Friday, March 13, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat w/Chris Hero

Hero takes a visit to the Cheap Heat studios 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: March 11, 2015
Run Time: 1:15:15
Guest: Chris Hero

Summary: Peter Rosenberg and David Shoemaker are back in studio with huge Cheap Heat fan (no joke) Chris Hero. They start with the elephant in the room, discussing Bill DeMott’s up-and-down career behind the scenes at WWE and NXT. Eventually they transition into discussing Hero’s own experience as a developmental talent and his current career aspirations. They remember classic Tuesday Night Titans moments before Hero shares stories about John Cena, reflects on life on the independent scene, discusses who might be the next breakout stars, explains his consulting business and briefly shares his expectations for WrestleMania 31.

Quote of the week: “I see all my peers on there, whenever any of my friends, whether it’s a New Japan show or NXT or on Raw, it feels like there’s a part of me out there with these guys and I remember all the stuff I’ve done with them. … It’s always a good feeling to see those guys, from Luke Harper to Seth Rollins to Cesaro, all those guys, it’s just awesome. It’s vicarious. I can do my thing, and I can still see a little bit of myself out there with them.”

Why you should listen: So many reasons. Hero is a great interview subject at any time, but the timeliness with regards to the DeMott situation is superb. His ability to be frank about his WWE experience while retaining his almost preternatural optimism makes it possible to listen without searching for ulterior motives. The hosts do a great job of managing the flow of the conversation, weaving in current WWE stories while letting Hero be the focal point and yet still producing an episode that will be a worthy listen weeks and months down the road.

Why you should skip it: So few reasons. You might slap your forehead during the few moments where no one can remember the Stardust-Goldust match at Fast Lane. You might be frustrated Hero isn’t pressed to do a line-item review of the DeMott allegations. You might be in the miniscule percentage of folks who miss Rosenberg’s heel schtick. You might not want to hear how good a guy John Cena really is (spoiler alert: it’s really hard to hate the man no matter your feelings on the character). Or maybe you just don’t want to be sad about the fact Chris Hero is nowhere near a WrestleMania card he could be helping to headline.

Final thoughts: When Cheap Heat is good, it’s really, really good. This is one of those weeks. You take Rosenberg’s inarguably excellent skills as an interviewer, mix them with Shoemaker’s unique brand of wrestling perspective and throw in an articulate guest with a compelling story and you’ve got 75 minutes of audio that blows away most everything else in the wrestling podcast genre. The most frustrating thing about this particular episode is wishing it could be this good every week.