Monday, December 14, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Dec. 10

Reigns as a Mongol warlord? The idea was floated on this podcast
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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: “Tables, Ladders, Who Cares?” (Dec. 10, 2015)
Run Time: 56:24
Guest: None

Summary: David Shoemaker and Stat Guy Greg are in studio while Peter Rosenberg calls in from traffic. They open by thanking the AV Club for mentioning the show in its year-end awards. Rosenberg brings up declining RAW ratings, which leads into a look at this week’s episode. They consider the past and future development of Roman Reigns, and Rosenberg draws a parallel to Charlotte. The talks bleeds into New Day and Team BAD, then somehow diverts into Shoemaker raving about Terry Funk in Paradise Alley. The next big chunk is predictions for Sunday’s TLC card. They circle back to ratings and Greg offers a correction, then they end with another look at Reigns.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker, on Reigns: “It doesn’t seem like there was any room for second guessing or for trying new things. Maybe it would benefit the guy if he just had to go play, you know, a Mongolian warlord that would, like, emerge from a block of ice, just have him go do that for six months. Because, like, at least that gets you out there improv-ing and trying new stuff and figuring out what’s comfortable for you. We’ve seen the same thing with his in-ring stuff, because he’s, you know, I mean, he would have been better served to be in developmental a lot longer.”

Why you should listen: Anyone who has shifted to the “skip RAW and watch the pay-per-view” model of following WWE could do much worse than using the back half of the episode to get ready for Sunday. While the current use of Charlotte likely warrants its own episode, Rosenberg gets points for initiating the conversation on how her presentation compares to what’s been done with Roman Reigns over the last year and a half. And while I’m still not sure how he got there, Shoemaker’s praise for Paradise Alley is unlike anything I’ve heard on a wrestling podcast for quite some time.

Why you should skip it: Do you want to hear Rosenberg praise the rack of a woman he sees walking down a New York City street? No? Well, sorry, that’s a thing that happens. And while this episode does a good service in terms of TLC preparation, there’s nary a breath of next week’s NXT supercard from London — and the recording schedule makes it unlikely we’ll get that next week, which means a significant ball has been dropped. Also, the navel-gazing at the outset is largely a waste of listeners’ time.

Final thoughts: It was unclear as I listened whether Shoemaker would be given space to preview TLC in writing on That’s a shame, because it’s always a better way to get ready for a show than the podcast. That said, the guys do take what I consider to be the correct approach to Sunday’s show: consternation at both the build and the card coupled with an acknowledgment that WWE has underpromised and overdelivered on more than one Sunday night in 2015. With Rosenberg out of the studio, Shoemaker effectively (if not completely) guided the direction of this episode, and it yielded a noticeably better output. Still, the guys are much better at discussing what happened than predicting what will, so I fully expect next week’s episode to be much more worthwhile.