Friday, December 18, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Dec. 16

Roman Reigns is the big topic of discussion this week
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: “Everybody Loves Roman” (Dec. 16, 2015)
Run Time: 1:19:35
Guest: Phonte (26:02)

Summary: David Shoemaker and Stat Guy Greg are joined by a back-in-the-studio Peter Rosenberg. Greg attended TLC, but the talk starts with Roman Reigns’ big title victory. They consider if he’ll face Triple H at WrestleMania and weigh in on the history and current approach to WWE TV as it relates to house shows and pay-per-views. In the midst of reviewing TLC rapper Phonte joins the party. Shoemaker pitches his idea for a Network show shaming inappropriate WWE fans, talk abut this week’s RAW spotlights the future of Kevin Owens before a complete derailing into an in-depth undershirt conversation. Pulling it back to WWE, they look at Mauro Ranallo’s hiring, which quickly derails again into Shoemaker’s high school theater career and Greg’s time with the school dance troupe. Eventually they list the five categories for “the MAJies,” which somehow leads to Rosenberg promoting his wife’s podcasts. After corrections, Phonte participates in a look at Hulk Hogan’s potential for redemption. At the very end Shoemaker mentions Kimber Lee’s CHIKARA Grand Championship victoy.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “Obviously great job by WWE to get him over in that environment. But, you know, I think that a lot of the time wrestling fans like us sort of overlook the fact that even when wrestling crowds are just like, you know, seem like 50,000 smarks that have all just logged off the same message board and stopped listening to the same podcast to start cheering, like, people like us are not the majority. And I’m setting aside the fact that people like us were probably cheering last night, too. … When WWE tells a story well, or when they just push those right buttons and make you revert back to that childlike state of cheering for the hero and booing the villain, like, so much of the crowd is gonna follow along. If you do it right, if you do it well, you don’t need to worry about crowds vetoing the idea.”

Why you should listen: Most podcasts that reviewed TLC did so before RAW, which makes this episode the freshest of the bunch. There are flashes of brilliance throughout from all four men, and the way Greg conveys his live TLC experience displays the benefit of having a well-spoken fan voice on the show, especially one who is willing to defend his reasoning and refuse to fall victim to hive mind. I’m usually not one for Rosenberg’s tangents, but somehow I found the ones in this episode to be mostly amusing and endearing.

Why you should skip it: The amusing nature of some of the divergent discussion aside, this episode is something of a train wreck for people looking to be immersed in one of the bigger WWE weekends of the year. They bring up some stories — such as Rey Mysterio heading to Lucha Underground and NXT’s London show — just enough to let listeners know they’re intentionally overlooking those situations, and while I liked Phonte well enough as his guest, I think Rosenberg could have done more to establish his friend’s bona fides.

Final thoughts: Man, I ain’t even know. Cheap Heat is never going to be the show I think it could be, so the best thing I can say for this week is it came across as pretty darn close to what I think the hosts envision as their ideal. It’s absolutely all over the map, but there are multiple occasions where the hosts reveal genuine affection for each other, a relationship fostered with listeners across the country and an absolute appreciation of a fine American art form. Its most definitely a part of my wrestling week, even when they drive me crazy.