Friday, September 9, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Cheap Heat Sept. 8

Punk's MMA debut is a topic of discussion
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: End of Days?! (Sept. 8, 2016)
Run Time: 1:19:46
Guest: None

Summary: Peter Rosenberg is in the Hot 97 studio. Brian Campbell is at ESPN in Bristol. Stat Guy Greg is around, too. They open by looking ahead to CM Punk’s imminent UFC debut, Greg and Campbell teach Rosenberg about the WWE Network’s Hidden Gems section, then touch a bit on Scott Hall’s weekend. After Rosenberg for some reason gives TV suggestions, the topic turns to Cody Rhodes’ current schedule and a long look at TNA. Discussion of Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns leads into a review of ESPN’s WWE power rankings, with breakouts on New Day and AJ Styles. Campbell leaves, then Rosenberg and Greg run through RAW and Smackdown and make Backlash predictions. They end with another look at the ESPN staffer tweet that incited wrestling fans, Rosenberg talking about vintage shirts, Greg plugging his birthday charity effort and offering some corrections.

Quote of the week: Rosenberg: “Even the fact, when we were saying, ‘But he made fun of a child.’ You’re being — that’s being really, like, Fox News with the situation. It wasn’t — it was a joke. He said, ‘Wait until he finds out it’s scripted.’ You have to understand how comedy works, guys. And it’s not good comedy, don’t get me wrong, it’s a bad joke. But the butt of that joke is pro wrestling. The butt of the joke isn’t the child. It’s a given that a child wouldn’t know at eight years old that wrestling is scripted. That’s the point of the joke. So the butt of the joke is wrestling, which you have every right to be annoyed about. Like I said — I’m used to it, it’s so much that it doesn’t register with me at all. Like I said, if you’re not into wrestling, I feel sorry for you, not for me. But I just didn’t like the idea that everyone was saying it to saying the butt of the joke was the child. That’s not what it was.”

Why you should listen: Judged against itself, this is a pretty strong episode. I have no qualms with discussing Punk in UFC, especially given Campbell’s credentials, and I’m quite fond of the “what’s in the news” approach that focuses on things other than what WWE put on its flagship shows. And while I don’t have any use for power rankings, and especially people reading their own blurbs explaining who got placed in what order, it did offer a chance to talk about various wrestlers from a broader view, which tends to be more useful than a microscopic breakdown of one given TV segment.

Why you should skip it: Without quibbling about the topics covered in general, it does seem fair to suggest Smackdown’s first brand-specific pay-per-view is a bigger deal than the panel seemed to allow. It’s also fair to wonder why Rosenberg made such a big deal about Campbell joining the show as a permanent host when his availability is dictated by when Stephen A. Smith needs the podcast studio. Ultimately, this is about 45 minutes of good audio in an 80-minute bag, and as enjoyable as the decent moments are, there’s always too much fluff. If Rosenberg spent less time talking about his TV habits and wardrobe, and the three of them didn’t try so hard to force-feed the show’s catchphrases into every possible discussion, then we’d have something to be excited about.

Final thoughts: It’s good for Cheap Heat. It’s not great compared to the myriad ways you can think about the week in wrestling. I have to award points for talking more about TNA than most any show — and doing so sincerely. Not that I care about TNA, but I do appreciate the attempt at covering wrestling in a larger sense than just being a RAW recap and PPV preview.