Cheap Heat Podcast on Grantland Sports
Hosts: Peter Rosenberg and Stat Guy Greg
Guest: Jonathan Coachman
Release Date: April 13, 2016
Recap by Corey Freedman
– Rosenberg and Greg host the first episode since David Shoemaker’s departure.
– The hosts are joined by Jonathan Coachman.
– All three agree they aren’t the biggest fans of Shane McMahon in the babyface authority role, as they don’t feel it really fits him.
– They talk about the huge opportunity for Roman Reigns as heel. Coach says “it doesn’t feel right” when Reigns is cutting promos.
– They all praise Kevin Owens and Cesaro.
– All three have enjoyed the recent work of Chris Jericho and think he will be able to elevate Ambrose to the next level.
Subjects Covered (w/timestamps)
0:00 – Sponsor Ad
0:15 – Introduction
2:35 – Jonathan Coachman joins the show
14:40 – Shane running Raw
22:30 – Cesaro-Owens
27:10 – Tag Team tourney
29:45 – Roman Reigns
37:30 – Sami Zayn
41:05 – Sponsor Ad
41:45 – Women’s championship
50:45 – Bullet Club
53:30 – A.J. Styles
56:00 – MVP
59:00 – Jericho
1:02:30 – Blackjack Mulligan and Balls Mahoney deaths
1:07:10 – Conclusion with Coach
Introduction: Rosenberg starts by ushering in the post-Shoemaker era of Cheap Heat. He says Cheap Heat “lost their Marty Jannetty.”
Coach joins the show: Coach starts by talking about the overwhelming support he has received from ESPN as they are going through their first period of covering the WWE. He talks about how often people come up to him and talk about the WWE. Rosenberg asks about how Coach got into the business. Coach talks about working out at the PC and Vince suggesting to him that he could have an in-ring role. Coach knew the distinction between having the respect of the locker and just being a broadcaster. He says the way to earn the respect is to take the bumps and get physical. Coach tells a story about a backstage interaction with Tajiri. They were trying to plan their match and he jokingly said “as long as I get my s— in, we’ll be fine,” to which Tajiri responded “you have s—?” He talks about the difficulty of training to be an in-ring performer (with Tom Pritchard and Shane McMahon) while balancing his role as a broadcaster.
Shane running Raw: Rosenberg starts the discussion by bringing up the claim that Shane McMahon was invited back to Raw due to overwhelming social media support. Rosenberg is not a fan of news being announced on Twitter. Rosenberg and Greg don’t think Shane has done well opening the show. Rosenberg says it seems like they don’t know exactly what his character is supposed to be. Coach talks about the WWE using Twitter because they want to control the story (e.g. they need to get news out in case someone else breaks it before them). Coach agrees that Shane doesn’t deliver the best promos as “the guy in-charge.” They talk about the negative attitude of some fans. Rosenberg loves Shane in the underdog wrestler role, just not so much in the overtly babyface GM role.
Cesaro: Rosenberg talks about this new version of Cesaro being the best iteration yet and one that fans can really invest in. He says he feels more meaningful now. Coach gives The Miz credit for bringing out the best in other characters (and in this case Cesaro). Rosenberg praises the Owens-Cesaro match. He wonders what the future holds for Owens because everything he does is “maj.” Coach praises the athletic ability of Kevin Owens for a man his size, and he says that is relatable to a lot of audience. He hopes the WWE doesn’t screw him up. Coach isn’t the biggest fan of Owens doing really long promos.
Tag Team tourney: Rosenberg says he is a big fan of Enzo & Cass, mostly because of his relationship with Enzo. However, he says he was somewhat taken aback by how “schticky” their promos are (he didn’t watch them too much in NXT). Coach is a fan and talks about the audience enjoying opportunities to participate.
Roman Reigns: Rosenberg talks about the level of hatred Reigns seems to be generating. Dipperstein was at Raw in L.A. and said TV couldn’t possibly capture the amount of heat Roman has. Rosenberg gives credit to the WWE for at least adjusting somewhat because it would have been insane to keep portraying Roman as the clean, underdog babyface that everyone loves. Coach says that it “doesn’t feel right” when Reigns is in the ring cutting a promo, and that it has to “feel right” to succeed in such a high position within the company. Rosenberg was sitting near Lin Manuel Miranda (from The Hamilton musical) at WM32, and had to explain to him why the crowd was booing Roman. He talks about it being more difficult than normal to explain something like that. He says the beauty of wrestling is that they can adjust. He says the booing of John Cena was never like this. Rosenberg talks about the immense opportunity for Reigns as a heel, given the amount of heat he is generating. Rosenberg mentions a conversation he had with Reigns about the Royal Rumble in Philly, and he says that it really affected Reigns emotionally and gave him a chip on his shoulder.
Sami Zayn: Rosenberg says that Zayn is the male Becky Lynch. He means that he loves both of them as people and in the ring, but he thinks both characters still need work. Coach loves Zayn but agrees that he needs to find the thing that makes people believe in his character long term. They don’t think it’s necessarily a “he can’t talk” problem, but they seem to think its more of a character development problem.
Women: Rosenberg is excited at the potential of a Charlotte-Natalya feud. He hopes the Hart family is involved somehow. He says Natty and Charlotte are perfect for each other to work together. He says his bigger concern is what happens to the rest of the women who aren’t in the main title feud. They all love the new belt. Coach talks about how much Rosenberg marks out when he meets certain wrestlers, especially Ric Flair. Coach talks about how difficult it is to create time for more than one women’s storyline. Rosenberg talks about how much Natty deserves to be in this situation. They talk about Total Divas being a way for people like Natty and Tyson Kidd to show some personality and get personal, which can help them get over.
Bullet Club: Greg talks about how excited Twitter was to see Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows debut. Greg thought the debut was kind of weak. Rosenberg didn’t think they got a good reaction, and points out that there will be an adjustment period as they are not as popular to all crowds as they are on the internet.
A.J. Styles: Coach says he always wondered why the WWE could never work out getting A.J. He talks about A.J. always being one of the highest paid talents so that made it hard for them to strike a deal. He believes A.J. when he is in the ring. He thinks he can be a big star for a few years.
MVP: They get onto a discussion about why the WWE won’t bring him back. Rosenberg is friends with him and would love to see him return. Coach says he just wasn’t over to the degree they wanted. They also talk about the Hardys. Coach talks about them not being able to handle being a huge WWE star.
Jericho: Rosenberg loved Chris Jericho interviewing himself on the Highlight Reel this week. He is looking forward to an Ambrose-Jericho feud. He thinks it’s exactly what Ambrose needs. He’s sold on the talent, but not on the character, look, and moveset. Coach praises Jericho’s ability to get something over with a promo. He hopes Jericho is 100 percent committed to the WWE for the time being because that will allow him to be at his best creatively.
Blackjack Mulligan/Balls Mahoney: Rosenberg asks if Coach knew Blackjack Mulligan. Coach says Vince takes care of all the legends behind the scenes. Coach talks about the rough aging process many veterans go through. Coach says nobody wanted to be a bigger star than Balls Mahoney. They talk about him being a great guy.
Conclusion: Rosenberg thanks Coach for joining them today. They praise the level of conversation Coach was willing to engage in considering his close relationship with WWE. Rosenberg was surprised at how easily he was able to talk with them like such nerds. Greg jokes that you never know if they were being worked! Rosenberg and Greg wonder if Coach will ever return full time to the WWE. Rosenberg talks about a situation with MVP. Greg brings up that Titus O’Neil’s suspension is over. Greg and Rosenberg try to decide whether this episode was Maj or not. Greg says Maj adjace for this first week.
Score and Review
Score (10): One of the best episodes of Cheap Heat I’ve ever heard. Not something I thought I’d write, given Shoemaker’s departure, but this was an awesome listen. Rosenberg and Greg were joined by Jonathan Coachman, who is extremely open and honest during this discussion. They touched on a TON of topics and broke down the entire episode of Raw. This was an excellent listen, and if this is what the future holds for Cheap Heat, I can’t wait.