I’ve discovered something interesting in Cambodia. There is a channel dedicated to professional wrestling. At first, I thought it was a sponsored WWE channel, but after a few disjointed cuts between episodes, I realized it’s a guy with a recorded-from-TV DVD collection that would make my brother jealous. I know this because occasionally the channel changes to a DVD manufacturer screen saver with a ‘stop’ icon in the corner, followed by ‘play’ and more WWE action. Some of the episodes are of questionable quality up-to-and-including DVD artifacting. It’s hilarious.

24 hours a day, this channel broadcasts random episodes of RAW and Smackdown in one hour increments…it’s frustrating to watch the first half of a RAW only to have it rudely interrupted by some other random first-or-second half of RAW or Smackdown. I’ve seen matches as far back as 2002 and as recent as a few weeks ago. I just listened to Stephanie McMahon (not Helmsley) berate Stone Cold for stunning her whole family on RAW after seeing Jeff Hardy defend his championship against CM Punk on Smackdown.

Given such a snapshot of weekly wrestling history, I’ve realized several things.

1. I may never stop enjoying professional wrestling.
2. WWE has produced some really terrible shows over the years.
3. The current WWE product is rather amazing.

I don’t know who all out there still watches on a regular or semi-regular basis, but I haven’t watched for years. I was extremely surprised to see that Jeff Hardy held the World Heavyweight Championship, and he seems to defend it regularly and competes well. There is a host of new names on both rosters and everyone has put together some really fantastic matches, some of even PPV quality. There seems to be a greater focus on in-ring psychology and clean finishes and I haven’t seen any scuzzy ratings-grab type storylines or gimmicks. It has just been quality sports entertainment.

Last night this channel pulled a dirty trick: it aired the first half of the Eddie Guererro tribute RAW episode. Brought back many memories. Also, it was REALLY WEIRD to see Chris Benoit wrestling. For those who don’t know, this is a guy that later killed his wife, kids, and himself at his home. I don’t quite know how to feel about it. On one hand, this guy is a murderer and a coward for offing himself afterwards. But it was in the future and from all accounts he was a decent guy before this roid rage thing happened; is it wrong for me to appreciate his wrestling ability before this incident occurred?

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. In 2018 he published his first book, Lost Restaurants of Tulsa. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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