Friday, January 23, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Jan. 22

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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: Jan. 21, 2015
Run Time: 1:20:00
Guest: None

Summary: At the start of the show, Peter Rosenberg starts telling cohost David Shoemaker about Twitter happenings, which leads to a lengthy breakdown — and in some cases outright blasting — of the current wrestling podcast scene. Eventually they start talking about RAW (with a diversion to important feelings about candy) and look ahead to the Royal Rumble and then WrestleMania. They end taking listener questions, including one about if a woman will ever be WWE Champion.

Quote of the week: Rosenberg - "It would be nice if some of the wrestlers who do podcasts would take a couple of lessons, or ask for some words of advice, before starting their podcasts because lord they’d be offended if you stepped into the ring without learning the wrestling business. You’re talking about a group of people who are so high and mighty about paying dues … as anyone in any business that’s ever lived."

Why you should listen: Primarily if you need help getting hyped for the Rumble. I’m clearly biased, since the Rumble reliably is my favorite hour of the wrestling year, but my excitement had been lagging a bit this January until the last few days, and this show helped much more than RAW itself. The podcast talk at the outset is fairly enlightening if you can cut through the attitude and clear conflict of interest, and I especially enjoyed Shoemakers indirect plug for this very feature.

Why you should skip it: There’s a good chance listening to Rosenberg’s criticism (some of it constructive) of current wrestling podcasts will sound to some like nothing more than the pot addressing the kettle. As is almost always the case, I’m wagering Shoemaker’s Grantland Rumble preview will be far more insightful than what he’s able to contribute in this medium. And at 80 minutes, it’s impossible to argue every minute of this episode is essential.

Final thoughts: Give the guys credit for this; they’re openly acknowledging both what their critics consistently tell them as well as being frank about the seriousness with which any audience should receive a podcast. I hopefully am not coming across as caring a disproportionate amount about what ids said on this or any show. Will you enjoy the Rumble without listening? Absolutely. Is it possible they’ll make you think new thoughts about the short-term plans for major WWE stories? Yeah, it is. But as with most guest-free Cheap Heat episodes, the strength of this offering rests solely on the chemistry between the hosts. If either one or both generally rankles your sensibilities, take a pass.