Cheap Heat on Grantland Sports
Hosts: David Shoemaker & Peter Rosenberg
Release Date: December 16, 2015
Recap by Corey Freedman
Top Newsworthy Items
– All the hosts choose Roman Reigns as their MVP of the week, and they praise the overall storytelling the WWE did on Sunday and Monday.
– The hosts draw specific attention to TLC and Raw actually having the feeling of unpredictability which is something we have not seen much lately within the WWE.
– The hosts overall really enjoyed the TLC PPV even though expectations were not high.
– Shoemaker talks about it being good news that Mauro Ranallo will be joining Smackdown as it never hurts to bring in people with large amounts of broadcasting experience, especially when that experience is outside of the WWE.
Subjects Covered (w/Timestamps)
0:00 – Introduction
2:00 – MVP of the week
5:00 – Roman Reigns’ Sunday and Monday
19:15 – WWE’s booking of TLC and Raw
22:55 – Tag Title ladder match
25:50 – Rosenberg’s friend Phonte (rapper) briefly joins the show
28:45 – Del Rio vs Swagger
32:15- Wyatt Family
34:28 – Charlotte vs Paige
40:08 – Owens vs Ambrose
43:20 – Start of a completely random discussion about clothing (not wrestling related)
46:30 – Back to Owen and Ambrose
48:40 – Mauro Ranallo
50:30 – Random discussion about having talent interviews on the show, class rings, and varsity jackets
59:45 – Majie Awards
1:07:46 – Greg reviews the show/Hulk Hogan racism/conclusion
– MVP of the Week: Shoemaker wants to start this week by leading with the MVPs of the week rather than closing with it. He chooses Roman Reigns. Rosenberg also chooses Reigns, but notes that he could argue Sheamus had a really good Sunday/Monday combination. Rosenberg wonders if the punch to the face to start the match on Sunday was a nod to the UFC fight on Saturday night. Stat Guy Greg’s MVP was also Roman Reigns (as it is every week). Rosenberg changes his MVP to the WWE writing staff for getting the fans to a point where they could place the WWE Title on Reigns in Philadelphia of all places.
– Roman Reigns: The MVP of the week discussion leads into a discussion about the situation with Roman Reigns this weekend. Shoemaker points out that sometimes we forget that most of the crowds aren’t smarks and when something like the Rumble situation last year occurs, we need to remember that most crowds aren’t that reactionary. He continues that when the WWE tells a story well, so much of the crowd is going to follow along and you won’t need to worry about crowds vetoing the idea. Greg follows that fans need to be a little more patient as even this weekend was not the final chapter in the Reigns story. He said that fans need to be more patient and allow the story to play out completely to be able to judge whether or not it was a good story or angle.
Rosenberg continues that people can certainly dislike something as it is happening, but they should try not to jump the gun on those feelings (e.g. having already made up their mind they hating the TLC main event before the Reigns-Sheamus match even started). Greg says basically “at least give the match time to actually suck before you say it sucks.” Shoemaker points out that one of the best parts of Raw this week was that we had no idea what was going to happen in regards to the Reigns-McMahon family situation as the night unfolded. He notes that is what has been missing from Raw so often (the notion that anything can happen and a story has many possible paths).
Rosenberg says Monday reminded him of an Attitude Era Raw where you really felt like you had no idea what was going to happen. He also makes sure to mention how awful commentary was on Monday (he points out Byron Saxton and Michael Cole saying the exact same thing when Roman won the Title, and JBL forgetting that he is the heel). They discuss whether or not Reigns vs. Triple H will take place at the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania. Shoemaker doesn’t believe it could take place at WM because Hunter is no longer a credible threat for the WWE World Hvt. Title. Rosenberg disagrees and can absolutely see Hunter putting himself in a Title match at WM. This leads to a bit of an aside about Hunter putting himself in the spotlight and not putting people over when he should.
– TLC/Raw booking: Shoemaker says that TLC was way better than most people thought and that, given what they had to work with, it was a top-notch show. He goes on to say that they followed that up with a Raw that was a better show, but it did not make you feel like you wasted your Sunday night. Rosenberg wonders if most people that have the WWE Network really have it for the PPVs anyway, and if it wouldn’t make more sense for the WWE to focus on getting the Raw ratings up and trusting that the people that have the Network are using it for more than just the PPVs once a month. Shoemaker talks about how Raw recently has been mostly just a commercial for the upcoming PPV which is completely mind-numbing for the people who already have the Network.
– Tag Title Ladder Match: Rosenberg notes that he was wrong to go to the bathroom during this match. Stat Guy Greg, who was in attendance for TLC in Boston, says that this was the match of the night with the live crowd. The hosts all praise Kalisto’s Salida del Sol spot from the top of the ladder. They debate whether that spot was more exciting than the Connor McGregor knockout on Saturday night. This leads to a brief aside about McGregor and Aldo.
– Del Rio vs. Swagger: Shoemaker refers to this match as “weirdly fulfilling.” Rosenberg wonders if anyone sells better than Del Rio, and he loved him selling the ankle injury after the match. The hosts talk about how he gets lost in his character and is always thinking about how to portray his character better.
– Wyatt Family: The hosts talk about how nice it was for Erick Rowan to get the pin on Monday. Shoemaker continues that if the Wyatt Family is not going to be booked as monster, main event heels, that Sunday and Monday are the next best way to use them. They also praise the ECW crew for putting on a good show those two nights.
– Charlotte vs. Paige: Shoemaker starts by praising Paige pinning Charlotte by the ropes to antagonize Flair. He liked that because it gave a logical set up to Flair interfering rather than her pinning Charlotte right next to Flair for no reason. Shoemaker believes there is a longer term story building here and he is willing to give it some time. The hosts note that there is definitely potential with Sasha and Becky also being involved potentially. The hosts get on a brief tangent about crowd interaction with the Divas.
– Owens vs. Ambrose: Shoemaker starts by saying that he was surprised by Ambrose win, and that there is a real sense of not knowing what the future holds, especially for Kevin Owens. Rosenberg remains skeptical of Dean Ambrose. Shoemaker says that, even though he is very anti-jeans on wrestlers, he doesn’t mind it on Ambrose. The hosts talk a bit about Dean Ambrose ring attire. There is a real digression about clothing during this portion of the show.
– Return to Owens-Ambrose: Rosenberg liked the storyline with Owens from Monday on Raw with him being really angry after the events of Sunday. Shoemaker talks about how Owens should always be in character because his normal persona is too nice. The hosts talk about liking the USA commercials with the Wyatts in character.
– Mauro Ranallo: Shoemaker explains a bit of Ranallo’s background in the commentary world. He talks about it being worth getting a little excited that something new is coming to the commentary table of Smackdown. Shoemaker also says that its obviously a benefit to have people on the show that have some experience/background in something other than the WWE.
– Random discussion: Skip this part using the timestamps unless you want to hear the hosts talk about class rings, varsity jackets, and Greg being on a dance team in high school.
– Majie Awards: The hosts list the categories for this years awards and tell listeners to suggest nominees on twitter using #Majies. There are 5 categories: Most maj performer of the centch, adjace gimmick of the centch, repug storyline of the centch, championship match of the centch, and rookie of the centch. Rosenberg talks about Greg’s growing popularity and getting texts from famous people. He also talks about his wife’s podcast.
– Greg reviews the show: Greg corrects some of the errors/questions within the show. Rosenberg talks about watching the 2002 Hulk Hogan run and really enjoying it. Greg and Phonte offer their opinions on the Hulk Hogan situation and whether or not him apologizing directly to them would help them forgive them. The hosts talk about whether people should be given a pass for single mistakes and if they should be given a second chance. They talk about Greg Hardy and Mike Tyson as well.
Score and Review
The first 43 minutes score (8.5); rest of the show (4.0): What a difficult episode to review. I think the second half of the show is completely subjective, but I hated it. So much has gone on the last several days in the wrestling world, that the second half of this show was a complete waste of time to me. The fact that they were talking about men’s clothing, class rings, varsity jackets, and Greg being on a dance team was beyond me. I listen to this podcast, as I imagine anyone reading this article does as well, to hear these hosts talk about wrestling in a light, entertaining manner. The second half of this show is only worth listening to if you want to essentially listen in on a conversation between these three hosts that has almost nothing to do with wrestling. We also got more of Rosenberg on the soundboard in this episode.
That being said, the first half of this episode was excellent. They spent a good amount of time talking about the Reigns situation and the perceived improvement to storytelling in WWE over the weekend and on Raw. They also break down the rest of the PPV matches. Had the show continued along this path, the overall score would have been a lot better. Again, perhaps people will find the digressions entertaining, but I certainly did not. This was a show that would have made sense at a time where nothing was going on in the WWE world that was worth talking about. Considering the last several days (and Wednesday with NXT) are the exact opposite of that, some of the conversations on this show made no sense to me. I don’t think it would hurt Cheap Heat to set an actual structure of things they want to talk about to avoid digressing over and over again.