Ring of Honor: Raised in Sandy Fork – The Life & Times of The Briscoes

briscoeslifetimes

“Raised in Sandy Fork: The Life & Times of The Briscoes” aired on Sinclair Broadcasting stations the day of the “Best in the World 2013” iPPV to garner interest. The Briscoes are nothing more than caricatures of who they are in real life, so they are exactly the types of personalities that are fit for a project such as this. I don’t know if airing it the day of the show was the smartest of ideas, but I digress. The special received heaps of praise and hype to the point where I was really looking forward to watching it. As someone who does not receive Sinclair’s channels, I was happy to see it get the DVD treatment with some added bells and whistles to sweeten the pot.

I was pretty disappointed with the final product itself. We get about 7 to 8 minutes of shenanigans on the chicken farm to start, then some more shenanigans interspersed throughout the feature as Jay, Mark, and their father discuss their upbringing and their journey into professional wrestling. I will admit that the tales they tell were fairly interesting but way to glossed over. The Briscoes have such a deep and compelling history, especially in Ring of Honor, that they would be more conducive to a WWE style DVD that features a 2.5 to 3 hour long documentary and a large collection of matches. This set has five matches, four of which are dropped into the documentary when appropriate (i.e. the first Ladder War is shown after they discuss the match). The feature ends of course with some hype for Jay’s World title defense against Mark at Best in the World, which again, aired the night of this feature.

I guess my disappointment is two fold. For one, like I previously mentioned, this does not go nearly in depth enough. As guys who have been there since Day One and have seen every regime change and been apart of some of the biggest feuds in the company, they must have some interesting stories to tell. This DVD showed promise that one day we could perhaps get that “shoot” and match collection but this is not it. The second disappointment is that outside of maybe a slight chuckle here or there, the feature is a product of the time period in which it was placed. By that I mean, aside from watching it as a lead-in to the “Best in the World 2013” iPPV there isn’t much of a reason to give this a look. Even the special features didn’t light my world on fire, but then again some people find Mark Briscoe much more amusing than I do, so your mileage may vary. The replay value for the feature is not all that high, which I think it needs to be when the company is charging $20 for it. The matches? Well, that’s a mixed bag. I’ll show you what I mean:

Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe
“Honor Invades Boston” – Boston, MA – 8.24.2002

A few slaps in the face kick this match off. Mark elbows Jay in the corner. Mark paint brushes the back of his head and snapmares him into a cross armbreaker. Jay escapes and clobbers Mark with forearms in the face. Mark rolls Jay’s headlock into a parachute stretch. After an ankle lock exchange, Mark key locks Jay’s legs and sits back on them. Jay bars Mark’s arm after a fireman’s carry. He sends Mark to the mat with an arm twist. Mark ducks a clothesline and delivers a Northern Lights suplex. Mark’s shoulder blocks have no effect. Jay shoulder tackles and big boots Mark to the floor. Jay and Mark exchange chops. Mark throws Jay into the ring post. With Jay busted open, Mark throws a few punches to the open wound. Back in the ring Jay takes control with a dropkick and clothesline. Mark spinwheel kicks Jay in his cut to turn the tide. Mark gets two with a DDT. Jay ducks a clothesline and kicks out Mark’s knee. He stomps on Mark’s right hand. Jay climbs to the top rope. Mark gives him a springboard super Ace Crusher for two. Mark gives Jay a tombstone piledriver. Jay dragonscrews his leg after Mark misses a knee drop from the top rope. Jay dropkicks Mark in a tree of woe. Mark blocks a lariat with an exploder suplex. Jay rolls to the floor. Mark goes for a pescado. Jay catches him with a throat thrust and Mark lands on his bad leg. Mark low blows Jay and throws him back in the ring. Mark foolishly hits a springboard dropkick. Jay ducks a clothesline and goes for the Jay Driller. Mark slips out. Jay drops him with a powerbomb. Mark kicks out and fights for a German suplex. Mark Dragon suplexes Jay for two. He misses a moonsault. Jay lariats him. He gets two with a Death Valley Driver. Jay gives Mark a modified Emerald Frosion. He misses a back senton. Mark is already up. He gives Jay a Cut-Throat Driver for the pin at 16:46. You might as well call Mark BxB Hulk considering how much the selling of his leg came and went. Speaking of selling, these guys took so many suplexes and head drops with seemingly no consequence. Talk about annoying. It was cool to give Mark a debut in his first match over his brother but this match is nothing more than a spectacle that isn’t all that spectacular anymore. **¾

ROH Tag Team Championship
Special K (Izzy & Dixie) (Champions) vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)

“Main Event Spectacles” – Elizabeth, NJ – 11.1.2003

Jim Cornette is in the Brsicoes corner. The Briscoes get the upper hand in the beginning. Izzy moonsault dropkicks Mark while Dixie sends Jay to the floor. Special K get two with a double flip flapjack to Mark. Izzy monkey flips Mark so that he clotheslines Jay. Jay blasts Izzy with a Northern Lariat. Mark knees Dixie from the apron. Dixie O’Conner rolls Jay but eats a leg lariat from Mark. Mark comes off the top with a knee drop to Dixie across Jay’s knee. They double boot him in the corner. Dixie ducks a boot causing Jay to accidentally connect with it to Mark. He rolls under them and tags in Izzy. He dropkicks both Briscoes. Dixie slingshot dives onto Jay. Izzy kicks Mark off the top rope and dives onto Jay and Dixie. Mark moonsaults off the top onto Jay by accident. He then gets thrown into the barricades. Mark gives Dixie a springboard Ace Crusher. Izzy evades a Doomsday Device, giving Jay a reverse spike huracanrana. Izzy’s standing Shiranui on Mark gets a two count. The Briscoes give Izzy the Veg-O-Matic for two. The Doomsday Device and a Jay Driller takes out Izzy and gives The Briscoes the win and the titles at 9:55. Special K had some cool offense but were generally pretty sloppy and contrived. The Briscoes beating the hell out of them was the best part of the match. **¼

ROH Tag Team Championship; Ladder Match
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) (Champions) vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico

”Man Up!” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 9.15.2007

Mark launches a ladder in the ring as they make their way out. Both teams fight on the floor before the match officially begins. Jay and Generico spill into the crowd. Steen throws Mark into some chairs as Jay hits Generico with a chair. Guys are thrown into rows of chairs several times. A few chair chots are thrown to the face and head, including one from Generico to Jay when they come back to ringside. Mark gives Steen an ace Crusher off the barricade. Generico fights off both Briscoes who notice Generico climbing the ladder in the ring. Generico misses a charge with the ladder in the corner. Generico dropkicks Jay on the top of his head. Mark stops Generico from climbing the ladder again. Generico throws Mark into the ladder. He climbs again but Jay gives him a gord buster. Steen comes in and fights Jay for their finishers. Steen ends up dropping Jay across his knee with a fisherman’s buster. Mark springboard dropkicks Steen off of the ladder. Mark almost has the belts when Steen grabs his foot. Steen knocks Mark to the apron and throws the ladder in his face. Mark takes down Steen in the corner. He and Jay double hip toss Generico onto a ladder in the corner, bending the damn thing in half. Steen throws Mark face first into the barricade. Steen shove Jay off a ladder onto the ladder in the corner that Generico was put through. Steen suplexes Jay onto a ladder. Mark gets kicked in the nuts just for going after Steen. Generico hits a split legged moonsault onto Mark on a ladder. Steen places a ladder between the edge of the ring and the barricade. Mark spinwheel kicks Steen. Jay fires away with forearms to Steen. Generico throws a ladder at Jay. Generico yakuza kicks a ladder into Jay’s face. Steen powerbombs Mark on the ladder positioned between the ring and barricade. Steen is climbing the ladder when Jay shoves Generico into it. Steen falls off and Generico gets suplexed onto his head. Mark finally recovers. He missile dropkicks a ladder into Steen’s face. He then suplexes Generico onto a ladder. Jay gives Steen a Death Valley Driver onto the upward side of the top of the ladder. Mark suplexes Generico and puts a ladder on top of him. Mark does a shooting star press onto the ladder. Jay legdrops Steen through the timekeeper’s table. Mark has his fingers touching the belts when Generico knocks the ladder out from him. Jay calls for the much taller maintenance ladder in the crowd. Some kind fans bring the ladder to him. The Briscoes set up the ladder. Mark dives through the ladder to give Generico a Doomsday Device. Steen slams a ladder into both Briscoes’ faces. He sets up the ladder on the rung of the maintenance ladder and the second turnbuckle. Mark superkicks Steen twice. Mark begins to climb the ladder. Steen follows him up and delivers a Package Piledriver through the ladder he set up! Generico climbs up the ladder. Jay throws a ladder at Generico when Generico has his hands on the belts. He too sets up a ladder between the maintenance’s ladders rung and the second turnbuckle (on the opposite side of the ring). Jay sends Generico through the ladder with a Jay Driller! Steen and Jay end up slugging it out on the top of the maintenance ladder. Jay punches Steen off and onto one of the crumpled ladders. Jay unhooks the belts for the win at 27:22.

What is there to say about this match that you haven’t heard? Heck, I’m sure most of you reading this have seen the match, likely multiple times. Ladder War is an extremely apt name as these four went absolutely nuts on one another. The violence and big moves escalated as the match progressed and the crowd reached its peak by the finish. There was no more satisfying way to end this violent feud and is must see viewing for any wrestling fan. ****½

ROH Tag Team Championship
Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin (Champions) vs. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)

“Final Battle 2011” – New York, NY – 12.17.2011

Haas and Benjamin attack the Briscoes with the title belts. They brawl out on the floor. Haas backdrops Jay twice onto the barricades. He and Benjamin do some damage with steel chairs. Benjamin sends both Briscoes into the barricades. They double team Jay as Mark recovers on the floor. Jay takes some chair shots right to the head, which busts him open and angers Nigel McGuinness on commentary. They botch the Broken Arrow, but still do damage to Jay’s back. Mark comes in and the bell officially rings. He tries to fight off Haas and Benjamin but gets taken down with a boot. They go for the Broken Arrow. Jay cuts off Benjamin with a superkick. Jay and Haas exchange forearms. Benjamin splashes Mark in the corner which hurts his injured ribs. Mark takes him down with a spear. The Briscoes double hip toss Benjamin out of the corner. Jay chokes Benjamin with his own shirt which exposes his injured ribs as well. Benjamin gives Jay a backdrop and tags out. Mark gets backdropped by Haas when he runs in. Haas then gives Jay an exploder powerslam for two. He puts on the Haas of Pain. Benjamin sees Mark coming off the top with the Froggy Bow, so he dives onto Haas to take the brunt of the attack onto his ribs. Haas fights off the Briscoes. He lifts Mark for the Angle Slam but Marl’s boot hits referee Paul Turner and knocks him down. Benjamin comes into the ring with a wooden board and cracks it over Mark’s head. However, the Briscoes pull it together and hit Haas with the Doomsday Device for the pin at 13:25. This was all over the place. Aside from Benjamin’s rib injury there was no cohesion or story to this match. The brawling before the match was a lot to take in and hurt the actual body of the match itself. It all lacked focus and just seemed like a bunch of stuff happened. Not a fan. *½

Bonus Match

The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) & Mike “Papa” Briscoe vs. The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli) & Shane Hagadorn
“Final Battle 2010” – New York, NY – 12.18.2010

Sara Del Rey is in the Kings and Hagadorn’s corner. Hero and Jay each get in a few chops. Jay huracanrana’s and leg lariats him for two. Mike gets in an overhand chop. Jay and Mark get in double shoulder tackles for two. Hagadorn accidentally overhand chops Hero. Mark knocks down Hero with a running knee strike. Claudio tags in. He accidentally hits his own teammates and gets double bieled out of the corner. The Kings double hip toss Jay into a tandem slam. Hagadorn arrogantly tags in to throw some strikes at Jay. They have little effect. Jay boots him down and tags in Mike. Mike puts the boots to him. Hagadorn tags in Claudio promptly. Mike headscissors him! Sara pulls Mike out of the ring to break the pin. Mike kisses her, which terrifies the Kings and Hagadorn. This also causes Sara to be ejected from ringside. The Kings and Hagadorn attack the Briscoes in their corner. They bring Mark to their side of the ring. He’s able to escape their grasp when he ducks Hero’s boot and tags in Jay. He dropkicks Claudio and gives Hero a Complete Shot to the corner. He then boots Hero for two. Hero stops his Death Valley Driver Attempt and hits the Cyclone Kick. Claudio pops him up for Swiss Death. When Jay kicks out, Claudio goes for the Ricola Bomb. Jay counters with the Death Valley Driver. Mark comes in with the Froggy Bow. Claudio kicks out. They knock each other down with simultaneous clotheslines. Mike and Hagadorn tag in. Hero holds Mike’s arms. Jay comes in and boots Hagadorn. The Briscoes take Hero and Claudio down. Hagadorn kicks Jay in the groin. Mike tackles Hagadorn and lays in some punches. Hagadorn slips out of the ring. Jay and Mark dive onto the Kings. Hagadorn grabs Mike’s foot to stop him from attempting a dive. Hero tags Mike with a rolling elbow back in the ring. The Kings set him up for the KRS-ONE. Jay spears Hero to stop them. Mike gives Claudio a stunner! Jay and Mike give Hagadorn the Doomsday Device for the pin at 15:49. This was a whole lot of fun given that one of the competitors was in their first match ever. It had a very different vibe to the other Kings/Briscoes matches but still was competitive. The fans loved everything Papa Briscoe did and it was feel good moment to see him get the win. ***¼

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