Friday, February 26, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Feb. 24

McMahon was a big topic of conversation on Cheap Heat this week
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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: “Return of the Mac” (Feb. 24, 2016)
Run Time: 1:27:16
Guest: None

Summary: When Peter Rosenberg fades out the usual theme music to play “Here Comes the Money,” you know he, David Shoemaker and Stat Guy Greg are tackling the biggest news story in quite some time, Shane McMahon’s shocking return to WWE. After about a half hour, they start breaking down the WrestleMania 32 card and reviewing the rest of RAW, notably Roman Reigns’ blood and the Divas Championship picture, then segue into a look back at Fast Lane. Quick hits near the end include AJ Styles, Paul Heyman, Sami Zayn and El Generico and the Godfather before Greg drops a mother lode of corrections.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “This time of year, even the best plans are subject to change, right? Like, ‘card subject to change’ is never more true weirdly than in WrestleMania season. There’s no pay-per-view that they plan out further in advance — and we talk about this all the time, that there is a WrestleMania card written in pencil at the end of it, for next year, at the end of every WrestleMania — and nothing changes more, because more is riding on it, because there’s more moving parts.”

Why you should listen: Don’t let the run time fool you — despite recording for nearly 90 minutes, the guys stay almost entirely on focus. Even the tangents stick close to the last few days of WWE news, and if you happened to miss anything then this certainly is a good way to get up to speed. While most of the WrestleMania card is conjecture at this point, the guys keep things spoiler free as they consider how the next five weeks might play out.

Why you should skip it: Don’t let the run time fool you — as good as it was to have the guys stay on track throughout, length of conversation does not correlate to quality. The Shane discussion was repetitive, and that’s on top of the time Rosenberg spent fiddling around playing audio from RAW. The Fast Lane conversation barely scratched the surface, and by the time they got to topics like Heyman and Zayn, there was a palpable sense of just trying to wrap up. That makes me wish some of those had been saved for what likely will be a slower news cycle next week.

Final thoughts: Mixed bag here. This show is leaps and bounds better than last week’s garbage fire, but it’s also way overstuffed with what amounts to filler. So the upside is it won’t make you angry for bothering to click play, you’re certain to look at your player more than once and wonder how much longer they’re going to keep talking. As usual with most of the decent Cheap Heat episodes, my main takeaway is wishing I could read Shoemaker’s considerations as opposed to just hearing his raw reactions. Still, all that said, if you’re at all intrigued by the Shane McMahon return, this will feed your hunger. Steve Austin recorded his Tuesday show before RAW, and Jim Ross was watching the McMahon segment near the end of his recording session the Mark Madden, so in contrast this is a much deeper analysis.