The Thread Count: A Fashionable History of Wrestling Hillbillies

By: 07.10.14  •  49 Comments

The Briscoe Brothers

The Briscoes are…problematic. It’s really easy to look at Ring of Honor and pick out all of the horrible things about it: the misogyny, the racism, the homophobia – and those are just the faces. Big picture it’s really just kind of a miserable cesspool of negativity and things that are the opposite of what I enjoy in a wrestling promotion. Jay’s constant (and sometimes violent) anti-LGBTQ sentiments on Twitter are sad and embarrassing as a representative of wrestling. Despite all of this, I would be remiss if I skipped over the Briscoes in this feature.

The Briscoes kind of straddle the line discussed in the beginning. While not completely isolated from the rest of the world (though their conservative views make you wonder), at the end of the day Dem Boys are chicken farmers from Slower Lower, their wrestling bred in a backyard, their bodies clad in more Confederate flags and camo than a truck I saw once saw in Kentucky near the Creation Museum. It took a long time to understand the appeal of the Briscoes, given that the “Man Up” attitude and (what a polite person would refer to as) “authenticity” their personas carry is very much not for me. Cosby Sweater Mark Briscoe trying to sell his teeth made it a little clearer. Cutoff t-shirt Mark Briscoe doing the weather and struggling to pronounce the word “lightenening” constantly makes me wish that authenticity wasn’t just “conservative redneck asshole.”

The only time something feels forced or put upon are those pictures of them in full-on Confederate gear (pictured above). The rest of them time, what is, in fact, completely effortless, is what speaks volumes about who they are as people, but to the extension of their full-blown wrestling personas as well. For instance, Winter-variant Briscoes:

Mark’s beard and shaggy hair combo make him look like a confused gibbon, but also make him an absolute joy to screencap. Off the rails, sent home to the chicken farm, Adam Cole-hating Jay Briscoe? Maybe less-so:

The important takeaway from this is that after being stripped of the his ROH World Title, Mark went kind of crazy and decided to make his own belt, seeing as he was the true champion because he had never been defeated. Unlike Jeff Hardy’s terrifying TNA belts that maybe also look like off-brand Diva’s titles, this is about as Briscoe a belt can get without becoming sentient and threatening to murder people who teach that being gay is okay.

The less important takeaway is that authenticity also leads to me spending too much time trying to get a screenshot that doesn’t include a great big pile of chicken carcasses. I wonder how they feel about vegan bloggers…

The Killbillies

The Killbillies wrestle out of CWF Mid-Atlantic, which you may know as any one of the following:

– The place with all the flags
– Where Trevor Lee and his weirdo beard wrestle
– The place Chiva Kid wrestled before he took off his mask and everybody stopped caring
Where hating Cookout gets you the most heat ever

If the Briscoes straddle it, the Killbillies fall strictly on the other side of that line. If their name didn’t contain -illbillies, they would have been deemed rednecks and tossed into a future column with the barbecue sauce guy from NXT and Stone Cold or whomever. The funny thing about the Killbilies is that where the Briscoes can wear flannel and cutoff everythings and it appears effortless, the sleeveless flannel and worn-in trucker hats seems much more contrived – an affectation of the gimmick rather than someone whose shirt has 100% come into contact with chicken poop. But, while I feel they’d be more likely to run me over with a pickup truck on a run for more PBR than kidnap me away into a creepy backwoods murder cult, the flannel and ball chain necklaces fit the bill.

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