Former ROH Owner Cary Silkin Remembers Jay Briscoe

On Wednesday morning, SiriusXM's "Busted Open Radio" opened with a ten-bell salute to Jay Briscoe, real name Jamin Pugh, who died Tuesday evening at the age of 38 in what was later reported as a two-vehicle car accident. As part of their tribute, Cary Silkin, who owned Ring of Honor from 2004 to 2011 and served as a figurehead of sorts ever since, joined the show to share his memories of one of ROH's signature performers.


"It's hard to talk about Jay without talking about [his brother,] Mark, 'cause they came together," said Silkin. "I never -ever- had any negativity with these guys. During my time as an owner of ROH, and beyond that, it was just a pleasure. Always upbeat, nothing ever sour. I think of Jay, and we would laugh, I'd be able to get him to laugh and they'd make me laugh. No matter what, there was never a negative moment with Jay." Silkin noted that the brothers quickly made an impression on fans, particularly once Mark turned 18 and they could team up on ROH shows in states where wrestling was regulated.

Silkin also noted how the entire Pugh/Briscoe family, the most important thing in the world to Jay, was a presence in ROH from very early on. "It's funny, if you think back to it, at the beginning, it was Papa Briscoe or Mama Briscoe coming with them to a show most of the time," he said. "Then they got married. Then the babies were coming. Then the children were coming. And before you know it, if the house wasn't good, you could count on 40 to 50 Briscoes and friends being at the show." 


"What you got with them, that was them!" Silkin added. "This was no character! They were the real McCoy, and I think that's one of the things that's missing these days."

Silkin: 'The family thing is so important'

A few minutes later, Silkin continued his focus on how much Jay's family meant to him.

"The family thing is so important," he said. "I was talking about the evolution of them coming to the shows, and as time went on, they had a motor home. And I remember one time, it was 2008 WrestleMania [weekend] in Orlando, and the whole Briscoe crew came down. Come on vacation, right?" During that trip, Roderick Strong hosted a party at his home, and the entire Briscoe clan showed up. "We're in Roderick Strong's studio apartment, 12-14 people, and the drinking is heavy, to say the least," Silkin continued. "All of a sudden, Papa Briscoe and Mark and Jay start slapping each other on the back yelling 'TARHEELS!' Mind you, the [Tarheels basketball] game was not on! It was later that night or the next day." This continued for an hour. "They just had FUN. They had so much fun. And this lasted through the whole time I knew them."


Silkin also recalled a show in 2017, right as ROH was peaking, bumping into Papa Briscoe in the concourse of a show in Baltimore that drew particularly well, a story he used to wrap up the discussion of the larger Briscoe family. "There was a good match on, so there were very few people [there]," he said. "He grabs me, and he goes 'Boss, you see all that out there?'—now this is six years after I sold the company—he goes 'That's all you! That's all you!' The family was so important. I can't imagine what they're going through. Let's hope the best for his daughters. They're just wonderful people. Jay, I love you, man."