It is often talked about a wrestler having an unexplainable IT factor or a young talent being a potential diamond in the rough and Josh Briggs is one of those talents in my opinion.
Now, Josh Briggs may be considered an unexpected potential diamond to some fans and others may not consider him a potential diamond at all. I fully get that some fans may not see the potential of Josh Briggs, however, as someone that has followed his career prior to NXT 2.0, he consistently reminds me of a certain WWE HOFamer, JBL’s early career, look and style.
The rough and tough big man brawler is a unique style that doesn’t get the buzz like talents that rely on high flying or death-defying dive spots, or even technical grappling does. We all know that wrestling is scripted and pre-determined, but wrestlers that look of a wrestler is crucial.
A talent that looks like a legitimate tough guy that could realistically handle himself in a real fight is crucial from a believability standpoint. That is not to say there isn’t a place in wrestling for comedy or gimmick talent like a Danhausen or Orange Cassidy, but the talent that you want as your world champion or face of the company should be someone that has the look of believability. There is a reason guys like the Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Ron Simmons, Haku, Harley Race and Andre the Giant, were so revered both in and out of the ring, because they all had believability that if someone tried to mess with them in a bar, they could legitimately handle themselves in a fight and that helps protect their reputations. the company and the business as a whole.
Long before JBL became the JBL above, his look and style was of a good old boy from Texas that liked to drink beer and beat people up. From his early days in the WWF, Bradshaw portrayed someone that was not someone to mess with.
At 6’8, Josh Briggs is a tower of a man, and his look and style in the ring during his independent run is very similar to Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw from 1995 WWF. Josh was literally born a little less than a year after Bradshaw made his pro wrestling debut in 1992. As I stated his in-ring style and the hard-hitting way he delivers the moves are incredibly similar to how Bradshaw delivered these moves:
Just the sheer force and power that is displayed with which he delivers his clotheslines and big boots for example make a statement in the ring. It adds a believability and credibility that he is a powerhouse in that ring and shouldn’t be taken lightly by anybody. It is also a sign of a great credible worker that he can deliver these high impact moves safely without seriously injuring his opponents.
My first exposure to Josh Briggs was during the tail end of Evolve and not to sound arrogant or anything, but after watching wrestling since 1998, I feel like I have a pretty good eye for which talents have that IT factor to legitimately make it in this business and Josh was one of those talents from the first time I saw him, I knew he was going to be something special in this business. He was an athletic big man that had raw potential and with the right guidance and opportunities he was someone that I felt could catch on and make a lot of money in this business.
It is not about how many times you get hit and fall down, but it is about fighting to get back up and showing the world you have the heart and passion to overcome it. Josh Briggs showed that when he dislocated his hip during a match and despite the insane amount of pain he was in, he somehow finished the match. He fought his way back from that injury and not only earned the respect of the fans and the peers, but he also earned the top spot in Evolve as he would go on to win the Evolve Championship.
Speaking of earning respect from his peers, legendary wrestler, PCO, who was having his last independent match before signing an exclusive deal with ROH in 2019, handpicked Josh as his final opponent. PCO stated to Slamwrestling, ““I love working with Josh, he is a big man full of talent.”
With the reboot of NXT, there were a few talents that stood out to me as potential big stars, as I previously wrote about the team of Briggs and Jensen, were some of the talents that truly stood out for me. I wasn’t familiar with Jensen at all, but as I have said, I’ve been following Briggs’ career for a while. Josh had a new look, cutting his hair and being paired with Jensen in a tough guy team similar to Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch, Beer Money, Kronik and the APA. As a team they have just absolutely gelled, and their chemistry has been there from the beginning. Chemistry with a tag partner is not something that teams can be taught. It can be instantaneous or develop over time, but Briggs and Jensen had it pretty much immediately.
Much like the APA, Briggs and Jensen are a team that rely on power and impact and just like Ron Simmons and JBL, you feel the real-life connection and trust that Briggs and Jensen have for each other. They display their chemistry in the ring as a team every time they are out there and there is no mailing it in from them, they have a real passion for the business. You get the sense that they are not only serious about making it in this business, but that they are having fun out there.
To me they are the best tag team to come out of NXT 2.0 by far and I’m surprised that they haven’t won NXT Tag Team gold yet, but they could not be denied gold. On the June 23, 2002, episode of NXT UK, they competed in a 4-way elimination match for the vacant NXT UK Tag Team Championship defeating Die Familie, Mark Andrews & Wild Boar and Dave Mastiff & Jack Starz to win their first taste of gold as a team.
As a team the sky is the limit for them as they are probably one of the best new tag teams in the business today. Fallon Henley at their side as a female manager is a great addition to this already great team. So, this may be their first taste of tag team gold, but it likely won’t be their last. This is a team that WWE should get behind as a team of the future for the main roster that the division can be anchored around. It goes without delving too deep into it, but the WWE tag team division is lacking and fresh blood like Briggs and Jensen could certainly help the division as a whole.
However, I personally don’t think Briggs will remain a tag team guy his whole career and will eventually pursue a singles career. Of the two, I think Briggs is the most likely to turn heel and do the traditional betraying his tag partner and attacking him. Josh is an absolute monster sized talent and him as a heel with a manager could be a great combination and could help launch his career as a monster heel.
I think growing the hair back out and being a bully like heel taking advantage of all the talent he towers over could really help elevate him to start a singles run. Josh has all the raw talent and ability to make it to the top of this business. If he continues to develop and is able to continue to impress in the ring, there is no telling how far he can go. JBL surprised a lot of people when he pursued a singles run and Josh Briggs can do the same thing.
Even if you don’t see what I see in Josh Briggs now, all I ask is that you keep an open mind, because he could really surprise you in the next few years if given the opportunities and he is able to deliver on those opportunities. Josh has the skills and tools in this business to match and/or exceed what JBL achieved in this business. It is time to just sit back and watch what Josh can achieve in this business as he hasn’t even turned 30 yet and he has the prime of his career ahead of him.
Photo Credits – WWE & WWN