Friday, April 15, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat April 13

The Coach is on the first revamped episode of 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: “A New Day, A New Coach” (April 13, 2016)
Run Time: 1:14:58
Guest: Jonathan Coachman (2:34)

Summary: Peter Rosenberg and Stat Guy Greg bring us the first post-David Shoemaker Cheap Heat. This one features, via phone, Jonathan Coachman, so naturally they open with a look at the WWE/ESPN relationship. There’s a good chat about Coachman transitioning to an in-ring performer before they look at RAW: why is WWE sticking with Shane McMahon, Cesaro’s character development, the promise of Kevin Owens, the evolution of Roman Reigns, new depth in the women’s division and Bullet Club’s arrival. That leads to a tangent on guys who aren’t likely get another WWE run. Then there’s a brief remembering of the recently departed Blackjack Mulligan and Balls Mahoney. After the phone call ends, Greg drops Coach stats, they quickly discuss MVP getting fired from Lucha Underground and note Titus O’Neil’s suspension is over.

Quote of the week: Coachman: “I’ve made it my life’s work to go after trolls on Twitter go after the negativity of wrestling fans and just say, ‘Listen, all of our lives are difficult at some point. For three hours on Monday night, just enjoy yourselves!’ And I think you’d enjoy it so much more if you approached it that way instead of, ‘Can I figure out what’s going on before it happens?’ I don’t understand that.”

Why you should listen: The best part is the general Coachman discussion, notably a funny story about working with Tajiri and his tales of trying to be respectful of the career wrestlers while also acknowledging his own busy work and travel schedule. Beyond that, Coachman is one of the rare former WWE employees who still looks positively on the company and his experience, so there’s zero resentment but plenty of useful context and appreciation for the current roster.

Why you should skip it: There are some questionable opinions voiced, such as Coachman suggesting Owens’ microphone time be kept to a minimum and Rosenberg expressing he doesn’t understand the characters or Zayn or Becky Lynch. It could be argued that’s indicative of fans who don’t pay attention to NXT, but clearly Greg does and could have interjected to counter balance. If the show is going to succeed going forward, Greg needs to be an actual cohost and not simply speak when spoken to.

Final thoughts: It’s likely anyone with a passing interest in Cheap Heat hit the play button immediately to get a feel for the show’s new format. Early returns are positive, as Rosenberg was far more prepared and professional than his usual freewheeling approach. Whether that was out of personal respect for Coachman, a corporate obligation to make good use of an ESPN colleague’s time or some other factor remains to be seen, but it’s a positive indicator for the show going forward. There’s still a desperate need for a guiding direction beyond “What happened on RAW this week?” but if the right guests come through, Cheap Heat could actually increase its relevance over the long haul.