Jonathan Richie BW.tif

The Richie boys grew up outside of Milwaukee and we very well could have been a gang in the early 2000s. We ran roughshod over the suburbs for many years.

Our lineup included my brothers Matthew, two years older, and Joshua, two years younger, with yours truly in the middle.

I’ve got a lot of stories of our gang from those days, but I’d like to focus on this one after watching the WWE Royal Rumble Sunday night.

We didn’t grow up in a house full of screens. We had a pair of tube TVs and did not get cable, have internet or video game consoles.

I have used this space in the past to mention my athleticism; varsity wrestler, little league baseball phenom and mediocre offensive lineman. You also know of my affinity for professional wrestling. Those two would often intersect with my brothers in our house growing up.

It appears our parents in lieu of technology they wanted us to play outside. It sounds crazy now, but things were different 20 years ago.

Team sports are difficult with three so we would adjust by having someone always on offense. Most of the time we would end up just putting shin pads on Joshua and forcing him to be goalie in driveway hockey. He was pretty safe.

Now, three boys between the ages of 6 and 12 are never emotionally stable for an extended period of time. So when we hated each other, we would wrestle.

The goal was always the same – give your brother a concussion.

Obviously, we did not know that was our intent at the time. The intent was to cause each other as much pain as possible. Size was always an issue because none of us were ever in the same weight class, Matthew and I were quite rotund growing up and Josh has always had a stick figure.

One time Joshua and I were wrestling when I accidentally slammed him into the window. I tried to slam him into the bed but missed by a little.

And that’s how I broke a window in our bedroom. Oh, and Joshua was fine – no internal or external injuries, emotional scars, yes, but nothing that Mom would immediately notice.

We also watched wrestling on TV. I was a fan of WWE Monday Night Raw and Matthew liked WCW Monday Nitro. This is known as the Monday night wars in sports entertainment. However, we did not have cable, so we would have to watch the syndicated edition or weekly recap Saturday mornings.

Recently, I stumbled upon some old pro wrestling videos on YouTube and got lost in those. When I say stumbled, I mean I spent an embarrassing amount of Friday afternoon and evening watching old matches from 1997-2002.

This leads me to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Network which has almost all televised wrestling events dating back to the 1980s.

So now, I’ve got something to watch on TV for the rest of the winter.

There is no life lesson here, it’s just a set up for columns in the future on the Richie Bros. gang.