Friday, March 18, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat March 17

This confrontation is run down in detail 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: “Austin Austin Austin, Oi Oi Oi” (March 17, 2016)
Run Time: 1:07:13
Guest: Alexa Rosenberg (1:01:29)

Summary: Peter Rosenberg, David Shoemaker and Stat Guy Greg open with a roundtable about America’s drinking holidays before looking back at Roadblock, discussing Neville’s ankle injury and other RAW moments, leading to speculation about what might be left in the builds for various WrestleMania 32 feuds and wondering who the top heels actually are at the moment. They take listener questions, which leads to some Steve Austin reminiscing, then talk about TV shows and revisit the Hulk Hogan-Gawker trial —interrupted by trying to recall various wrestling animals and mascots — then break down the 2016 WWE Hall of Fame class before Rosenberg’s wife calls in for no apparent reason. Greg hits us with corrections, and we’re out.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “The Shane-Undertaker thing, as we discussed, it was very, very important to make it clear that this was going to be a wrestling match and not a schmozzfest and … we’re not waiting to see who’s gonna fight in Shane’s place. They need to make it really clear that one, these two guys are gonna go; and two, that they can, that they’re capable of going, right? That was the most important thing, way more important than explaining what the hell the lockbox is, they needed to convince us that this is a real match. And I think with Triple H and Roman Reigns, I think that it’s just a separate consideration. The only thing that has worked in this feud, from the get-go, is these crazy beatdowns. The only thing that the crowd reacts to is people getting, you know, slammed through ringside tables, people getting hit with foreign objects, it’s the only thing that gets the crowd going.”

Why you should listen: Shoemaker does a decent job explaining the context and highlights that made Roadblock a success. They pleasantly give Neville’s situation much more attention than I expected, and the discussions about the heel scene (that Charlotte might be the highest on the card trying to and succeeding at being booed) and the function of certain RAW segments are exactly the kind of insight that make this show worth hearing. The same can be said for the Hall Of Fame discussion and Austin nostalgia, though those portions are comparatively less consistent.

Why you should skip it: Perhaps they didn’t know the episode they recorded Wednesday morning wouldn’t drop until midday Thursday, which is the only plausible excuse for not giving a single breath to the NXT Takeover card now that it’s pretty well defined. At the very least it would have been nice to hear discussion about the NXT tag team match at Roadblock. Further, I understand it’s WrestleMania season, but it stuns me the guys can go weeks without even thinking about Lucha Underground, because that show is the hottest of fire nearly every episode. Aside from those gripes, there are a few useless tangents, and the phone call from Rosenberg’s wife was beyond pointless.

Final thoughts: This is far from the best Cheap Heat can be. However, given the fact the guys clearly don’t aspire to maximize their significant potential, this one is close to what they probably consider great. Mixing in the Austin memories is a great touch perfect for the core audience — if you’re going to stray from the main topic, at least keep it in the ballpark — and there’s enough insight different from the conventional online wisdom that makes you feel you’ve learned something. The pop culture stuff is at least over quickly, and I ended being more invested in the WWE product than when I started and eager for next week’s installment. Cheap Heat could always be better than it is, but the weeks when as good as you’re likely to get remain satisfying.