Friday, April 10, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat, April 8

Lots of Reigns chat on Cheap Heat
Photo Credit:
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: April 8, 2015
Run Time: 1:02:03
Guest: None

Summary: David Shoemaker and Peter Rosenberg are in studio this week. They open by discussing AJ Lee’s retirement and the WWE Divas division. The next topic is Byron Saxton and the WWE announcing crew. They touch on the John Cena/Chris Jericho WWE Network interview before looking at Cena’s so-called “Redemption Tour.” Speaking of Raw, there are thoughts about Neville, the New Day and Roman Reigns before ending with a call for WWE to co-opt CBS’ “One Shining Moment” tradition.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “JBL, I thought, was great on Monday. And I think you’re right, I think it was that he is maybe too comfortable with (Michael) Cole, that they just end up goofing off together a lot. Also I think that on Monday night you could tell that he had a vested interest in having that announce team succeed, not in like some underhanded way like he wants Byron to take Cole’s job, but, you know, it’s on him if it comes off terribly.”

Why you should listen: With WrestleMania over, most of the other podcasts in my rotation have moved quickly away from the weekly WWE product. So whereas Cheap Heat can tend to feel stale by discussing Monday’s RAW on a Wednesday podcast, here it comes across as a more sincere dedication to carry on with the hardcore fan through the coming lull. Only it’s better than that because it’s not the usual “What happened on Monday?” recap banter and more of what Cheap Heat should be, a look at the larger creative direction, what the influences might or should be and added layers of perspective to something we all watched more or less together.

Why you should skip it: OK, this episode might be all that, but it’s not the best possible version of all that. There’s the usual wandering off topic, the forgetting of what seemingly should be common knowledge (Christian hosted The Peep Show dammit), the self-congratulations (here vis-à-vis the subtle New Day development) and not going deep enough on certain topics in favor of trying to spray to all fields.

Final thoughts: In a world of 140-minute Ross Reports and like three hours of Steve Austin shooting the breeze with his wife, a tightly-packed, timely Cheap Heat offers a pleasant alternative. There still are times when the dialogue is little more than what you and your wrestling buds have already covered (“What is the deal with making Cesaro and Neville drop their first names?”), but when the guys rise above the pedantry they can inform opinion or simply inspire new avenues of thought about familiar subjects. This episode had more than a few glimpses of what “Cheap Heat” ought to be, and if you’re willing to sit through the lulls, it’s not a bad way to burn an hour.