Friday, October 10, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat, Oct. 9

The guys talk about the logistics of intergender wrestling this week
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: Cheap Heat
Episode: Oct. 9, 2014
Run Time: 50:17
Guest: None

Summary: Guess who went to RAW in Brooklyn? Your Cheap Heat hosts David Shoemaker and Peter Rosenberg, that’s who. The boys recount their experience, then talk about the Hell in a Cell card and the three former members of the Shield before answering listener questions about, among other topics, Brock Lesnar’s title defense schedule, intergender matches, the TV-14 option and Dean Ambrose’s dalliance with the hot dog stand. They end with a new bit in which Shoemaker reads an excerpt from a famous promo and invites listeners to tweet guesses as to the speaker.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker on men wrestling women: “On an indie scale, it works better. But put in the hands, to be plain, putting in the hands of WWE to promote that kind of match is not going to be necessarily some like breakthrough for women’s liberation. It just puts all of the men who would be in those matches in really untenable positions.”

Why you should listen: There’s something to said for hearing about a show you watched on TV from someone (intelligent) who attended in person. It forces thought about the nature of WWE as a TV product first, albeit one that relies on a live audience to create a compelling scene. Shoemaker gets a chance to drop the names of several prominent non-WWE female wrestlers, surely a Cheap Heat first. The kayfabe questions are getting more useful in terms of generating good dialogue. And Rosenberg seems to have a better handle on how often he can “heel up” without ruining a show.

Why you should skip it: The guys were pretty excited about being present for The Rock’s surprise appearance. If you didn’t enjoy that segment, you won’t enjoy reliving it on the show. The discussion about intergender matches was far too superficial, as no one even brought up the suspension of disbelief required to appreciate a Rey Mysterio vs. Big Show contest. Also, you might just get frustrated hearing Rosenberg crow about the celebrity treatment that got him second-row seats, which he clearly did not use to enjoy the entire RAW taping.

Final thoughts: The guys announced next week’s episode will feature an in-studio visit from Chris Jericho, as well as the return of a discussion about something to watch on WWE Network and a second week of the guess the promo game. Those are welcome developments, as Cheap Heat has proven to thrive with structure — or perhaps the counter is true and it just struggles in free form. Regardless, the strength of this episode is the invoking of the live fan experience. If that doesn’t generate interest, then take a pass.