Thursday, December 3, 2015

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

The League of Nations gets prime audio real estate on Cheap Heat
Photo Credit:
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We 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 many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Cheap Heat
Episode: “The Clotheshorsemen” (Dec. 2, 2015)
Run Time: 1:08:25
Guest: None

Summary: Peter Rosenberg, David Shoemaker and Stat Guy Greg are in studio this week. They spend some time on the RAW open featuring Sheamus and the New Day before a tangent into WWE Network episode numbering and some Shoemaker YouTube deep dives. They get back to discussing the League of Nations, consider repackaging the Usos and remember Rikishi. There’s a decent discussion about modern starpower in relation to looking back on past RAW eras and which current stars might one day be Hall Of Fame members. That leads to recalling bad wrestler fashion. Shoemaker explains why WWE writers need better advance planning for NXT performers, then they briefly touch on the Charlotte-Becky Lynch story before offering MVP Of The Week suggestions, looking at new Network content and then end with small talk and corrections.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “If we laugh at Tyler Breeze at NXT, in a good-natured way, and you kind of light chuckle — 'but by the way, he’s a great wrestler, watch this.' — the laugh that comes form 20,000 people in a basketball arena is not a kind laugh. … It’s not gonna work if people laugh at you, no matter what. I mean, unless you’re 'Adorable' Adrian Adonis, but even he wouldn’t get over now, because it would be too silly. They would push it too far and you wouldn’t have him being a tough guy in the ring at the same time.”

Why you should listen: It did seem like this episode had more focus than usual, but upon further review that might be because the tangents were at least about wrestling. Still, it’s nice to be able to commend almost a full hour of audio before things fall off the rails. The discussion about which current WWE starts might one day be in the Hall Of Fame is decent, though it cries out for a Shoemaker written piece. My favorite part probably was envisioning ways to improve the Usos, though the strongest was Shoemaker’s advice for how and why WWE should plan for the worst with each new member of the roster.

Why you should skip it: If you expected any acknowledgement of Mick Foley’s public beef with WWE storytelling, you’re out of luck. Further, Rosenberg seems to be proud of how little attention he paid to RAW (something that would seem in conflict with his role as podcast host) and ultimately the show is still just disorganized enough to be inessential.

Final thoughts: I miss Shoemaker’s writing, so I love getting a chance to hear his weekly thoughts. Greg does a great job as not just the voice of the fan, but being aware of the capriciousness common in instant feedback to WWE products. Together they are solid, but always overpowered by Rosenberg. I find him to be more like Colt Cabana — often annoying but occasionally brilliant and usually at least entertaining — as opposed to Jim Ross, whom I like less with every passing week. But there are times Rosenberg drags down Cheap Heat to the point where it doesn’t add anything to my appreciation of WWE. It’s not quite so bad this week, but still I spend most of the hour waiting for it to happen, which deflates the experience in its own way. And yet, I’ll be back next week looking for nuggets of gold. Maybe we’ll all get lucky.