Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Dec. 19

Mick Foley is on the show this week to discuss his Santa doc
Photo Credit: WWE.com
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: Dec. 19, 2014
Run Time: 1:14:34
Guest: Mick Foley, Tommy Avallone

Summary: Mick Foley and “I Am Santa Claus” director Tommy Avallone are in studio with Shoemaker and Rosenberg this week. They spend a good while discussing the documentary and explaining what Santa and wrestlers have in common. That spins into a discussion about the recent ascendance of NXT and then the role of announcers in WWE. Looking at Foley’s career, they discuss his boiler room brawl fights, various rifts and returns to WWE, the generosity of the Undertaker that enabled Foley’s rise to elite status and working with all the McMahons.

Quote of the week: Foley: “I’m convinced that wrestling, at its purest, is all about forgiveness. The only reason we have these damaging moments is so we can heal, with Vince as the ultimate father figure.”

Why you should listen: Foley is great here, which I suppose is to be expected. You’ll learn a lot more about his movie than you did from his spot on “The Daily Show.” We’re finally getting discussion about NXT being great beyond people saying “NXT is great.” Shoemaker and even Rosenberg ask thoughtful questions about Foley’s career befitting of their expertise, which is to say they realize there’s more to discuss than Hell in a Cell and the loss of his ear. If you can take Foley at his word, he’s got some interesting stories about the various times there’s been tension between him and WWE brass.

Why you should skip it: Well, it’s Foley. Even though the hosts ask questions typical interviewers don’t, he’s still among the most exposed figures in modern wrestling history. He’s on good terms with WWE right now, and for many folks that means taking anything he says with a McMahon-flavored grain of salt. Further, if you’ve got zero interest in his documentary, you’ll want to skip about the first 30 minutes.

Final thoughts: As far as Cheap Heat goes, this was a solid effort. Perhaps Foley’s starpower helped put Rosenberg’s shtick in check, but it’s nice to occasionally be reminded he’s not always bad at his gig. I am generally more forgiving of Foley than most, but even so I found him here to be refreshingly distant from his usual approach. When he’s not faced with a host trying to prove his or her own fandom, and when he’s not on live TV in a packed arena, and when he’s not yukking it up with an old pal like Austin or JR, the interview comes off as the type of conversation I might like to have with him, provided I could get over being starstruck. Cheap Heat needs to be much more than a RAW review podcast, and this episode is a great step in that direction.