Cheap Heat on Grantland
Hosts: David Shoemaker & Peter Rosenberg
Release Date: December 10, 2015
Recap by Corey Freedman
Top Newsworthy Items
– The hosts discuss how bad Roman Reigns’s promo was on Monday Night Raw this week. They also discuss how WWE is miscasting Reigns and asking him to play a role that he is simply not capable of playing. Shoemaker notes specifically that he feels the WWE did not give Reigns enough time to hone his craft/character/ before throwing him into the Main Event spotlight.
– The hosts talk throughout the show about the falling ratings.
– The hosts give their predictions for TLC. They agree on every match, predicting victories for Sheamus, Owens, Charlotte, Del Rio, the Wyatt Family, and the New Day.
Subjects Covered (w/timestamps)
0:00 – Introduction
3:20 – WWE Ratings and general Raw thoughts
7:40 – Reigns promos
18:40 – More RAW thoughts
26:00 – Movie discussion
32:20 – TLC Predictions
47:15 – Final ratings thoughts
51:20 – MVP of the week
55:30 – Send off
– Introduction: The hosts joke about being named to as the “Most Improved” podcast by the AV Club.
– WWE Ratings/Raw thoughts: Shoemaker wonders if the downward spiraling ratings becoming somewhat of an Internet meme is worse for WWE than the ratings decline itself. Greg brings up the survey that was sent out comparing the WWE main roster and NXT. Shoemaker and Greg liked the chaos of the opening segment of Raw this week. Rosenberg jokes that it was a great build-up for Survivor Series, one month too late. Shoemaker notes that a lot of Raw felt like a mulligan on WWE’s part (e.g. building factions that should’ve been built previously, re-doing the Paige-Charlotte situation). Rosenberg brings up Reigns getting a great pop when he won a match on Raw.
– Reigns promos: Shoemaker notes that the show closing promo was “so bad.” He notes that it seems like they are deadset on making Reigns a guy who is on the mic trying to be funny all the time, and that is just not happening. Rosenberg wonders what a normal timeline would be for someone to get comfortable on the mic, and that it is interesting/confusing that WWE is continually trying to get him over with long promos. Shoemaker finds it odd that some weeks they seem to have Reigns use the silent but deadly approach, but other weeks they want him to give long-winded promos. Shoemaker also was not a fan of Reigns “professor” line in reference to Sheamus during a backstage interview. Greg wonders how much of the problem lies with Reigns vs. Creative or whoever is writing his promos. He also brings up the notion of too much scripting of the promos.
Shoemaker and Rosenberg reminisce about seeing Reigns on a panel a few years ago and that being his most charismatic. Rosenberg follows by noting it seems that Reigns lacks a truly defined character, and that they should focus on his athleticism and heritage. Shoemaker talks about Reigns being somewhat protected the entire time in developmental as if someone decided early on that he was money and didn’t need to refine his character/promos. He says it doesn’t seem like there was ever room for second guessing or trying new things with him as he went along in developmental and then eventually debuted in with the Shield. Shoemaker says he is doing all that he can with what he has been given, but they didn’t give him the foundation to be the GUY before putting him in that position.
Rosenberg notes that most, if not all, top guys were given plenty of time to become a really special talent before being put in that spotlight. This leads to a discussion of how WWE has removed the possibility for accidents. Rosenberg notes that everything we see on TV feels so carefully planned. Shoemaker notes how at least the New Day doesn’t feel overly scripted, even if it happens to be.
– More Raw thoughts: Rosenberg notes that at least the opening ofRaw this week was different. Shoemaker and Rosenberg were not fans of the Paige/Charlotte Miz TV segment. He says it felt like community theater where they were all stepping on each others’s lines. Rosenberg notes that he feels like the WWE has a similar problem in the sense that they seem to insist on giving Charlotte a mic all the time, which he doesn’t find a good idea or necessary. Shoemaker notes that the way they are currently using Ric Flair is not the best. Rosenberg jokes about people tweeting him that Paige has become the Big Show with how often she turns. Greg brings up how odd it is for the New Day and Team B.A.D. to be together given that Naomi is married to one of the Usos, who the New Day is feuding with. The hosts joke about the New Day glowing unicorn horns.
– Movies: Shoemaker brings up a movie “Paradise Alley,” a movie that is sort of based on pro wrestling. The big villain in the movie is Terry Funk. He says in a weird way it might be the best wrestling movie ever made. Shoemaker continues that this all was a long-winded way of pointing out how much he loves Terry Funk.
– TLC Predictions: Shoemaker believes the Wyatt Family MUST win the tables match against The Dudleys, and Rosenberg and Greg agree. They think it would make little to no sense for the Wyatts to lose to Team ECW. They have to get the easy wins to be taken as a threat. The hosts all agree that Alberto Del Rio will beat Jack Swagger. The hosts also agree that it seems like Charlotte will have the belt for a while and they don’t really see the point of shifting it back to Paige. As far as the Tag Team Title ladder match, Shoemaker notes that this match has several possibilities given some of the participants ties to other matches (e.g. New Day with the League of Nations and the Usos with Reigns), but that he sees the New Day retaining. Rosenberg says only the New Day makes sense, and Greg agrees.
Onto the Intercontinental Title match. Shoemaker notes that this feud hasn’t been built up enough to foresee a title change. Rosenberg and Greg agree and it seems all the hosts have their money on Owens. Rosenberg believes that Owens is someone that WWE will want in a good position heading into WrestleMania so it wouldn’t make sense for him to lose. Shoemaker notes how disappointing it is for two of the best talkers on the roster to have a feud with very little talking. Shoemaker wouldn’t be surprised if this feud continued beyond Sunday. Now for the Main Event. Rosenberg can’t imagine this is the time for Roman’s big moment. He assumes the LON gets involved and Sheamus continues as WWE World Hvt. champion. Shoemaker senses a big schmoz coming during this match with many people getting involved. Greg is in agreement and feels this feud will drag on. The hosts are in agreement that Sheamus leaves with the Title. Greg notes that several PPVs this year have been awful on paper but entertaining to watch, and he hopes TLC will follow suit. Rosenberg has the mindset of not expecting too much and hoping to be surprised.
– Final ratings thoughts: The hosts discuss the ratings a little bit more. They talk about not relying too much on the ratings, but note that obviously there is a problem. Shoemaker suggests the WWE should find a way to present the ratings/viewership that sounds more positive.
– MVP of the week: Shoemaker’s choice this week was Del Rio because he finally ditched Zeb Colter and the MexAmerica gimmick. Greg’s choice is Roman Reigns, again, and he praises his backstage promo and in-ring work. Shoemaker follows that Reigns is an example of someone simply not being able to pull off a certain character. He notes that Reigns is too good looking to act like a jerk, and that is what he was doing on Raw. Essentially, the role he is cast in right now is making Roman Reigns look like a version of himself, a good looking jerk, that very few people want to be a fan of. Greg notes that the blame falls mostly on creative for that decision. Shoemaker notes that he will never have that effortless charm, like the Rock, that allows him to be a jerk and still have people like him. Rosenberg reluctantly chooses New Day for his MVP.
Score and Review
Score (9.0): I thoroughly enjoyed this show. As I sometimes say, this is Cheap Heat at its best. This episode is about an hour of entertaining wrestling discussion. Rosenberg was on the phone for this episode, so Shoemaker took over more of a host role. I prefer Shoemaker in this role and think it helped the podcast flow smoothly and keep focus on pertinent issues. Cheap Heat is less formal/strictly business/methodical than other wrestling podcasts, and I think this episode really showcases that. They cover issues that all wrestling fans are concerned with, but they do it in a way that is fun and entertaining. This was a great episode, and as usual before a PPV, I would reccomend it as a good primer for TLC this Sunday.