Friday, May 13, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat May 11

Trips is a topic of discussion 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: Night Of (Losing) Champions — May 11, 2016
Run Time: 1:08:08
Guest: Bryan Diperstein (40:27)

Summary: Peter Rosenberg and Stat Guy Greg declare they’re officially entering a new era of Cheap Heat. After checking in on the health of Bobby Heenan, they talk about WWE’s rash of talent releases and forthcoming returns, look ahead to the cruiserweight classic and the potential next WWE Network special, then run through the events of RAW. An utterly useless (but blissfully brief) phone call from Diperstein interrupts the proceedings. They wrap up looking at Triple H’s in-ring status and the on- and off-screen McMahon family dynamic, then get Greg’s corrections.

Quote of the week: Rosenberg: “Guys, I know, when I hear myself I think I sound repug also. I sound like super mainstream just like, thinking all about the bottom line, but what I’m gonna do for you is I’m the wrestling fan who will weave through the crap. It’s like — it’s the same job I have in hip-hop. I play a lot of underground stuff, but a lot of it I weed through and go, ‘No, this is never gonna happen.’ Or, ‘This is good, but it belongs right here and it’s never gonna be bigger than that.’ … It’s been cool, Anderson and Gallows are fine. But when we had those initial conversations about ‘Oh my gosh, are the Bullet Club about to show up on RAW, can you imagine?’ It’s happened, they’re on TV every week, it’s cool — it’s Straight Edge Society adjace. Literally, it’s literally Straight Edge Society adjace, minus the hot chick. What was her name again?”

Why you should listen: Aside from the Diperstein phone call, which at least was arguably on topic, Rosenberg retains focus fairly well for an hour plus (even though he’s watching playoff hockey while recording the show). They get minor points for starting with news instead of diving straight into the RAW recap. And this week they actually do discuss a few of the ongoing stories instead of simply rattling off results.

Why you should skip it: They do start with news but gloss over the stories as quickly as possible, except for Rosenberg taking time to remind us he doesn’t care for Damien Sandow because of their radio row interview before WrestleMania 31. While some of the RAW analysis borders on trenchant, still far too much is just regurgitory. If you need to know what happened, you’re in the right place. If you want to think about what’s happening, you’re own your own.

Final thoughts: They’ve clearly doubled down on the no-guest format, which means this is the version of Cheap Heat we’re likely to get going forward, and that shouldn’t be cause for optimism in any corner. Each Cheap Heat episode has its moments, but ultimately it’s little more than two guys telling you if they liked what WWE put on TV since the last time they sat behind the microphones. I find it increasingly difficult to picture what type of WWE fan considers Cheap Heat an essential part of a weekly routine given that the opinions expressed herein rarely add anything to the ongoing conversation. This isn’t to say it’s a bad show — it’s well produced and when Rosenberg pays attention he’s able to suppress his most obnoxious tendencies, and in fact even entertainingly filter his character through awareness of said traits — but it doesn’t do anything for anyone other than let them know what a hip-hop DJ liked and didn’t from a TV show he may have watched. Greg is doing his best to rise to the level of equal co-host and useful commentator, but he only shines when given the chance to directly address something Rosenberg asserts. In short: it’s got its moments, still, but they’re increasingly not worth the effort.