Thursday, October 15, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Oct. 14

Rusev is a focal point in this week's Cheap Heat
Photo Credit:
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: “From Russia With Kayfabe” (Oct. 14, 2015)
Run Time: 54:44
Guest: None

Summary: The band is back together this week as Peter Rosenberg returns to the studio with David Shoemaker and Stat Guy Greg. The focus this week is almost entirely the most recent RAW, including the Lana/Rusev engagement, Kane’s main event dalliance, the Divas division, Kevin Owens and Neville. There’s a bit of talk about the upcoming Brock Lesnar/Undertaker match, another look at the Gary Hart book Rosenberg is slowly reading and Michael Cole’s dramatic body changes. Bringing other sports into the fold they consider how WWE fans would react to a female voice on commentary and Rosenberg puts Shoemaker on the spot regarding Greg Hardy. They end kicking around Sami Zayn’s EVOLVE appearance.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “There’s probably a larger argument to be made, but WWE, the hierarchy in wrestlers, it’s almost blurrier now than it’s ever been because instead of, like, Three Man Band, we have these high-profile NXT call-ups that haven’t found their niche yet. It’s good that (Neville’s) getting the screen time and that he’s a good wrestler, and even in kind of a squashy, losing effort, I would rather seem him there, but yeah, I mean, they’re not giving us any reason to care about him. I’m not even sure that’s feasible with the amount — obviously they could be doing a better job — we’ve been watching WWE for a long time It’s clear that they don’t have — they’re not going to be pushing 40 guys at once. They’re not going to be figuring out how to make everybody look good in every match.”

Why you should listen: This is a better episode of Cheap Heat than the RAW it followed, and the discussion of kayfabe fandom in a TMZ era at the outset was a decent exploration of how different people approach the same art. The exploration of the role of female announcers in the context of Jessica Mendoza’s work was both informed and reasonable, and actually shed some light on the world beyond the squared circle.

Why you should skip it: The major upside of Rosenberg’s return was to get his take on the live Madison Square Garden show, but his memory apparently doesn’t go back more than a few days. As soon as you hear him ask “What did you think of RAW this week,” you know there’s no real plan for Cheap Heat other than to just chatter about whatever name bubbles to the surface. Rosenberg’s absence last week, contrasted with his presence here, merely confirms how much (misplaced) faith they all put in his ability to entertain spontaneously.

Final thoughts: You get what you get here. It’s a run of the mill Cheap Heat, so the best that can be said is it isn’t obnoxious or insulting. Experienced listeners will be able to sense the conversation’s inevitable path a few paces ahead, or shout out the obvious truths the guys are overlooking in the moment. It’s very likely you’ll have a better appreciation or understanding of WWE after listening, so if you come in with calibrated expectations, at least you won’t be disappointed.