Friday, July 22, 2016

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

Rosenberg shoots on sexist tendencies of wrestling fans on this week's show
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: Déjà Vu (July 20, 2016)
Run Time: 1:07:27
Guest: Brian Campbell (15:43)

Summary: Stat Guy Greg is back in studio with Peter Rosenberg, which fuels the excitement while they plug their live show on SummerSlam weekend. They discuss at length Tuesday’s draft and its future implications and take a call from ESPN’s Brian Campbell to do the same. Then Greg weighs in on the Cruiserweight Classic before more draft review. Rosenberg shoots on sexism in wrestling fandom, then defends himself against smart marks. They end by recapping their experience at last weekend’s Madison Square Garden house show, which includes thoughts about Arnold Skaaland.

Quote of the week: Rosenberg: “For the record, it’s something that’s intrinsic, right? I’m not saying that people are sexists, I’m just saying we have a built-in nature that we’ve been fed by what the product is, and a lot of people fall for it. Guys, watch TV, OK? See how quiet the crowd now gets again during a good women’s match. It happens all the time. You’re trained to see the world that way, OK? It’s like a lot of race issues in this country. You may not be a racist, but you still may be scared of black men. You don’t realize that — it’s not saying you’re a bad person, it’s part of your DNA in America based on the way this country is. And the way the product is presented has, over time, affected people.”

Why you should listen: The guys worked to get this show on wax as soon as possible following the draft, which is commendable. Allowing Greg time to dig into the CWC is a good look for Cheap Heat, which often (as Rosenberg addresses later in the episode) draws fire for overlooking everything but the most prominent WWE programming. Learning the Rosenberg is going to discuss sexism in wrestling fandom might set off alarm bells, but he’s proving that when he wants to have serious discussions about heavy topics, he mostly drops the goofy DJ pretense and actually offers thoughtful insight. It’s not completely smooth, but awarding him anything less than an A for effort would be ingenuous.

Why you should skip it: One of the challenges with expedience is the added degree of difficulty in providing thoughtful analysis. A lot of the draft complaints are things WWE already has the means to address with extant Battleground plans, to say nothing of the first two RAW and Smackdown episodes next week. But by hyper-focusing on draft results alone (Campbell especially is guilty of this) there’s practically zero awareness the draft doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Characteristic of the show’s navel-gazing was spending time promoting their live show (several weeks away) and talking about their MSG seats rather than, say, previewing Sunday’s card. It seems they could have squeezed in at least a quick round of predictions.

Final thoughts: Cheap Heat seems to be getting back on track. As noted with this week’s Masked Man Show, that might be primarily attributable to WWE actually having news to discuss, but progress is progress. Still, the episode is far from flawless. It doesn’t seem outlandish to suggest podcasts should be much heavier on analysis than simple rote recalling of transpired events, and one of Cheat Heat’s sins is making it patently obvious when one of the guys is just reading details from a website. I still can’t listen to an episode without thinking of ways in which it could be improved with a little effort from the hosts, but if we’re going to settle for “I feel like they respected my time this week,” then this one doesn’t fail.