Friday, April 22, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat April 20

Renee Young calls into the revamped 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: April 20, 2016
Run Time: 1:10:06
Guest: Renee Young (2:03); Mr. Rosenberg (48:40)

Summary: Peter Rosenberg and Stat Guy Greg take a phone call from another high-profile guest, WWE’s Renee Young. After discussing living in Las Vegas, her suburban Toronto childhood and nascent fandom, they break down the London RAW, with sidetracks into Young’s improv background and thoughts on the Kelly Ripa-Michael Strahan situation. After that call ends, the guys talk a bit more RAW until Rosenberg’s father calls in, which leads to some fun reminiscing about his youthful encounters with wrestling. Then our hosts get back to RAW again, while Rosenberg also takes some time to stress his bona fides. They end with a quick hit on Conor McGregor.

Quote of the week: Young: “I love the idea of being able to carve a path that, like, other chicks can kind of aspire to do and, like, even now I’m getting, like, messages from, like, girls and stuff that see the role that I do in WWE is different from the other girls and it’s like a cool thing for them. So, like, yeah, I would love to get behind the booth and do that and I did get a little bit of reps under my belt by doing some stuff down at NXT and on SuperStars. But I would never do play by play. I could handle doing some color, but I would never be able to do play by play.”

Why you should listen: As expected, Young is engaging, and not just because of her affinity for Goldust. As a fellow broadcasting professional, Rosenberg is well equipped to draw interesting information from Young, and Greg does a better job stepping into his cohost role this week. I actually quite enjoyed the conversation with the senior Rosenberg, even as it went beyond name drops of the likes of Haystacks Calhoun and Gorgeous George.

Why you should skip it: This episode struggles mightily from Rosenberg’s signature lack of preparation. He rushes away from a solid Young interview to get her to talk about RAW, and while there is the unusual circumstance of her watching the show from home this week, the show generally drags until talk again turns back to Young’s professional background. In the same way, I actually wished the call with Rosenberg’s dad went on longer, because it was much more entertaining than the bookending RAW talk.

Final thoughts: If this new format is going to succeed, Rosenberg is going to need to rely more on his big picture interview skills and less on forcing his guests to go beat-by-beat through the preceding WWE show. We all (presumably) know what happened Monday night, so Cheap Heat needs to either go in depth on a specific segment germane to the guest or talk about the aspects of the guest’s life and career we don’t learn from seeing them on TV each week. RAW has long been a crutch for Cheap Heat, and far too often the time the podcast gives it is little more than a rundown of the night’s events instead of commentary or criticism that deepens fans’ appreciation and understanding of the product.