Thursday, May 19, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Booker T on Cheap Heat

Booker T guested on this week's 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: “Extreme Jewels” (May 18, 2016)
Run Time: 1:00:05
Guest: Booker T (1:41)

Summary: Peter Rosenberg and Stat Guy Greg open the show by welcoming phone-in guest Booker T. After catching up on his current projects, they talk about Booker’s WCW days, including thoughts on Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Sherri Martel, Bash At The Beach 2000 and Vince Russo. A question about his WrestleMania feud with Triple H leads to Booker’s general thoughts on his approach to his character and career, and they wrap up with looks at Sting, current WWE stars, the tag team scene, AJ Styles and why he’s likely not interested in one more match. After the call ends, the guys take a quick look at RAW and do an even quicker Extreme Rules preview.

Quote of the week: “I do remember the titles when I won ’em, and stuff like that. I don’t remember the dates; I don’t remember stuff like that because it wasn’t important to me. It was important for the fans. The only thing that’s been important for me is, you know, keeping a roof over my family’s head, my kids, taking care of my kids. None of that stuff matters to me. None of that stuff. None of that fame, you know, stardom and people putting you on a pedestal. It doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m not that guy. You know, I never dreamt or imagined I would be the person who I am today. … I’ve evolved so far in this life and I’m moving to the next phase. I have zero time to think about that kind of stuff, you know, how many matches I won or lost.”

Why you should listen: After threatening to go with a guest-free format, the guys are back with a great interview with Booker T. The questions respected the context the show’s audience brings to the table as well as Booker’s career by opting to spend as little time as possible talking about current WWE stories. For whatever reason, Rosenberg also seems to hit the right notes on the RAW recap, opting to focus on broader discussions of the major stories, adding commentary and analysis rather than simply running down each segment of a three-hour show.

Why you should skip it: I wouldn’t advocate missing the whole episode, but you can definitely stop paying attention when Rosenberg takes a few minutes to navel gaze on his own current fandom and how that informs the feel of the podcast. If you’re expecting an in-depth Extreme Rules preview, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Final thoughts: Greg especially was on point during the interview, which was really good to hear. When he and Rosenberg get to be equals, and when they don’t get bogged down by trying to be a hyper specific “This week in WWE” show, there’s a good chance the result is an enjoyable, breezy hour that adds a little pop in the middle of the wrestling week. I wish the show weren’t so inconsistent week to week, but it’s good to know the stronger efforts remain worthwhile. With the guys heading to Extreme Rules in person, hopes are high for next week as well.