Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Oct. 26

The Cheap Heat gang discuss Hell in a Cell
Photo Credit: WWE.com
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: Oct. 26, 2015 (“Hell Warmed Over”)
Run Time: 49:55
Guest: Dave Schilling

Summary: David Shoemaker and Peter Rosenberg were in Los Angeles for Hell in a Cell, so instead of Stat Guy Greg, the third man in the booth this week is Schilling, another Grantland contributor. They talk about the importance of the perception of real danger, WWE’s approach to cages, try to guess the future for Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker, discuss the return of Alberto del Rio, why wrestling needs factions, look ahead to WrestleMania and weigh in on Roman Reigns. They end by reviewing the celebrities spotted at Staples Center Sunday night.

Quote of the week: Schilling: “We know it’s predetermined, so you have to inject some sort of spontaneity into it. If you don’t do that, then you really start to mentally remember what you’re watching. And that’s not good.”

Why you should listen: Somehow, the guys were firing on all cylinders this week. It wasn’t advance planning — if anything, this episode was more spontaneous than usual. Perhaps there’s something to be said for recording so soon after an event, rather than let RAW play out, review Smackdown spoilers and then record on Thursday afternoon. Rosenberg having to leave about 50 minutes into recording also created a useful sense of urgency. The result was a nice blend of topical review and potentially timeless discussion of big-picture issues.

Why you should skip it: If you didn’t get a chance to listen before RAW, you’ll be far less interested in the plot guesses, although there is some enjoyment in being able to contrast possibilities with what WWE actually presented. This is not a proper Hell In A Cell review, as a few matches are either barely discussed or overlooked entirely, so don’t look for any analysis of things like most of the championships.

Final thoughts: I was rough on Cheap Heat last week, and on balance I don’t want to back down from any of those thoughts. The show almost always suffers from a lack of preparation, and strong episodes such as this probably convince the guys (Rosenberg in particular) that they can work without a net. Maybe the secret is to force them to work on a clock more often and trick Rosenberg into thinking he’s on live radio. Absent all that context, though, this chat stands alone as an excellent companion to Hell In A Cell. Makes me wonder how much better the show could be if Shoemaker and Schilling were regular partners.