Cheap Heat podcast on Grantland
Hosts: David Shoemaker & Peter Rosenberg
Release Date: December 2, 2015
Recap by Corey Freedman
Top Newsworthy Items
– Shoemaker enjoyed the Sheamus/New Day pairing as he thought it made goofy Sheamus make a little more sense.
– The hosts talk about bad outfits in wrestling, specifically noting how annoying it is that so many current guys just wear their own merch.
– The hosts thought the formation of the League of Nations was a bit off, but they are excited to see those four together.
– The hosts talk about how the current WWE lacks wrestlers with a true “main event” feel and sometimes it is hard to figure out who the audience should even be taking seriously.
Subjects Covered (w/timestamps)
0:00 – Introduction
6:20 – Sheamus/New Day thoughts
11:30 – WWE Network
16:30 – League of Nations
21:00 – The Usos
28:40 – Main event scene
37:20 – Clothing/Outfits
43:40 – NXT gimmicks/planning ahead
49:15 – Triple H
52:58 – Divas on Raw
54:15 – MVP of the week
1:00:15 – New Star Wars movie
1:02:30 – Greg reviews the show
1:03:45 – Conclusion
Introduction: The show starts with a light discussion about Rosenberg’s jacket choice for the day. Rosenberg jokes that his new method of viewing Raw is to have it on in the other room, so he can listen while he watches something else. Rosenberg also brings up the close proximity of the Final Four and WrestleMania this year.
Sheamus thoughts: Shoemaker starts by remarking how good Sheamus looked in his suit to start Monday Night Raw. He also notes that he likes Sheamus when cast in the right role. However, he notes that sometimes Sheamus feels to much like a caricature of a pro-wrestler (i.e. sometimes when cutting a promo it feels too much like he is cutting a promo, rather than speaking with raw emotion). Shoemaker notes that he likes that the New Day is getting heat for their obnoxious antics and it works well to have some of that rub off on someone like Sheamus. Sheamus can be corny at times, but it works better when paired with someone like the New Day. Shoemaker also liked the notion that the New Day’s celebration last week was so successful that perhaps Triple H asked them to throw one for Sheamus this week.
WWE Network: The hosts talk a bit about being annoyed by the way things are structured/numbered on the WWE Network. They make specific reference to how certain episodes of Breaking Ground are hard to find because they seem to be numbered in reverse. Shoemaker talks about watching 1970s wrestling with his girlfriend. The hosts talk about watching videos on YouTube and how sometimes leads you straight to the WWE Network.
League of Nations: Shoemaker admits that there were some weird booking decisions to get to this point, but he enjoyed seeing these four together and is at least excited about the potential. Greg doesn’t like the name, but he also enjoyed seeing this group form. Shoemaker responds that he felt the way Sheamus introduced the group was a little blunt. Rosenberg asks if this group will be babyfaces when they travel to other countries.
The Usos: Rosenberg jokes that the Usos could be replaced by any generic tag team from the ’80s and it wouldn’t make a difference. Shoemaker continues that they look completely silly cartoon characters (mostly referring to their outfits and face paint). Rosenberg says the best way to think about it would be if NXT were bringing in a tag team that had the same samoan heritage, how would they package them? Shoemaker calls their look “worse than Fruity Pebbles.” Rosenberg compares it to John Cena at his cheesiest. Rosenberg brings up how they are related to Sika who wore a very simple outfit. The hosts talk a bit about Rikishi as well and how it might be frustrating for him to only be remembered for the stinkface and dancing.
Main Event scene: Rosenberg starts by talking about how he recently watched a 2002 Raw where Triple H and Hulk Hogan start the show by making a match for the Championship and that is followed by Undertaker and Steve Austin fighting for the number one contendership. He draws the comparison to how poor the main event scene today looks side by side. Shoemaker follows that WWE at least did a better job this week of making it clear who is participating in the main event scene (New Day and League of Nations closing the show).
Rosenberg follows that they shouldn’t rely on legends all the time, but that it doesn’t hurt to have sure-fire legends on the show to elevate the overall feel. He notes that it hurts to not have anyone that feels like that on the show (drawing attention to Cena’s absence). Shoemaker retorts that perhaps there is nothing WWE can do to convince you certain guys have that aura in 2015. Basically, Rosenberg wants the WWE to be more creative about giving young guys a rub from established wrestlers that fans feel have a main event/big match vibe to them. I think his point is that sometimes it is hard to watch the current product because many of the wrestlers don’t have the feel of someone worth investing in for the long haul (you don’t feel like you are watching a Hall of Famer develop in front of your eyes to the point that you want to deeply invest in that long-term journey with them). The hosts talk about guys who could perhaps be in the Hall of Fame down the line (they are simply guessing). Shoemaker suggests Reigns and Del Rio as people who stand out right now.
Clothing/Outfits: Rosenberg jokes a bit about Del Rio dressing like a character from Narcos, but wonders if that is too close to his original gimmick. Shoemaker talks about some times that wrestlers have worn terrible looking suits (he specifically mentions the original Evolution promos where Triple H is wearing a suit that is gigantic). He then mentions that the era now is even worse because everyone just wears their own merch and it takes away from their character. Rosenberg talks about how wrestlers have weird bodies and that makes some of the outfit choices standout. This segues into a brief discussion about Del Rio/Colter where Shoemaker notes that he feels like Zeb is only detracting from Del Rio right now and should be repackaged. Rosenberg then brings up his Four Horseman jacket and how cool it is.
NXT gimmicks: Shoemaker brings up the notion that the WWE needs to figure out (1) how NXT gimmicks will translate to the main roster and (2) then figure out what the second act will be as none of these gimmicks will get away unscathed (he notes Owens may be the exception to this rule). He uses Tyler Breeze as a specific example saying that his model gimmick has a short shelf life and there needs to be a plan to transition that gimmick into something lasting. Greg brings up that part of the problem may be that they can’t anticipate the crowd reaction to the new call-ups. This leads to a discussion about how hard it is to be a pure babyface in today’s environment. He lends credence to this point by pointing out that Kevin Owens probably gets one of the bigger babyface pops of anyone on the roster, and he is currently portraying a heel.
Triple H: Shoemaker says that he didn’t mind Hunter this week. He also liked that there were a couple of heel factions on the show this week that seem to be endorsed by the Authority, but Hunter/Stephanie didn’t take up airtime to specifically say so. Rosenberg brings up that perhaps there has never been a period with more confusion as to the storylines/situations as today. He points to the Authority starting the majority of shows by quite literally explaining everything that is happening because otherwise nobody would have a clue. He follows that you should be able to show a short promo package that everyone should inherently understand what’s going on. Shoemaker jokes that that would then leave them with ten minutes of the three-hour show to fill. Greg jokes that they would rather cut a full match than a talking segment.
Divas: Shoemaker enjoyed the Charlotte/Becky Lynch situation this week. He was not a fan of her corny interviews in the past, but he enjoyed this storyline where her friend, Charlotte, is misleading/mistreating her. He also likes the idea of two wrestlers who are friendly having a match.
MVP of the Week: Greg chooses the New Day as his MVPOTW. He notes that they opened and closed the show, while also maintaining their own storyline with the Tag Team Titles. Shoemaker follows that they are the high work rate crew as far as promos are concerned. Shoemaker chooses Sheamus as his MVPOTW. He thought he took a step forward this week by having two good segments as well as forming his new stable. Rosenberg selects Ric Flair. He enjoyed his work as GM on the episode of Raw he watched this week from 2002 booking an Austin/Taker match. Rosenberg also talks about the WWE Network adding more old videos such as WCW.
Star Wars: The hosts talk about if they are going to see the new movie. They also talk about ‘’Jessica Jones’’ on Netflix.
Stat Guy Greg: Greg notes that Zeb was involved in an injury angle with Rusev that allowed him to get surgery, so that explains why he is in the scooter. He also talks about Sami Zayn tweeting about returning soon.
Conclusion: Shoemaker compliments r/squaredcircle for getting 100k subscribers. Rosenberg brings up a writer on Deadspin who wrote a terrible article. The article was about Kobe Bryant, and Rosenberg took exception to an article online calling people names with curse words (he doesn’t find that to be good journalism).
Score and Review
(8.5): Not a particularly earth shattering episode of Cheap Heat, but an entertaining one nonetheless. The hosts talked about a wide variety of issues pertaining to the current product and had some nice conversations about those issues. This episode jumped around a bit from topic to topic, but given the current state of the WWE, I didn’t find that to be an issue (I didn’t feel like they ignored anything that warranted discussion). I think listeners will really enjoy this episode. Given that WWE is between PPVs and there aren’t any particular hot-button issues to discuss, the Cheap Heat gang put together an entertaining wrestling discussion that touches on relevant topics from the past week in the WWE.