Friday, May 22, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Ep. May 20

The Cheap Heat lads discuss Owens' debut on RAW and more
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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: May 20, 2015
Run Time: 55:32
Guest: None

Summary: Peter Rosenberg is back in the studio this week with David Shoemaker. After some initial small talk and ribbing of third banana Stat Guy Greg, the guys talk about Kevin Owens’ RAW debut and the future of NXT. In discussing Payback they highlight Dean Ambrose, the Divas and tag team divisions and Damien Sandow. There’s a bit of a look ahead to Elimination Chamber before the last few minutes during which Rosenberg promotes an upcoming legends show at Citi Field in New York.

Quote of the week: Regarding the Owens-John Cena RAW segment:

Rosenberg: “Is there reason for concern that, in vintage WWE fashion, they will get overexcited with this new toy and ruin precisely what makes NXT so cool?”

Shoemaker: “Yes. That was my post-euphoria, that was all I could think about kind of making notes for what we were going to talk about here today. If you wanted to make, if you wanted to have a hot take, you know, if I was going to be wrestling Skip Bayless right now, my argument would be ‘Sorry wrestling nerds, this is the end of NXT. Like, it’s just done now.’ Vince has signed off on it.”

Why you should listen: If NXT is your favorite part of wrestling today, the Owens/NXT discussion is, if not essential, absolutely entertaining. They guys do a great job contextualizing how amazing the last six months have been and have a good handle on how the NXT/main roster dynamic could change. Despite Rosenberg’s initial onslaught, Stat Guy Greg actually is a decent addition, if only because he seems to naturally soften some of Rosenberg’s harder edges. Also, there is justifiable criticism for Sandow’s current Randy Savage knockoff performance.

Why you should skip it: Like Wednesday’s Ross Report, this also was not the comprehensive Payback review I’ve been pining to hear. For a show that dropped Wednesday afternoon it’s inexcusable to discuss NXT without looking ahead in any fashion to that night’s Takeover special. And although the guys openly acknowledge they’re somewhat uncomfortable having this discussion, that doesn’t make the comparative hotness of WWE Divas any more tolerable.

Final thoughts: I’m inclined to give the guys a bit of a pass here. Nothing at Payback was as significant as Owens’ confrontation with John Cena. And Elimination Chamber is approaching so quickly even WWE moved on, seemingly as Payback was happening. Cheap Heat still would benefit from more pre-planning on the part of the hosts, or at least a more concrete idea of what the show is supposed to be from week to week, but given how hard they went with excitement at the outset, I can’t come away with too many bad vibes.