There are a lot of big matches at Ring of Honor's professional wrestling pay-per-view event, "Glory by Honor," this Saturday night at the UNO Lakefront Arena, and one of the biggest features Hawx Aerie, a pair of hard-charging New Orleans pro wrestlers who are also the industry's only father-and-son tag team.
The father side of the team, Luke Hawx, has had a significant singles career. He's a veteran wrestler, the owner of local wrestling promotion WildKat Sports, and has graced the cover of Gambit. He's also been in big movies and TV shows, as an actor and stuntman, but he'd never focused on tag-team wrestling until he and his son PJ decided to team up a year or so ago.
In a Metairie middle-school gym, worlds away from Hollywood glitz, Luke Hawx is sweaty, grimy and bruised, held back by a dozen men nearly as …
Coordination and communication are key to tag-team wrestling. Many of the greatest tag teams in history have been sets of brothers, proving the uncanny bond of blood is an asset in the ring. One of the very best of those is the Briscoes, a pair of brutal backwoods chicken farmers whose savagery and athleticism have brought them victory, glory and championships for almost twenty years. These two hairy, violent maniacs hold the Ring of Honor tag-team titles, and they're putting their belts on the line this Saturday against hometown boys Luke and PJ Hawx.
Hawx Aerie may be a relatively new tag team, but they've had matches in Ring of Honor, Mexico's CMLL and Houston's Reality of Wrestling, where they already hold tag-team gold. Luke and his son are both tough guys, but they're undeniably underdogs up against the legendary Briscoe brothers.
"As far as proving ourselves as a tag team," Luke said, "this is the biggest platform we've been provided to date, and the Briscoes are a team we've always wanted to wrestle. This is one of those Holy Grail moments. They're one of the best tag teams on the scene, and I still don't think they get enough credit for how good they are. They're top-level athletes."
The Briscoes weren't quite as sportsmanlike in their remarks. "If I were Luke Hawx or his boy," Mark Briscoe said, "and I were given the option to take this beating they’re gonna get Saturday evening, or to stand out in front of a Mack truck driving 95 miles an hour down I-95... it would be a difficult decision to make.”
"That's the Briscoe attitude," Hawx said. "I'll say this: With my history of not getting opportunities I deserved because people were scared of me or intimidated by me, I respect the Briscoes for stepping up. Ring of Honor is their house — but their house is in our backyard, and they gotta pay rent."
Jay Briscoe didn't mince words. "I don’t care if we in their backyard," he said. "We the baddest tag team on earth, and if y’all want a fight, we'll fight.”
PJ. Hawx also spoke highly of the Briscoes. "After just two years as a pro wrestler and just over 60 matches," he said, "to face the Briscoes for their tag team titles is a huge opportunity. My mindset has been to train nonstop, doing everything I can in the gym to be ready."
I asked PJ if he was nervous about standing across the ring from the notoriously wild and violent Briscoes. "I respect them," he said. "I respect their accomplishments and how big this opportunity is, but if you let that respect turn into fear, you've defeated yourself. I have an amateur wrestling background, so I know winning is about mental attitude and technique, not who's bigger. They're 11-time World Tag-Team Champions, but me and my old man come to take heads."
Besides the Ring of Honor Tag Team Championships, Glory by Honor offers a stacked card. There will be the semifinals and finals of the ROH World Championship #1 Contender Tournament, the incredible Jonathan Gresham against the recently returned Alex Shelley, Angelina Love defending her Women's World Championship against Kelly Klein and a 15-man Battle Royal — the winner of which gets a shot at the ROH World Championship that night.
Belltime is 7 p.m.; tickets are still available, or you can get more information and watch online live.