile of both teams.

The Briscoes and FTR
Dem Boys Offer One Final Challenge

On the December 7th, 2022, edition of Dynamite, FTR suffered a significant loss to The Acclaimed to lose their chance at adding the AEW World Tag Titles to their collection. As well as this loss, the ROH PPV, Final Battle, was quickly approaching, and with no opponents in sight, it looked like FTR was off the card. However, the show closed with a video from the Gunns.

Austin and Colten began mocking the Top Guys for their loss but offered them an early Christmas present to raise their spirits, but this gift brought the worst out of the 7-Star team. There was a note written in blood saying, ‘Final Battle. Saturday. -Dem Boys’. A second item was presented to show the brutal stipulation chosen for the final bout of the trilogy: a Dog Collar.

FTR Vs. The Briscoes (Double Dog Collar) Match Review | Wrestle Purists | All Things Pro Wrestling
[Photo: Wrestle Purists]

The Briscoes and FTR
A Trilogy Born Through Blood, Chains, and Violence

On December 10th, 2022, the third and final match between FTR and the Briscoes would go down. With the horrifying stipulation placed on the rivalry’s finale, the hype, and intensity were seeping out of the College Park Center.

This feeling was increased when the Briscoes wore the jackets they had when they used to slaughter animals, showing the roller-coaster of pain this would be. Despite being tethered together by an unrelenting chain, the two teams had the same mission: prove they were the greatest tag team.

Unlike the previous two matches, there was no feeling-out process or adapting the match to a particular style. All four men brawled over the arena from the starting bell, which left heavy amounts of blood spilling early, especially from Jay Briscoe.

This chaotic star favored the Briscoes, with Mark hitting a dive off the stage and using the dog collar chain to their advantage. Dem Boys began to whip the champions, which FTR responded to in spades and peaked the brutality of this rivalry with the ring stained red from the violence this match presented.

There were many remarkably savage spots, such as Cash Wheeler trying to eliminate Mark Briscoe by hanging in with the chain over the top rope, leaving Mark struggling for a single breath.

Later on, Mark continued to suffer at the hands of Cash when the chain was used to fling him onto a sea of chairs on the floor from the top rope, leaving him in a heap of bones and agony.

As well as this, Dax made his sacrifice in hopes of achieving the third straight win when he wrapped the chain around his head to hit a diving headbutt, which came to no avail. The match got so savage that the referee was pouring out blood.

After over 20 minutes of career-shortening violence, Jay Briscoe wiped to hit a heavy superplex onto a pile of chairs, following up with a cross-face with all the chains wrapped around the face and neck of Dax Harwood.

Cash tried to come in to make the save, but Mark held him back with the steel to watch the suffering. With no escape in sight, Dax tapped out, and the Briscoes got their ROH tag titles back and a victory over FTR.

The final match between the Briscoes and FTR is one of the most bloody and brutal tag matches ever. After the war, all four men showed their utmost respect for pushing each other to the limit and delivering some of the best matches of either team’s career.

The scars on their bodies served not only as a reminder of the torture they had gone through at Final Battle 2022 but also that after all this, Briscoes and FTR are forever linked as wrestling rivals and soulmates.

Mark Briscoe and FTR pose with their Fightful “Tag Team Match of the Year” awards : r/SquaredCircle
[Photo: Reddit]

RIP Jay Briscoe

The Double Dog Collar war at Final Battle 2022 would sadly serve as the final ROH match for the Briscoe brothers as, sadly, on January 17th, 2023, Jay Briscoe was involved in a car crash that took his life. Jay Briscoe’s death rocked the wrestling world as not only was it sudden, but of his impact on the independents and Ring Of Honor as a tag team and singles competitor.

Mark Briscoe and Jay Lethal had a very emotional tribute match on the 25th January 2023 edition of Dynamite, in which Mark won with the tag titles he held with his late brother. ROH also held a Celebration of Life show on YouTube with current ROH talent competing and past Jay Briscoe matches.

The wrestling world had great things to say about the wrestler and the family man, Jamie Pugh. A sad loss to the world, but at least he could go out with one final bloody classic with his brother and one of his greatest rivals.

The rivalry between the Briscoes brothers and FTR was a frontrunner in rebuilding ROH in a new image after going off the grid for a few months. Both teams have had illustrious careers with many great moments, but the trilogy of wars across the ROH PPVs will stand out as the best.

When fans talk about the best tag team rivalries, the Freebirds vs. Von Erichs, the Midnight Express vs. the Rock n’ Roll Express, and the 3-way ladder wars will be discussed. Still, at the end of Final Battle, one more rivalry could easily be added to the list through both teams’ gritty fights and intense competition. Dem Boys vs. Top Guys. The Briscoes vs. FTR.