Friday, June 19, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat June 17

A solid block of Big Dust talk
Photo Credit: Pro Wrestling Illustrated via
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: June 17, 2015
Run Time: 1:20:45
Guest: None

Summary: David Shoemaker and Peter Rosenberg are in studio with third man Stat Guy Greg. They spend about half an hour discussing the death of Dusty Rhodes, then exhale and focus on Money In The Bank and the ensuing RAW, specifically the John Cena-Kevin Owens feud, the Divas Title match and the Seth Rollins-Dean Ambrose encounter. Interspersed are the Kayfabe Question of the Week and Lay the Smark Down before they circle back to Rhodes.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “The most important thing about Cena is he’s the wrestler that makes your favorite wrestlers matter. … I feel like Kevin Owns is now going to be the guy who makes all the other wrestlers have good matches. There’s no, like, Ric Flair coming over from WCW to make you want to go out and have a great match. There’s nothing like that anymore. But now it’s guys like Ziggler, I think, and Cena obviously, that get in the ring with Owens, and they’re just like, ‘Well, every wrestling nerd is going to be paying attention to this match. I need to go out there and just leave it all in the ring. Even a RAW match, we gotta go do it.’ ”

Why you should listen: The Rhodes memories are absolutely on point, and even Stat Guy Greg jumps in at opportune times with precocious insight. Rosenberg is a delightful presence this time around, and as Shoemaker is pretty much the expert on eulogizing wrestlers, he’s ideally suited for this moment. But even more so, the fact he’s so deeply when numbness would be understandable even further underscores the legacy of the American Dream. The MITB recap is welcome as well, and although they don’t discuss Lesnar as much as the episode description would seem to imply, Cheap Heat continues to do the best job of any of my shows at looking forward as opposed to just rehashing the immediate past.

Why you should skip it: Rhodes fatigue, if there is such a thing. The MITB recap is not exhaustive (they functionally ignored roughly half the card) and the look at Raw is almost entirely about what Owens said and did. And I could do without so often hearing Nikki Bella’s theme song.

Final thoughts: This was my favorite Cheap Heat in a good long while. Basically all the reasons this show should be good were on display. I don’t see any other wrestling podcast making the connection between Marc Mero’s TKO and Brock Lesnar’s F5, all through the lens of Sable, but it flowed seamlessly into the stream of conversation. It’s weird how I equate this Dusty Rhodes conversation to the Steve Austin-Jim Ross talk, considering the latter pair actually knew Rhodes well, but somehow I feel both conversations are quite helpful for grieving fans. Hopefully this momentum continues, and I’ll be darned if Stat Guy Greg is the new MVP of the wrestling podcast world simply by tweaking the dynamic between Shoemaker and Rosenberg for the better.