Friday, April 29, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat April 27

Henry was Cheap Heat's guest this week
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: Nine-Bell Salute (April 27, 2016)
Run Time: 59:04
Guest: Mark Henry (2:19)

Summary: The show opens with a tribute to the late Chyna, headlined by a seven-minute call with Mark Henry who remembers the day he met Chyna and their relationship over the years. Then Peter Rosenberg and Stat Guy Greg spend about 15 minutes working out their own feelings about her death before discussing Prince. After a commercial, the guys whip through RAW. Rosenberg interrupts that to spend a few minutes discussing the podcast’s format going forward. At the very end, they discuss Samoa Joe winning the NXT title, then very briefly preview Payback.

Quote of the week: Henry: “She’s very glib and funny. She had a great sense of humor. … We spent a lot of time in the gym back in the day, so I got to know her pretty well. … She was a joker, she was funny, she had a great sense of humor, she loved to laugh, she was always picking on somebody and the hardest person in the world to break. I would try to get her to break character all the time, saying’ stuff to her in the ring, and she would just be stonefaced.”

Why you should listen: Henry’s Chyna comments are nothing if not heartfelt. He doesn’t have the best Chyna remembrance you’ll hear this week, but it’s honest and raw and certainly his own thoughts and not something WWE encouraged him to say. That’s worth a lot, brief as it might be.

Why you should skip it: Henry’s phone connection is pretty rough. But worse, the rest of the episode is pretty much crap. The Chyna talk practically demands wrestler eulogy expert David Shoemaker, so what we get instead is Rosenberg grasping at attempts to contextualize Chyna’s career and legacy. At least that’s better than the standard “so hey, RAW happened” segment, and the Payback preview was borderline useless, since it amounted to little more than reading the card and giving names of expected winners without a shred of reasoning.

Final thoughts: Bad news for Cheap Heat fans, the guys made it pretty clear they’re not going to be bringing in guests like Jonathan Coachman and Renee Young every week. That means what you heard for the last half hour of this episode might be the status quo for the foreseeable future, and that’s a bad indicator for folks hoping the show remains relevant. Simply put, if all the guys are doing is reminding us what we saw and giving the basics of what’s coming next, they’re adding nothing to the conversation. The novelty of having a pro wrestling podcast on an ESPN platform is long since passed, and a smart audience will demand a show that enriches the fan experience. As presently constituted, Cheap Heat is far from delivering on that promise.