Wednesday, September 23, 2015

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

This week's episode was heavy on Night of Champions talk
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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. 22, 2015 (“Laying the Smark Down”)
Run Time: 1:13:29
Guest: None

Summary: Peter Rosenberg, David Shoemaker and Stat Guy Greg open up by figuring out when WWE made its Hell In A Cell announcement, revisiting the Sting injury, bemoaning the spate of fan run-ins and contextualizing the successes of various wrestling families. Greg rips on John Cena for attacking Seth Rollins after their US Title match, and Shoemaker rails on the booking of Night Of Champions as a traditional show. Rosenberg floats a Carlito rumor, then discussion of JBL’s new Network show leads into thoughts about the overproduction of talent. For some reason there’s talk of country radio and the Dallas Cowboys, before Shoemaker mentions his idea for postmodern WWE cartoons. After another diversion into TV shows and documentaries, they end by looking at how Sheamus is portrayed as Money In The Bank winner.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “Maybe they’re just gonna, kind of, decide to coast with the crowd reaction to them, but when you’re getting ‘You Look Stupid’ chants, I don’t think the reaction is to make a guy look stupid. Like figuratively stupid. … He’s like the Andy Reid of wrestlers. Like, he’s got the physical — he’s got the tools, but then he’s just terrible at clock management, like he just can’t figure out how to make this handoff of the briefcase work in a good way.”

Why you should listen: If a post-PPV podcast isn’t going to go match-by-match through a card, then it’s best to adopt a big-picture strategy, discussing what the show accomplished creatively and where it fits in the overall narrative. By and large, that’s what happened here. Further, the guys ask decent questions about the timing and promotion of WWE’s October schedule and, if it isn’t said enough, Greg has settled nicely into his role and represents a positive shift in the tone of the show, perhaps mostly by giving Rosenberg a different person to address.

Why you should skip it: When Cheap Heat clocks in at 73 minutes, there’s a good chance listeners can pick the point(s) where it goes off the rails. Here it’s about an hour in, shortly after Rosenberg makes the conversation about himself and his career. Beyond that, aside from Shoemaker’s fair criticism of the gap between how Night Of Champions was built and how it delivered, almost all of this episode is little more than fan banter.

Final thoughts: Cheap Heat often makes me consider why I’m taking time to listen to the show. Like Jim Ross, Colt Cabana and Steve Austin, Shoemaker clearly has established credentials justifying his space behind the microphone. But he’s a far better writer than a talker, and if Rosenberg isn’t able to use his professional speaking skills to elevate Shoemaker’s verbal contributions, then the entire exercise becomes a vanity project. In other words, if you don’t really have anything to say, then why are you taking 73 minutes to say it?