Wednesday, August 24, 2016

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

Henry invaded the live 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: Cheap Heat Live: Masked Man Rises (Aug. 23, 2016)
Run Time: 1:26:36
Guests: Zach Linder (5:34); Brian Campbell (21:48); David Shoemaker (51:20); Mark Henry (1:01:26)

Summary: This is the live audio from Friday’s Cheap Heat Live event in Brooklyn. The show opens with Peter Rosnberg introducing Stat Guy Greg, then sharing his opinions on the attractiveness of women in and outside of wrestling. Former writer Zach Linder shares a behind-the-scenes story of trying to interview Hulk Hogan at a post-TNA autograph signing. Cambpell comes on to break down the top 10 of Sports Illustrated list of 100 greatest wrestlers. They talk a bit about WWE’s crop of young international stars, then Rosenberg’s attempt to make Campbell join the “Kiss My Ass Club” is scuttled with a surprise appearance from David Shoemaker, who gives his SummerSlam predictions. Mark Henry does a cameo, then Brian Diperstein facilitates audience questions.

Quote of the week: Shoemaker: “You feel like when Bray’s not on the card and he’s healthy, there’s like an 85 percent chance of Bray interrupting a major match and making us all very upset on the internet the next day. … In the era of the brand split, this card is stacked and maybe it’s not a terrible thing when they go to, like, you know, RAW- or Smackdown-only pay-per-views, because, you know, the way it’s set up now, like, it would be great if he was there, it’d be great if Sami Zayn was on the card, it’s not like that there’s a spot that you, like, wish they took. I mean, OK, you can talk shit about Sheamus if you want, but it’s not like there’s just this terrible match that you wish wasn’t on the card. It’s just a stacked card, you know? And from my point of view, it’s actually a good thing. In the UFC, guys don’t fight every month, you know? In boxing, guys don’t fight every month. If it helps the storyline for somebody to take a month off of pay-per-views, then let ’em take the month off and build the story.”

Why you should listen: The best part of Linder’s story isn’t the punchlines so much as the chance to get a feel for how the dot com operates. Shoemaker’s return is certainly fun for fans of his chemistry with Rosenberg and Greg. Henry is fantastic, though certainly too brief, and the audience questions are surprisingly useful. The kindest thing to be said about this episode is that although it was positioned at the outset of SummerSlam weekend, it was organized such that it has interest far beyond the Brooklyn shows. If you’re worrying about listening after the fact, don’t.

Why you should skip it: If Rosenberg’s studio work grates on you, just wait until he gets in front of a live audience. Beyond that, there’s certain aspects here that just don’t translate well to the podcast crowd — the chanting, the too-loud wrestling theme music and extended “entrances” for guests and especially the painfully drawn out “Kiss My Ass” segment. As usual with the original Cheap Heat mix, Shoemaker is around for the best parts and most of the rest of it is little more than ear candy, and some of it is past the expiration date.

Final thoughts: The degree to which you enjoy this episode likely correlates to whatever you use as a standard. Is it better than a live Art Of Wrestling? It’s certainly different enough from what Colt Cabana does there to be interesting. Is it better than an average weekly Cheap Heat product? Doubtful. (Linder would make a good in-studio guest, though, because I’m not sure Rosenberg was of a mind to actually use questions to draw out the best aspects of his guests.) Listeners who subjected themselves to weeks of promotion certainly would be justified to be curious about this episode, and while it doesn’t seem this is the full version of what transpired on stage, it’s definitely enough to satisfy the curiosity. It’s also proof that Cheap Heat is more full of itself than is actually deserved, but those hundreds of chanting bros in the crowd know what they like, so to say there’s no audience for this sort of thing is flat wrong.