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Cup of coffee in the big time: Sharing a love of wrestling with kids, even when it breaks their heart

Brent Brookhouse

When I was a kid, I pinned Andre The Giant.

I dropped the big leg on him and covered him for the 1, 2, 3.

Right there.

At WrestleMania.

In my living room.

Wrestling was a big part of my life when I was a kid. My family moved around a lot. We were plenty happy and others have certainly struggled a lot more than we did.

Moving meant having to make new friends. Sometimes, that was easy. Others, not so much.

But, I had my constants. A weird mish-mash of wrestling magazines collected from various stores and gas stations along our travels, my LJN WWF Wrestling Superstars action figures with Sling ‘Em - Fling ‘Em ring and a stack of VHS tapes that had recorded episodes of WWF TV shows.

Even once life had settled down for my family and we were no longer on the move as much, my weekends consisted of building couch forts with my dad where we’d stay up late and watch WWF, American Gladiators and sometimes GLOW made an appearance.

Inevitably, things would break down into me in the role of Hulk Hogan or Ricky Steamboat or Randy Savage while my dad would body slam me as Andre The Giant, Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy or Ted Dibiase.

Those times — along with going to a house show at Rosemont Horizon where I suffered a near panic attack at the idea Jake Roberts’ snake may get loose in the arena — define my childhood.

I have two children of my own now: a 5-year-old and an 8-week-old, both girls. I also have a step-son, but he came with wrestling pre-loaded, the kid even helped me interview Dijak for the feature video on his last night in Beyond.

I am probably more well-off than my dad was at this stage. It’s hard for me to really know, because the guy made sure I felt like I had everything I could ever need. And I have no real desire to talk to him about it now. What good is a “How was the family financially when I was four?” conversation now that I’m 35?

My love of wrestling becoming something that keeps my family fed and in a home is directly traceable to that time in my childhood.

It’s something I’m now sharing with my oldest daughter. Kids having the need to glom on to whatever their parents are watching if it means they’re allowed a bit more TV time is likely how it started. But the bright colors, big personalities and easy to understand stories of good and evil are made for the young.

That women have become a huge part of the show has proven a tremendous boost to the girl’s interest. Our dog is named Sasha Barks, her Daniel Bryan action figure is married to one of her Barbies — the other ones are all married to The Flash, whose speed I assume makes life with eight wives much easier — I’ve taken the kids to Beyond and PROGRESS shows and introduced them to wrestlers (as pictured above), and PPV Sundays used to be filled with anticipation of the action that was on the way.

I say “used to” because the complete lack of women at Greatest Royal Rumble months back made her sad and she stopped watching once she broke my heart asking, “What’s wrong with being a girl?”

Greatest Royal Rumble took something from her love of wrestling and it’s only started to come back a bit after Money in the Bank, when there was plenty of women’s action driving the show.

When I was a younger — and much more stupid — man, I didn’t realize the importance of women’s wrestling ever mattering. It didn’t take having a daughter to realize I was wrong, but boy did that moment of WWE’s money grab over caring about equitable treatment of women ever drive the point home.

And now, as long as my kids want to and WWE doesn’t chase them off, I get to share the love of the stupid, silly, often terrible, absolutely wonderful thing that is wrestling.

Hope you all had a great 4th and saw lots of fireworks!

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