Friday, July 24, 2015

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

Bryan is the only part of Cheap Heat worth listening to this week
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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: July 22, 2015
Run Time: 1:18:22
Guest: Daniel Bryan (55:40)

Summary: Peter Rosenberg, David Shoemaker and Stat Guy Greg are in studio (without Rosenberg’s soundboard) looking at Battleground and RAW. They digest the Undertaker return, Kevin Owens and Cesaro, sidetrack to promote Trivia Slam and go back to the WWE women’s division before discussing if they’d rather take a Mark Henry splash or Big Show chest slap. They show the Miz some love, hear Greg’s corrections and revisit their Battleground party before welcoming Bryan, who is on a press tour for his new autobiography. Bryan talks about his real life highs and lows, his most recent injury, CM Punk and the evolution of WrestleMania XXX, tells some stories from book, analyzes his relationship with John Cena, how he tries to satisfying fans who followed him well before the WWE and more recent converts, shares why it’s hard for him to follow Brie’s career and how he feels about being on the shelf.

Quote of the week: Bryan: “Most people love their dads, are close with their fathers and stuff like that, so they understand. It happens to most of us at some point in our life. But it’s that rock bottom kind of feeling, where you’re like — I’ve always felt like a kid, right? Like what I do is very childish, right? You know, I’m a wrestler, I go out there in my spandex battle jammies, I do my sports entertaining and all that kind of stuff. I’ve always just felt like a child. And that moment that you realize, that like, ‘Hey, I don’t have my dad there anymore,’ it’s — it’s really tough.”

Why you should listen: To hear 25 minutes of frank talk from Daniel Bryan. Before that, Shoemaker has his usual sharp insights on the developments of the week, and without the soundboard Greg actually gets a chance to offer his own solid points. Anyone looking for optimism about the early indicators for SummerSlam will find it here. Bryan, of course, is fantastic. He demonstrates an excellent grasp of his place in the wrestling world, and it’s simply impossible not to root for the guy.

Why you should skip it: You really shouldn’t skip the Bryan stuff, but the rest is almost a complete afterthought. There’s really very little mention of what was a fairly significant pay-per-view, and if you’ve already read Shoemaker’s Grantland piece this week you know way more than what you’ll learn here. The guys are quite obviously stalling until Bryan gets to the studio, and nowhere is that more important than the riffing on the scene at the bar where they all watched Battleground. There’s easily 20 wasted minutes in the pre-Bryan show, and the remainder isn’t all that special.

Final thoughts: The best news of all is that when they finally get to Bryan, his book plugging seems secondary at most. It seemed he was relieved to find and island of understanding in the midst of the hectic promotional schedule. There’s nothing revelatory about his stint — especially since he’s giving dozens of widely available interviews these days — but having an A-list guest forces Rosenberg and Shoemaker to be on top of their game, and they absolutely are. It’s just a shame they bothered recording the rest of the episode.