Friday, January 8, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Jan. 6

Reigns is discussed on this show
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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: “Botch, Vince, Repeat” (Jan. 6, 2016)
Run Time: 58:42
Guest: None

Summary: Peter Rosenberg and David Shoemaker are back from a winter vacation, though Stat Guy Greg remains away. The guys catch up about their break before Shoemaker talks about his trip with Greg to the Brooklyn RAW on Dec. 28. Then they look at the Jan. 4 episode, focusing on Vince McMahon. They consider the shift in perception of Roman Reigns and look ahead to the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. After mention of McMahon sitting in Jerry Jones’ luxury box derails things for a few minutes, they resume focus on the Social Outcasts before digesting the Bullet Club news. Rosenberg’s MVPs of the Week are Charlotte and Ric Flair. The show ends with a brief acknowledgment of Smackdown’s move to USA.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “We have seen this storyline before. We’ve seen it, you know, with Daniel Bryan, we’ve seen it with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, kinda seen it consistently since they sort of broke the third wall by making real-life owners a thing in wrestling. But every wrestling storyline goes back a million years. You know, like, we’ve been doing the same storylines over and over again. That’s — professional wrestling is, it’s a morality play, but also it’s a closed world in which gimmicks that worked get recycled.”

Why you should listen: Excepting the useless football diversion — as well as Rosenberg’s inexplicable inability to properly use the word versus — this is a pretty solid episode, largely because the number of developments since the previous episode dropped forced a focus on the biggest stories. Shoemaker’s insight about being in the RAW crowd was welcome, and Rosenberg is at his best when the discussion stays within the moments he can most clearly remember.

Why you should skip it: News of John Cena’s injury coming out a few hours after the podcast went live immediately dated the portion episode that looked ahead the next few months. The brief mention of the WWE/NJPW talent assimilation is of no use to anyone who has even rudimentary knowledge of guys like Shinsuke Nakamura. Bonus points to Shoemaker for instantly connecting Rosenberg’s non sequitur about his mother’s foot surgery to Kerry von Erich, but the last thing we need is further audio evidence that one of the co-hosts isn’t completely interested in recording his own show.

Final thoughts: Many of the worst Cheap Heat episodes are quite obviously the result of the guys feeling compelled to record without anything useful to add to the ongoing conversation. It wouldn’t be prudent to shift to recording every other week, because goodness knows wrestling news can come in spurts, but there’s plenty of proof Rosenberg needs a good mix of topics to make his contributions worthwhile. The hosts obviously have an “open mouth, say words” approach to this show (as opposed to actually planning a course), and absent enough material, Rosenberg’s attention wanes and the dialogue becomes inane to the point of insulting the audience. Maybe that’s all unfair to bring up in a week where the bad tendencies were mostly avoided, but as someone fruitlessly hoping the show will live up to its potential, it’s frustrating to see glimmers of success and potential solutions only to accept they’re simply outliers.