Friday, November 7, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Nov. 5

Rusev was a big topic of discussion on the show this week
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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: Nov. 5, 2014
Run Time: 59:32
Guest: None

Summary: The show opens as David Shoemaker and Peter Rosenberg relive the excitement of being the only two bidders on a special eBay auction. That quickly leads to a discussion about RAW that includes tangents into the current and future state of the WWE Network, a lengthy look at Rusev and then talk about bleeding. Rosenberg plugs the paperback release of Shoemaker’s book, which opens up a chance to talk about Fabulous Moolah. They mention Sam Roberts launching a wrestling podcast and answer quick listener questions before ending with another mystery promo.

Quote of the week: “Fantasy would be Daniel Bryan comes back, starts working his way to the top, before he gets a shot at the title he gets the undefeated Rusev, makes him tap to the Yes Lock. And I know there are a lot of people out there who normally who are right now saying, ‘You know Rosenberg, I hate you, but that’s pretty damn good.’ And you’re right.”

Why you should listen: The guys are kind of all over the place this week — in a good way. They discuss only parts of RAW, which saves the episode being a forced slog through a three-day old show. The talk about bleeding, Rusev’s heel nature and Shoemaker’s book allow the Masked Man to bring his A game, a deep knowledge of wrestling history and especially the way stories have been told in the ring throughout generations. Rosenberg’s opinions seem somewhat more nuanced than usual, and despite the scattershot nature of topics, the variety of segments gives this episode a favorable pace bordering on frenetic.

Why you should skip it: This is not a comprehensive look at the Nov. 3 Raw or an in-depth preview of Survivor Series. There are a couple of minor spoilers some people may wish to avoid, though the guys do give a bit of warning for each one. If you’re staunchly anti-Jim Ross, you won’t like the fact his Rusev blog post is a talking point, and for other folks any talk of the dollars-and-cents side of the WWE business is an absolute turnoff.

Final thoughts: It might be faint praise to say this is my favorite Cheap Heat in a long while, but they made a wise choice in trying to move the discussion along briskly and specifically in not focusing too heavily on RAW. Though the show actually was a decent effort this week, Cheap Heat needs to be much more than a WWE recap hour in order to remain worthwhile. The bleeding tangent and the listener question about Dean Ambrose’s new finishing move that spun into a quick analysis of the RKO vs. the Stone Cold Stunner is an example of how the guys can tap into their strengths to spin topical developments into compelling audio. The former seemed to be the product of a welcome bit of preshow planning; the latter revealed the professional radio skills Rosenberg clearly possesses but often self-obscures with his forced personality. This episode is by no means a must listen, but it does resemble the early episodes that helped attract listeners in the first place and a rough template the hosts should consider following as a means to prolonged relevance.