Friday, September 4, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Sept. 2

Hogan was a topic of conversation on Cheap Heat 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: Sept. 2, 2015
Run Time: 1:06:32
Guest: None

Summary: David Shoemaker, Peter Rosenberg and Stat Guy Greg are ready to break down the news of the week — the WWE Performance Center shooting, the Hulk Hogan Good Morning America interview, the Zahra Schreiber termination and the Bram arrest. Then they talk about tattoos a bit before a look at this week’s RAW, focusing on the road to Night Of Champions, the way the women were presented Monday, Xavier Woods’ hair and the Dolph Ziggler/Lana-Rusev/Summer Rae story, with time for a little diversion on the topic of the wrestling media and treatment by WWE.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “All of this is to say that in the pro wrestling world there’s a really fine line between, like, awesome stories about beating up fans at bars that make people seem like they’re the best wrestler ever and stories that make you, if you hear of them from a different angle, make you never want to talk to these people again, or hear ’em or see ’em on your TV.”

Why you should listen: Like your Cheap Heat blended with a shot or two of TMZ? Here you go. After the guys recorded a special episode on the Hogan news early last month, it’s only fair they follow up, and they’ve actually got some of the most pragmatic points on the topic, notably Shoemaker and Greg. The highlight of the week, however, was the frank discussion about what it means to be someone who covers wrestling in any capacity, perhaps because Rosenberg (chiefly) and Shoemaker (to the extent it was needed) dropped any pretense and spoke openly about their careers.

Why you should skip it: All the talk about the news outside the ring and there’s still no real mention of the Jimmy Snuka story, except Shoemaker’s note before the open to report that story broke after Cheap Heat was recorded. Rosenberg’s use of the sound board was more classless than usual. Shoemaker is far too kind on the Beat the Clock situation from Monday. The tattoo diversion was almost entirely pointless. For any insight that might have been useful on the Hogan development, the Schreiber discussion was about as ham-fisted as possible.

Final thoughts: If you want to focus on in-ring stuff, skip to first 31 or so minutes. I did appreciate what the guys attempted to do this week, and it’s fair to say ignoring those real-world stories would have been widely panned. It just didn’t always work out well because sometimes they still struggle with their individual and collective voices, such that what should be entertaining and informing commentary ends up being buddies just going, “Hey, did you hear about this?” which is pretty much what we all can do on social media without the Grantland imprimatur. When they fire on all cylinders it’s top shelf. But the track record still remains spotty.