->'''Manager:''' It's a secret, so keep it under your head, but the most popular robot always wins.\\
'''Bender:''' You mean I'm not a great fighter? I just won 'cause I'm popular?\\
'''Manager:''' Bingo!\\
'''Bender:''' WOOHOO! I'M POPULAR!
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''

Have you ever gotten [[UltimateShowdownOfUltimateDestiny into an argument]] where you have to defend your beloved Local Sports Team's honor and superiority against the "merits" of that honorless and inept OpposingSportsTeam? Time consuming and [[Administrivia/{{Natter}} pointless debates]] ensue (they really should just accept that that Local Sports Team is better and move on with their lives). If things get really bad, you can always wait for both teams to play against each other to settle the issue.

There's just one problem. Your team is in Major League Rugby, and theirs is a peewee soccer team. ''[[UnderdogsNeverLose And they win.]]''

This isn't the RagtagBunchOfMisfits beating an [[TheEmpire Evil Empire]], they don't have TheAce or MarySue leading them to a last second win by [[FlawExploitation exploiting]] a WeaksauceWeakness or using a DramaPreservingHandicap, they're normal and otherwise mundane, or even notably horrible. They are however far more popular and sell merchandise far better than your team. And somehow, much like ThePowerOfFriendship, their Popularity Power gives them that added boost to take on teams far, far, ''far'' above [[SuperWeight their league]] that should logically crush them like so many naive hopes and dreams under tax returns.

ComicBooks tend to fall to this a lot, much like an EnsembleDarkHorse but canonized in media. The super hero in question is usually the kind that stars in WolverinePublicity or is a BadassNormal in a team of supers. Authors then give them PowerCreepPowerSeep until they can take on anyone and win [[NoSell without flinching]], or at least won't lose, to someone who should easily beat them. The means to this are usually liberal applications of PlotInducedStupidity or ForgotAboutHisPowers to the opponent, a few {{Contrived Coincidence}}s to help the hero (a fire extinguisher near a fire villain), or JokerImmunity to make a popular villain's outright defeat impossible.

Note: when a character in their own title [[TheWorfEffect makes short work]] of a [[WolverinePublicity more popular or widely-known guest star]], that is '''[[Administrivia/NotASubversion not]]''' [[Administrivia/NotASubversion a subversion]] of this trope. I'm looking at you, example section.

Compare PanderingToTheBase, WolverinePublicity, SpotlightStealingSquad, PowerCreepPowerSeep, RunningTheAsylum. Related to JokerImmunity and ContractualImmortality since some characters will never get caught/KilledOffForReal because of their popularity.

Contrast TheWorfEffect. See also StoryBreakerTeamUp. For the out-of-universe version, where a ''work'' has power because it's popular, see QualityByPopularVote.


* The ''Anime/ViewtifulJoe'' anime adaption did with this Alastor. In the game he's not seen as an especially tough fight, but he's an EnsembleDarkhorse in the anime which led to him being presented as the strongest villain in the first season besides the BigBad. This trope likely also played in reverse with Fire-Leo, who in the game is [[ThatOneBoss unanimously regarded as the toughest fight]], which meant fans complaints about how hard he was made the anime turn him into an AdaptationalWimp.
* InUniverse. In ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', the resident FakeUltimateHero Mr. Satan actually helped in saving the world, and possibly the entire universe. How? [[spoiler:He actually requested the residents of Earth to share their energy with him (actually Goku), and they readily agree, as Mr Satan is famed for saving the world from Cell (again, actually Gohan) and hence they share their energy with 'him', allowing Goku to FINALLY defeat Kid Buu. The most egregious part is that when Goku himself requested the denizens of Earth to share energy, they didn't cooperate, [[KillEmAll as they all have been revived recently, having been killed by Fat Buu and later Super Buu]], and hence skeptical.]] Good thing Goku brought Mr. Satan along.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The Marvel comic series ''X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl'' outright has Doctor Strange stating that if people are missed enough, if they are popular enough, the laws of physics break and they can come back. Of course...Doctor Strange is suffering from a mental illness in this story so take this revelation with a grain of salt.
* TheIncredibleHulk has been accused of this for years, but it became most apparent in ''ComicBook/WorldWarHulk'' where he easily defeats people he has no business defeating, like Comicbook/DoctorStrange. Though whether is it due strictly to popularity and PlotInducedStupidity or the Hulk actually should be able to defeat such characters is often debated.
* Franchise/{{Batman}} has become a walking DeusExMachina in comic books and "versus debates" thanks to the words [[CrazyPrepared "with prep time"]]. Given enough prep time, [[MemeticBadass he is speculated to be able to defeat]]: {{Superman}}, ComicBook/{{Galactus}}, {{ComicBook/Darkseid}}, [[ComicBook/TheSandman Death]], Taxes, Tofu, and Jelly Beans. The sheer amount of times he's faced Superman and lived would qualify him here even if nothing else would.
** The 'Batman smacks down Superman' issue was subverted in ''[[ComicBook/DCTheNewFrontier The New Frontier]]''; initially, it appears that Batman handed Superman his cape after Superman attempted to arrest Batman, who was refusing to [[SuperRegistrationAct register or resign as a superhero]]. [[spoiler: It's eventually revealed that the two men staged it as a protest against [=McCarthyism=] and the witch-hunts of the 1950s. At Superman's urging, no less.]]
** More concretely, he made contingency plans in one arc to take each member of the JusticeLeagueOfAmerica down should they go crazy. Of course, they [[GoneHorriblyWrong fall into the wrong hands]], and work remarkably well on all the heroes.
*** Even those plans are sometimes criticized by readers. The plan against Flash, for example, relies on him vibrating through a special bullet, instead of just, y'know, moving out of the way.
** In several stories, it's later expanded to note that every single one of the Justice League members have at least some vague plan to take out their team-members in case any one of them goes rogue. They vary in effectiveness, though. [[Comicbook/GreenLantern Hal Jordan's]] contingency plan shows one of his own moments of Popularity Power - his plan to defeat Batman was to create a jetpack, strap it to him, and shoot him as far away as possible to be sure. Despite certain obvious flaws, his plan ''worked'' (even if it was entirely unnecessary for a guy that can casually exceed the speed of light and destroy planets without trying).
** In one alternate universe, after Jason Todd was killed Batman went ...a ''little'' more nuts than normal...and ''killed every single villain on Earth'', resulting in a utopia. ''No one thought this was unlikely.''
** Fortunately Creator/AlanMoore seems to be immune to Popularity Power. During Moore's run on ''Comicbook/SwampThing'' Batman takes on the much more powerful title character with plenty of prep time after making careful preparations, including putting wood cutting buzz-saws on the Batmobile and bringing a herbicide thrower. Comicbook/SwampThing wipes the floor with him.
*** There are a few crossovers where Batman isn't shown as an all-around invincible badass. In one crossover between Spider-Man and Batman, they got into a brief scuffle and Peter grabbed Bats, tossed him half-way across the building. The priceless look on Bruce's face said it all as he was being thrown so easily.
** And sometimes, even [[CrazyPrepared "with prep time"]] is unnecessary. Like putting down Cheetah, who is a recurrent Wonder Woman villain, at times able to take a punch from Superman (who, for the uninitiated, has SuperStrength and SuperSpeed, which Batman lacks), with a single punch, running with three adults on his back, and sucking enough bullets to sink a frigate. And apparently, [[TripleShifter doesn't need to sleep]].
** One issue of Batman Confidential had him fighting several members of the proto-Justice League. He took down WonderWoman, ComicBook/TheFlash, Comicbook/GreenLantern, and Comicbook/{{Aquaman}}. This was their first meeting, and he didn't know what any of their abilities were when the fight started. It helped that neither did the writer. Let's see... throwing a smoke bomb in front of The Flash is yet another example of writers forgetting that 1. He has SuperReflexes and even so wouldn't immediately crash into a wall if blinded 2. If you're in a small room with The Flash, there is no time to throw something before he reaches you. There's not time for a human to do ''anything'' before he reaches you. Wonder Woman cannot be taken out by kicking her in the stomach with human strength. At a best case scenario it's ineffective. Worse case, you break your foot. The same goes for ComicBook/MartianManhunter. Batman's ability to manhandle Aquaman or utterly incapacitate Comicbook/GreenLantern with a batrope is also just slightly dubious (Aquaman has Wonder Woman levels of SuperStrength and Green Lantern can make literally anything he can think of with his ring).
*** The Wonder Woman scenario is even worse. Batman at first broke his knuckles punching her, which she did not even feel. Then he kicks her in the stomach, reasoning ""she has to breathe"", an attack which has much less chance of putting down a normal human, let alone a superhuman, but she is down and out. And then he is fighting the rest of her friends with few broken fingers. God...
** Creator/FrankMiller's Batman/Spawn crossover actually has their fight be even, ''to a degree.'' Batman beats down Spawn, but when Spawn turns the tables the rest of the fight is conveniently '''off panel.'''
** Wonder Woman beat down Batman in one of her issues. A criminal Batman was after sought sanctuary in Wonder Woman's headquarters, and Batman demanded she turn her over. Wondy said no. With her foot. In fact, WonderWoman is a good case of RealityEnsues, as his track record against her has been slightly against him. She's a FlyingBrick with no obvious weaknesses who often sees through his ruses.
** Though in a Justice League issue, Batman fights a demonically possessed and thus enhanced Wonder Woman. Instead of getting stomped into the pavement, he gives her a fight, scoring some good hits, even drawing blood and temporarily restraining her at a point with nothing but his bare hands. Given their massive strength and durability difference this should be impossible
* Batman's other villains Bane and Deathstroke have benefited from this as well, like the time Bane onepunched the aforementioned Cheetah without being on Venom.
* Despite allegedly being barely superhuman,[[note]]He's supposedly at the absolute peak of what normal humans can be capable of, i.e. as if he trained to that level like an Olympic athlete[[/note]] some of ComicBook/CaptainAmerica's feats have gone seemingly far beyond what he "should" be able to do. Any average human superhero or villain who goes up against him is sure to lose. Even superpowered denizens like Franchise/SpiderMan and Wolverine fold before the Cap. And if that weren't enough, Captain America has actually gone rounds against [[ComicBook/SubMariner Namor]], Hulk, and the other super heavyweights of the MarvelUniverse and STILL come out on top (or at the very least, fought these beings to a draw). Why? Because he's popular. Because he wears the red, white, and blue. And to top it all off, Marvel loves him so much that they'll almost never have the guy lose, just like DC is almost never going to have Batman lose. [[spoiler: 2017's "Secret Empire" saga may actually change that, when it comes to Hydra Cap.]]
** Namor has got the worst from it, (mostly due to the lack of respect he has from more recent writers. Cap once knocked him out with a single shield throw (though to be fair Namor was not as powerful then), and then another time managed to defeat him after an extended fight through a shield bash. And another time, Cap defeated a clone of Namor who was created by Mr. Sinister, who had defeated the original Human Torch, in 3 pages. Namor on another occasion has struggled to wrestle Cap's shield from his hands, which is totally absurd considering the difference between their strength levels.
** This is made especially ridiculous in the animated movie, ''WesternAnimation/UltimateAvengers'', which has the team fight The Hulk in the finale and has Cap last better than any others who engage him in a direct fight. Notably, The Hulk takes down ComicBook/TheMightyThor (an ACTUAL GOD) in two blows. Cap gets thrown all over the place and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome manages to endure around/over FOUR.]] Sure, he's bleeding and disoriented afterwards, but logically he shouldn't even be conscious.
** During the Reigning storyline, Rune King Thor, which is THOR empowered with BOTH the Odinforce (his father Odin's power) and power gained from magical Asgardian Runes, curbstomps pretty much everyone in his path, even defeating both Thing and Hulk TOGETHER off-panel, but Cap lays quite the beatdown on him. [[TheWorfEffect Consistency, what's that?]]
** Although there are a few well-known instances of Captain America subverting this trope. There are plenty of battles where he shows up, makes an inspirational speech about determination over power, then gets his ass handed to him (most famously against Korvac, ComicBook/{{Thanos}}, and the Masters of Evil).
*** Though in the case of Korvac, Cap is shown to be visibly hurting him, making him cry out in. The fact that Cap's putting the hurt on a cosmic entity itself would be [[CoolButStupid cool, yet stupid]], but on top of that, before and after the hurting Cap put on Korvac, he was withstanding blows from seriously pissed, legit class 100s like Thor, Iron Man and Wonder Man, which makes it more absurd, because anyone who can be hurt by Cap should literally explode from full force punches from those within Thor's strength class.
** It should be noted that Cap's shield is often described as playing merry havoc with the laws of physics. For example, it's not just indestructible (it can shrug off a direct hit from everything short of Thor with the power of Odin), but it also arrests most (if not all) of the momentum directed at it, too. One imagines that works in reverse when used as a weapon. But still, all it should take is one shot from most people listed here and Cap is down for the count. To put in perspective just ''how'' weird Cap's shield is, the Avengers were, at one point, defeated by Molecule Man, an extremely powerful individual who can manipulate matter at the molecular level. Molecule Man messes around with the hero's weapons, including ''{{Mjolnir}},'' but it's Cap's shield that freaks him out the most, not the ancient Asgardian magical weapon of storms. Why? [[UncannyValley It's never explained...]]
*** In a ComicBook/FantasticFour story, Cap's shield takes Gladiator ({{Superman}}'s CaptainErsatz) at bay for minutes. Heat vision ("The heart of a star") and lighting-fast, moon-blasting punches don't even ''ruin the painting'' of the shield. Maybe it's not even ComicBook/CaptainAmerica Popularity Power in action - the Star and Strips logo must be a reality breaker.
*** It must be also noted that how much force Cap's shield can protect him also is very much DependingOnTheWriter. In one story, Daredevil punching on the shield is forcing Cap back, while in another story it can take hits from Iron Man no problem. Cyclops blasts him a mile away in one story, while in another story the shield protects him from a blast from Galactus herald Airwalker, which [=KOs=] both Iron Man and Thor who were standing right next to him. On another occasion, Cap protects himself from a blast using his shield which knocks out Wolverine and Carol Danvers, both bonafide superhumans, while in another story landing shield first from a building hurts him. In one story, he is sent rocketing from a punch from Namor UNDERWATER (where he is at his strongest) but is unharmed and in another story, landing on water from a great height shield first knocks him out. In one story She-Hulk (someone who is several times stronger than Cap) has trouble blocking a {{Mjolnir}} throw with the shield and an ordinary human dies protecting Cap from a blow from Thunder Ball in another story, but Cap has no problem blocking attacks from characters far stronger and powerful than Thor or Thunderball. Even when he has shields that do not have absorbing capabilities, he has no problem. He once, using a pure adamantium shield, blocked a steel beam swung by Mister Hyde, a class 50 Thor villain with no problem, which by all means should have shattered every bone in Cap's arm. Even worse, in another story, he is shown blocking hits from the Destroyer Armor with a (his original) steel shield, and the armor punching Thor in the same comic was shown to be shaking the entire city.
** During the 90s, Cap had an encounter with a few of the X-Men in a scuffle which saw him getting frozen from the waist down by Iceman. The move did ''not'' stop Captain America on his tracks. He then somersaulted across the air and knocked Iceman out ''while his entire lower body was frozen'', meaning that he shouldn't even have the kind of momentum to pull off such a move. Not only that, he effortlessly beat the crap out of Beast. To make things clear, Hank [=McCoy=] is no Hulk or Thor, but he's still a highly dangerous mutant who possesses strength, speed, and agility far better than the best of Olympic athletes AND he can lift well over thirty tons. That didn't stop the Cap from making short work of him. [[FromBadToWorse It got worse]] in the X-Men vs Avengers storyline when Cap went up against Gambit. During the fight, Gambit used his kinetic powers to charge up Cap's suit and levelled him with an explosion that should have reduced any human or peak human fighter to a charred skeleton. Immediately after the explosion, Cap emerged from the blast with no injuries and proceeded to punch Gambit out like nothing happened to him.
** Cap's powers themselves are sometimes overblown, as his accelerated healing is shown to have overcome a virus which those with bonafide healing factors couldn't.
** Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 parodies it best:
-->"I wear the flag. That means I don't lose."
** Or like a fan put it ""Cap is the sign of human arrogance. The humans wants to believe that this is their peak""
** Or like another fan put it, ""a sign of patriotic arrogance""
** ComicBook/CivilWar at least is fair about about it. ComicBook/IronMan always wipes the floor with Cap in their various duels, causing him to need rescue by more powerful allies, unless Cap cheats by shorting out his armor in which case ComicBook/IronMan is basically helpless to do anything but lie there and eat shield, not really making Cap look all that powerful.
*** Even there, it is questionable, since it was the Extremis armor, which allowed Iron Man to be unharmed from deep-space pressures, take hits from pissed off Thor who was not holding back, and while low on power, take blows from Spider-Man (who himself is far stronger than Cap) when Spidey was enhanced to twice his normal levels and even be unharmed from a point-blank nuclear explosion while low on power. So Cap's shield strikes > ground zero nuke explosion?
** Civil War is also one of the times that Captain America defeated Spider-Man. This time Spidey offers a meager justification for it: "There is no 'next move' to read, for him, it's all one long move from start to finish, he has it all planned out in advance while you're still trying to react to his last blow.", which of course ignores quite a number of things about Spidey and Marvel in general but there you have it.
*** Actually Spider-Man was not beaten, but even then, Cap was dominating, and hurting Spider-Man with his punches, and to make it worse, Spider-Man was doubly enhanced from his normal stats, ans wearing an armor which made him bulletproof and allowed him to take hits from Titanium Man, the Iron Man foe. And despite being so enhanced Spidey still failed to defeat Cap despite landing a few hits, not even knocking him back.
** Captain America has also one-punched Thunderball, another class 50 Thor villain, who has tangled with heavyweights other than Thor like Hulk, Hercules and Iron Man. To make it even absurd, in the same book, just few pages ago, he was fighting evenly with the class 60 Giant-Woman.
** SelfDemonstrating/{{Deadpool}} has been shown as possibly being Cap's superior. In their first meeting, Deadpool takes out the (mind-controlled) Captain with [[http://www.4thletter.net/gavok/deadpool/9.jpg a solid hit to the junk]]. In a recent team-up, an enraged Deadpool got into a heated battle with Steve Rogers, now Super Soldier. In that battle, Deadpool managed to put a really good hurting on the former Captain America. Just when it seemed that Deadpool was finally overpowering Rogers, he was shot in the back with several tranquilizer darts to end the battle and even then Deadpool was the one still standing while Cap was the one on his knees who looked worse for wear. Considering how Captain America usually shows up other superheroes like Wolverine and Spider-Man in their own comic books, it's quite amazing that Deadpool managed to come off looking really strong against Captain America with the implication that he might have won their interrupted battle if he were to continue going all-out.
* Heroes aren't the only ones with Popularity Power. ComicBook/DoctorDoom has become a villainous equivalent of Batman who can defeat anyone (given enough "prep time" (admittedly a FAR more stable claim than Batman, but still quite ridiculous)). Despite being the villain of the story, the good doctor has gained [[DracoInLeatherPants an immense following of fans]] who believe he's capable of defeating anyone and anything, including the most powerful beings in the comic books multiverse. Given enough time to study opponents, it is said that Doom could defeat ComicBook/{{Thanos}}, ComicBook/{{Galactus}}, ComicBook/{{Magneto}}, [[ComicBook/IncredibleHulk Hulk]], [[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]], ComicBook/{{Darkseid}}, Franchise/{{Superman}}, Franchise/{{Batman}}, ComicBook/SilverSurfer, UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}}, and even the almighty Rubik's Cube. It really is an almost endless list.\\\
A really ridiculous example of Doom oozing [[GodModeSue God Mode Suedom]] was during an arc where he teamed up with Dr. Voodoo and battled their way across hordes of demons. Dr. Voodoo got taken down by Ghost Rider but before Ghost Rider could finish Voodoo, Doom came in and took Ghost Rider out with one punch. This is a highly dubious feat considering Ghost Rider has been shown to be able to fight toe to toe with Dr. Strange before, take some of his best attacks, and even defeat the Sorcerer Supreme after a brutal mystical fight. And of course, Doom's powers are only second best compared to Strange. Apparently, the message that the writers want to drive home is that one punch from Doom is greater than the sum of two Sorcerer Supremes put together.
* In the ''Suicide Kings'' SelfDemonstrating/{{Deadpool}} storyline, Comicbook/ThePunisher beats Deadpool up to the point where he needs rescuing by Outlaw and [[spoiler: Daredevil]]. ''With a sword''. This is despite the Punisher being an ordinary human and Deadpool being a guy in peak physical fitness who heals all injuries, never gets tired and is almost definitely the best swordfighter in the Marvel Universe - plus, it's ''his book!'' In fact, any fight between someone with a HealingFactor and someone without is only going to end one way - that would be why they apparently put DP's factor on a major go-slow for this series.
** Punisher was on the receiving end in a Punisher/Batman crossover. Bats beat him in about two panels and described his fighting style as that of a bar brawler, which given Frank Castle's rather extensive training includes SEAL training and one particular writer went into detail on his martial arts techniques....But mostly, that crossover is also another stupid case of Batman's own Popularity Power at work.
* That time Spidey took down Firelord, a former Herald of Galactus. We're talking ComicBook/SilverSurfer-level power. Granted, Firelord swore he would fight Spider-Man in [[CombatByChampion single combat]] (and not just, you know, OBLITERATE NEW YORK STATE WITH A THOUGHT). Spidey beat him after throwing him in the East River, tricking him into a building in the process of being demolished, and exploding a gas station on him, but come on. This guy flies through stars!
** To further explain how batshit insane this is: Heralds of Galactus are high order {{Reality Warper}}s capable of exceeding the speed of light several thousand times over and demolishing planets without trying. The average Herald treats an enraged Hulk as a moderate ''annoyance''; indeed, the Silver Surfer (who at this point in his continuity was only mildly more powerful than Firelord) once defeated the Hulk by the strategy of "let him keep punching me, without any effect, until he finally gets bored and leaves".
** They did attempt a justification for this that is equally flimsy -- supposedly, Spider-Man was able to outfight Firelord by adopting a hit-and-run approach that fully utilizes his agility and speed to dodge his attacks and go in-and-out, which proved to be an effective counter against Firelord using raw power. This still doesn't make much sense considering the cosmically-empowered being can go faster than the speed of light ''at will''. While Spidey is certainly fast, capable of appearing as a blur to normal humans at peak, he's still below the level of your average speedster. But this is the closest they could get to justifying why Spidey could pull this off.
** And in the storyline immediately ''after'' the Firelord/Spidey fight -- and we mean immediately after, as in the very same day -- Firelord got smacked by the full power of the Sanctuary II battlestation, which had just finished spanking ''the entire Skrull Armada''. Firelord was blasted all the way across the solar system and headfirst into a moon at relativistic velocities... and ''got up out of the smoking crater, staggered a short way, and only then collapsed unconscious''. So, Spidey's fist > Death Star level firepower and near-lightspeed collisions with celestial bodies.
** It gets worse. Literally ''every single appearance'' by Firelord in comics prior to this story had Firelord repeatedly both no-selling and dishing out Thor-level hits without straining himself. From Thor, Hercules, Ego the Living Planet, and the original Phoenix. Firelord had a 100% consistent pattern of needing Hulk-class strength to so much as bruise him throughout his entire publication history... until "Spider-Man vs. Firelord". This one was a TropeCodifier.
** Said incident was even mocked by Spidey himself in ''VideoGame/MarvelUltimateAlliance2'', assuming you play as him during the endgame.
-->"Did I mention I beat up Firelord once? No, seriously. Firelord."
** ComicBook/SecretWars also, infamously, had Spidey mop the floor with the ComicBook/XMen, including Wolverine, all on his own. (Though in this case it should be noted that Spider-Man didn't actually "defeat" people like Colossus and Rogue, just tangled them up in webbing long enough for him to escape.)
* In an issue of ''ComicBook/TheInfinityCrusade'', it is shown that Spidey's popularity power can even evolve into GodModeSue, with him defeating the combined forces of Thor, Moondragon, Invisible Woman, Sasquatch, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Moon Knight, Multiple Man, Gamora and Archangel while being under a magical illusion that makes it seem to Spidey that he is fighting his ''human'' friends. That's right, Spiderman defeated them all while holding back like how he would against ordinary humans.
* For {{Wolverine}}, take for example ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_vs_DC Marvel vs. DC/DC vs. Marvel]]'' comics, which was literally one big popularity contest. One issue had a scene in which Wolverine is able to make short work of Lobo, an alien being that gave Superman a run for his money and destroyed an entire planet, in less than four panels, simply because polls showed that his stats were higher that week. Moreover, both of them have regenerative healing, but Lobo is able to regenerate his entire body FromASingleCell if his entire body is destroyed. The best part? The final blow of the fight [[OffscreenMomentOfAwesome took place off-panel]], because, apparently, ''even the writers'' couldn't figure out how Wolverine could possibly win.
** According to Stan Lee the "single panel" part is a CoconutSuperpowers moment...the polls were held close enough to the publication of the DC vs. Marvel volumes that most of the comics had to be drawn before the polls were finished. The result was drawing all the fights such that they could easily go either way until the very end.
*** And the artist had drawn an alternate ending depicting Lobo's victory (in fact, only the three final panels were different, where instead of Wolvie, it was Lobo raising his hand, picking the cigar from the counter and smoking it).
** A later issue of Lobo's own comic implied that he was ''paid'' to throw the fight regardless, which ''is'' in-character for him while also nicely avoiding an outright denial.
*** To be fair, the contest was whoever was ''immobile'' first. Maybe in a ''drinking contest'', Wolverine could hold his liquor better.
** The same series also had Wolverine's X-Men teammate ComicBook/{{Storm}} hand a smack-down to WonderWoman, which seemed more than a little unlikely to many objective observers; however, ''X-Men'' titles were selling better than Wonder Woman at the time.
*** Context on the above fight; Storm did not win by keeping the fight at range and spamming typhoons at Diana until she fell over, which would have at least made some kind of sense. Diana was able to make it to melee range and successfully connect with a kick to Storm's head, ''and Storm still stayed conscious''.
*** In addition, Diana's defeat then occurs when she attempts to block Storm's lightning with her magic bracelets and the electricity is conducted into her by the metal. ''Diana's magical bracelets are specifically non-conductive to energy'' -- she's used them to block things like Superman's heat vision and Zeus' thunderbolts.
*** On the subject of Wonder Woman, in the 90's there was a series of DC Versus Marvel trading cards. When it came time for the long-awaited [[Comicbook/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justice League]] vs. [[Comicbook/TheAvengers Avengers]] set, the artist had Wonder Woman, arguably the most powerful heroine in the Franchise/DCUniverse, face off against ...Comicbook/BlackWidow. While Black Widow is extremely popular and very kickass in her own right, she's still a BadassNormal with no superpowers, and as such shouldn't be much of a threat to Wonder Woman.
** In his "Brainwashed by Hydra" arc, Wolverine takes on the like of Namor, the ComicBook/FantasticFour, and Creator/StanLee knows [[WolverinePublicity how many others]], without getting beaten or captured once. While this was arguably justified by Wolverine being given additional support by HYDRA (such as being teleported in and out on top of his targets, or given supplementary weapons), the key word is "arguably".
*** Somehow, Wolverine also managed to defeat ComicBook/TheIncredibleHercules with little difficulty. The same guy who's fought evenly with Heralds of Galactus and Thor.
*** A "[[{{Elseworld}} What If...?]]" of this storyline saw Wolverine practically ''wipe out the entire MarvelUniverse''. This was especially headachey because it had ComicBook/{{Magneto}}, who canonically pulled the metal from Wolvy's bones and left him for dead in the original, shanked. It did, however, have Kitty prove why phasing is awesome.
* Parodied by the Marvel character of ComicBook/SquirrelGirl, who manages to hand some of the most powerful, godlike villains in the MarvelUniverse a humiliating defeat despite having not particularly impressive superpowers.
** It's reached the point where other people are starting to recognize her tendency to beat nearly godlike beings, with {{Deadpool}} gaining extra recognition for being powerful enough to be defeated by Squirrel Girl.
*** Twice.
** This is helped along by those writers who dislike the idea of a joke character winning against people who outclass her. Those writers invent {{Ret Con}}s or HandWave the victory away... and the rest of the writers have her beat up someone bigger instead.
** As her squirrel companion Tippy-Toe once pointed out in a BreakingTheFourthWall address to fans who reacted more humorlessly to her tendency to defeat Dr. Doom:
--> "Yeah, that's right. Squirrel Girl totally pwns Doc Doom. Know why? '[[ArmedWithCanon Cause of somethin' that happened in a story by]] '''Steve-freakin'-Ditko'''! That's ''so'' in continuity. [[TakeThat So just deal with it, fanboy]]."
* A notable aversion came in one of the DC/Marvel crossovers, when the JLA went up against the X-Men. Batman, the most popularity-powered character of them all, sprang a surprise attack on Comicbook/{{Cyclops}} who, while he has plenty of fans, also attracts more hate than probably any other X-Man (with the possible exception of Comicbook/{{Gambit}}). Guess which one got taken down.
* In ''Comicbook/{{Fables}}'' this is one speculated source of the eponymous Fables' powers. The more popular the story about a Fable is, the more powerful they are. For example, Snow White recovered from a sniper's bullet to the skull--her sister Rose Red might not have survived since most people have forgotten her part of the fairytale-- Frau Totenkinder is one of the most powerful Fables in existence because she is every anonymous witch in folklore, and Goldilocks raises this to a level bordering on BlessedWithSuck when she discovers she can't heal any faster than the fish are eating her.
** Jack Horner, who is every Jack in fairy tales (except Jack Sprat), exploited this by going to Hollywood and making a trilogy of movies about him. He's now effectively immortal, but [[GoodThingYouCanHeal not invincible]].
** The series has actually avoided directly answering the question on whether Popularity Power is actually in effect. Frau Totenkinder for her part actually expresses doubt on whether it is or not.
* {{Deadpool}} once realized that this was the reason that he can never die, so [[DeathSeeker in order to die]] he decided to [[spoiler: go out and [[TakeThat kill]] [[NoFourthWall all of his fans]]]].
** Does the same in ''ComicBook/DeadpoolKillsTheMarvelUniverse''. He also gives an interesting speech to Wolverine about his healing factor. He states that it's incredibly fitting: the popular character has a power that makes him immune to death. Deadpool berates Wolverine because according to him, Logan doesn't live because of his skills, but because the fans love him. This may come off as hypocritical, because in that alternate universe, Deadpool managed to kill people that he should logically never be able to kill (like The Avengers, Spider-Man, Galactus, ect...). Why? Because he's just as popular as Wolverine.
-->'''Deadpool:''' Your tendency to come back from the brink of death has nothing to do with your healing factor. Your mutant power isn't regeneration. It's ''popularity''.
* Back in 2000, Creator/KurtBusiek and Stuart Immonen wrote a short graphic novel, ''Superstar'', about a hero who was powered by popularity. Kind of. The hero of the story gained superpowers as long as he had the energy to spare, but it was limited and did run out. His father ended up merchandising him to hell and back (even against his express wishes sometimes) with toy lines, live shows, televising his battles, etc. Part of the cost to watch the shows or buying the merch? A small energy donation, not even enough to make you wheeze from tiredness. Of course, being really popular and taking energy donations from millions of fans, he was actually rather powerful.
* The Marvel villain Arcade has to date, been 100% unsuccessful at killing any superheroes or villains that feature in his appearances. It's assumed that all of his success with Murderworld assassinations occur offscreen. Killing overweight and out of shape buisnessmen is one thing. But he is clearly out of his league with superpowered characters. But his offbeat characterization (not too unlike SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker) is probably why he gets to stay around for the occasional guest appearance, and trying to TakeALevelInBadass in the pages of the cheap ''Film/BattleRoyale''/''Literature/HungerGames'' ripoff known as ''Comicbook/AvengersArena.''
* ComicBook/{{Deathstroke}} is an incredibly popular villain. So of course, writers have to amp up his badassery from reasonable to absurd. The man has enhanced reflexes, speed, strength and intelligence, but only several times above peak human as opposed to, oh, Kryptonian level. In Identity Crisis #3, ''he single-handedly took out an entire Justice League roster''. He stops Black Canary from using her Canary Cry via a bag over her head. (That scream of hers can rip through steel). He beats the Atom senseless with the light from an ordinary laser pointer because 'the Atom has no mass when he shrinks'. (This directly contradicted how the Atom's power has worked since his very first appearance in comics.) Green Lantern Kyle Rayner can't use his ring because Deathstroke grabs his hand, and uses his own willpower to overpower Kyle's. (Not only do GL rings ''not work that way'', at that time Kyle's ring had a failsafe put in to refuse commands from anyone not having Kyle's brainwave pattern... and that's before you factor in the pure unleaded stupidity of Kyle actually being caught within arms' reach of Deathstroke at all, seeing as how '''he can fly and Deathstroke can't'''.) Oh, but at least in those cases, he put a ''minimal'' degree of effort in. Against the Flash, Wally West just ran right onto the tip of Deathstroke's sword to dodge his bombs. (Wally West can move at the speed of light -- on a ''slow'' day. To be able to move too fast for Wally to be able to react in time, Deathstroke's sword would have needed a built-in hyperdrive.) He was eventually defeated by Green Arrow poking his bad eye with an arrow in frustration.
* Discussed in ''ComicBook/TheUnbelievableGwenpool''. Being an avid comic book reader that somehow found her way into the mainstream Marvel universe, Gwen is perfectly aware that she is in a book and that she has nothing to fear but cancellation. When going up against SelfDemonstrating/{{Deadpool}}, she is sure she will win because he's just a guest star in her book. Deadpool points out that he has an enormous fanbase and there is no way a D-lister like her could kill him which he demonstrates by easily overpowering her and her team. The only way she survives is by pointing out that the low-tier villain that trapped them and forced them to fight is the actual antagonist of the crossover which makes Deadpool realize they should team up to go after him instead.
** Invoked again by [[spoiler: Future Gwenpool]] in the fourth arc. She kills a future version of ComicBook/MilesMorales explaining to a shocked Gwen that it's not a problem because she knows she's not allowed to do it. Indeed Miles wakes up in his bed thinking his death was just a dream.
** Also discussed and played with: [[spoiler: Future Gwenpool]] says that if Gwen becomes evil, she will have a long, successful comic series and could do whatever she wants. This is because the fans loved her as a villain, and her no matter how much she abuses the universe and its people, StatusQuoIsGod will be invoked and fix any damage. Our Gwen, however, rejects this future and refuses to turn evil, because she can't bare to harm all the characters she's grown to love and care about. But she's fully aware that taking away her rise to fame would prevent her from becoming a hit and keeping her book from being cancelled, likely dooming herself to one day.

* Go back and watch ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'', before Boba Fett's popularity rocketed. Boba has his gun taken out and then gets knocked over like a wuss by a rookie Jedi. He is then propelled into the side of Jabba's sailbarge when a blind man set off his jetpack. By accident. He then rolls right into the Sarlacc's mouth. The final humiliation is granted by the Sarlacc letting out a satisfied belch after swallowing him. Now compare him to the man who, among other things, went head to head with Darth Vader in a Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse story and came out of it alive.
** It gets even better, in another one he ''shoots his way out'' of the sarlacc like some sort of FPS player character; said sarlacc is nearly dead now.
** Taken to extremes in the pre-Empire novels, where he actually almost killed Mace Windu (aka [[Creator/SamuelLJackson Samuel-Motherfucking -Jackson]]) in revenge for his dad's death in ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'', when he was no older than thirteen years old.
** It should be noted that Lucas had no idea Boba was so popular when ''Return of the Jedi'' was made. He confesses that Boba would have gotten a much better send-off if he had known.
* ''Film/TheGreenHornet'': Kato being revamped into HyperCompetentSidekick taken UpToEleven was obviously inspired by Creator/BruceLee's increased popularity since playing the character.
* Agent Coulson of the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse was a fairly minor character in ''[[Film/IronMan1 Iron Man]]'' before he became a recurring character throughout the series. At the peak of his popularity, and once [[TheComicallySerious his characterization]] [[TheKnightsWhoSaySquee had developed]], he was suddenly killed in ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}''. Upon hearing of this, Website/{{Twitter}} and Website/{{Tumblr}} ''exploded'' with support for him to come back, campaigning the slogan [=#CoulsonLives=]. Their attempts were so successful that not only did Marvel bring Coulson BackFromTheDead ''and'' make him the star of ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'', [[AscendedMeme they even made tweeting #CoulsonLives unlock a trailer]] for the TV show.
* ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'': Batman has the advantage for most of the fight and nearly kills Superman at its climax, despite obviously being the far weaker character and practically everyone in-universe telling him he's no match for Supes. Admittedly it was the first time Clark was exposed to Kryptonite in this continuity so he didn't see it coming, and [[LetsYouAndHimFight he didn't really want to fight Batman to begin with]], but the fight still heavily relies on making Superman a dumb FlyingBrick who [[ForgotAboutHisPowers doesn't use any of his powers]] except SuperStrength (for example, Bats is somehow able to blind him with smoke grenades, despite Superman having X-Ray vision and super hearing). Of course, Batman is generally the more popular character to begin with, and after the mixed reception to ''Film/ManOfSteel'' Warner Bros. weren't confident in Superman as the leading man for the DC film universe, so this film was trying to push Batman as hard as it could.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Sylar from ''Series/{{Heroes}}''. He's cheated death a half a dozen times and reached [[WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief belief-defying]] heights of JokerImmunity because the writers seem in love with him. Not only does he have a myriad of powers (which he can [[NewPowersAsThePlotDemands increase as the plot demands]], though [[PowersAsPrograms not without some justification]]) he's survived two near fatal attacks (one of which he was originally planned to die from), escaped imprisonment three times, and Elle completely misses him twice with electric blasts when she nailed fast flyer West in one shot. In short, he's a VillainSue.
* In ''Series/{{Angel}}'', "Destiny" had Angel and Spike in a titanic, epic brawl in an episode sometimes labeled a 'fan dream.' Spike often leads fan polls in popularity with Angel right behind him. Remember, BadassDecay only happened because he was a fan favorite. [[spoiler:Originally the episode was to have Angel win, because it is his show, but the writers realised that they were missing a golden opportunity to drive home Angel's loss of motivation. Once Angel got back his groove in later episodes he would soundly beat Spike in a normal fight, even once as a puppet. It's also worth noting that Spike actually beat Buffy in a fight once, which Angel never did.]]
** This carried over from ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', where Spike became immensely popular and went from a recurring villain to one of the main characters and a HeelFaceTurn.
** Pretty much most of the focus of the ''Angel'' series was that he was well-known and going to be a popular player in the apocalypse. But on whose side? Turns out [[spoiler: he was well in the midst of it already; who said the apocalypse couldn't drag out over decades?]].
** Faith gets this as well. She was originally going to be written out and had been given the DesignatedMonkey treatment. Fans loved her however so she was kept for the remainder of season three. She then appeared in season four (Buffy) and one (Angel), eventually being [[PutOnABus put in a prison cell.]] She would return in season seven\four.
* In a bit of an odd example, ''Series/IronChef America'' and Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Now, he doesn't -win- an unfair amount, but he gets -chosen- more than every other chef in the show by a huge margin because he's the most popular Food Network star in the series. Basically, the episodes in which he's chosen get a lot more views than any other chef's, so Food Network has him picked all the time.
* Jerry Springer didn't win ''Series/DancingWithTheStars'', but he got a lot farther than his dancing talent alone would have carried him. It got to the point that he actually asked his fans to stop voting for him, as he only appeared on the show to learn to dance and was tired of coming back.
** This is also arguably the reason why Jerry Rice won out over Wrestling/StacyKeibler. Many people thought that Keibler was the most talented dancer on the show.
** In the British equivalent ''Series/StrictlyComeDancing'', John Sergeant famously pulled out because he felt that his popularity power was unfair on the contestants who were actually good dancers.
* Xena from ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'' was a beneficiary of this, having grown popular enough to have her own spinoff show after appearing on Hercules. Even though she's a [[BadassNormal mortal warrior]], Xena has gone on to beat people far above her weight class and accomplish other feats that one would think is impossible for someone who isn't a god or demi-god. In short, she's slain multiple deities from Greece and from other lands, single-handedly fought off entire armies, killed off almost all of the Olympians, fought off arch-angels, and defeated not one but TWO incarnations of the Judeo-Christian Devil. Admittedly, she does gain the ability to kill gods but even then, it's questionable if she should even be able to exercise that ability against gods as powerful and as experienced as Artemis and Athena.

* Not only does Creator/SternPinball's ''[[Pinball/XMenStern X-Men]]'' prominently feature a large ComicBook/{{Wolverine}} bust on the playfield, there is also a LimitedSpecialCollectorsUltimateEdition "Wolverine Blue" table with extra features and custom artwork.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* ProfessionalWrestling uses this trope to full advantage of course, with most wrestlers' positions on the cards determined entirely by how popular they are. However, most pro wrestling promoters aren't above subverting the trope, whether it's to establish a new gimmick, keep things unpredictable, or simply to give the fans a happy moment as the dominant {{heel}} gets beaten by the lowest of the low.
-->'''''{{Website/Wrestlecrap}}''''': ''There were 18 WCW Title victories in the year 2000; at 12 days [[StuntCasting David Arquette]] had a longer reign than Wresling/ChrisBenoit (who admittedly quit the day after winning), [[Wrestling/SidEudy Sid Vicious]], Wrestling/JeffJarrett three times, [[Wrestling/DiamondDallasPage DDP]], Wrestling/RicFlair twice, Wrestling/KevinNash, Wrestling/BookerT and Wrestling/VinceRusso.''
** One of the most well-known subversions was Wrestling/{{WCW}} wrestler Bill Wrestling/{{Goldberg}}, who, in his first match, got the standard {{Jobber}} treatment -- no music, no televised entrance, no flashy costume, just a quick announcement of name and hometown during his opponent's much flashier entrance. And then he won that match. And then 171 more. By the end of that streak, he had his own Popularity Power going.
** Another storyline involved a [[Wrestling/{{WWE}} WWF]] {{Jobber}} losing a few matches to better-known wrestlers under names like "The Cannonball Kid", "The Good Luck Kid", "The Kamikaze Kid", etc. until finally, now simply known as "The Kid", he scored an upset victory over [[Wrestling/ScottHall Razor Ramon]]. This earned him the name "The 1-2-3 Kid", as his entire gimmick was that he started getting upset victories, winning 2 more times against Razor Ramon, then beating other top heels as they came out of the woodwork to put the kid "in his place". Razor actually made a HeelFaceTurn simply by taking his losses in good humor and taking the kid under his wing. Eventually. As a side note, said kid was Wrestling/SeanWaltman, the wrestler later known as Syxx (in the [[Wrestling/NewWorldOrder nWo]]) and [[XPacHeat X-Pac]] (in Wrestling/DGenerationX).
*** Subverted once he became the {{Trope Namer|s}} for XPacHeat.
** And then there was the famous Wrestling/BarryHorowitz, whose 800-strong losing streak came to an abrupt end when he beat Skip of the Bodydonnas, rolling Skip up for a pinfall when he stopped to do push-ups in the middle of the match. He'd go on to get two more wins, one more against Skip and one against Hakushi, and again Hakushi was able to turn face by taking his loss in good spirits (of course, Hakushi's face turn was somewhat less successful than Razor's, as he went from the enigmatic badass "White Angel of Death" to a FunnyForeigner).
** Wrestling/{{ECW}} did this with a guy by the name of Wrestling/MikeyWhipwreck, who would take vicious beatings in the ring without getting in a lick of offense. Eventually, the fans started sympathizing with him, and started to root for Mikey to win � and when, as a surprise substitute for Terry Funk in a match for the ECW Tag Team Championship (with tag team partner [[Wrestling/MickFoley Cactus Jack]]), Mikey not only landed an offensive maneuver against his opponents ([[Wrestling/{{TPE}} The Public Enemy]]), but managed to get the pinfall and win the match, making him even more beloved amongst the fans.
*** WWE tried repeating it with Colin Delaney, formerly Colin Olsen of Wrestling/{{CHIKARA}}. However, the angle got abandoned about a month or so in.
** [[Wrestling/SteveLombardi "The Brooklyn Brawler" Steve Lombardi]], a man whose name has become synonymous with {{Jobber}}, holds a victory over Wrestling/TripleH.
** The Futurama example in the page quote, obviously.
* On the non-subverted side of the fence, there's Wrestling/HulkHogan. And Hulk Hogan always, always won, thanks to "the power of the Hulkamaniacs", even when faced with somebody who was bigger, badder, or just plain better. This went on for most of the '80s, and the beginning of the '90s, across two different wrestling promotions, before it got stale enough for a FaceHeelTurn to even be considered.
** There's the half-straight / half-inverted example of Wrestling/JohnCena, particularly from his WWE Championship win in 2005 until his return from an injury in 2008. The vast majority of the crowd (i.e. the men) absolutely loathed Cena and would call for his head at every turn... but due to Cena's popularity with women and children, he went on to ''constantly'' overcome the odds of more popular {{Heel}}s en route to one title run that lasted just three months shy of a year (and with only a three week break between his next one that lasted another five months) and one that went just over a month past a full year and even that was only ended due to aforementioned injury.
* In a Meta Example during the 1990s, Wrestling/TheUndertaker had his [[AmplifierArtifact urn]] stolen and melted down by [[Wrestling/TedDiBiase Ted [=DiBiase=]]]'s henchman, Kama Mustafa. Taker turned to [[FanCommunityNicknames his Creatures Of The Night]] to [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve give him the strength]] to beat Kama in a casket match. Being one of the most popular wrestlers in the [[Wrestling/{{WWE}} WWF]], he had no trouble getting enough.
* You can always tell when a FauxActionGirl {{face}} Diva is starting to get really popular with the fans: she'll start getting out-of-nowhere victories over heel Divas who are bigger and/or a great deal more athletic. Sometimes this will be due to [[MoralDissonance other face wrestlers helping the good girl out]] [[DoubleStandard (which is, of course, "cheating" when done by the heels)]], but at other times it's just due to the heel Diva's [[StupidEvil stupidity]] and/or [[BreakTheHaughty overconfidence]]. Which is how Wrestling/StacyKeibler, Wrestling/MariaKanellis, and Wrestling/KellyKelly were able to gain victories over Wrestling/MollyHolly, [[Wrestling/{{Melina}} Melina Perez]], and Wrestling/BethPhoenix, respectively, despite having none of their ability.
** See, WWE's plan was to push Wrestling/{{Jacqueline}} but untrained Sable got really popular and got pushed instead. Then Wrestling/TrishStratus, who had spent her first year as a valet, defeated Wrestling/{{Ivory}} in a match so fans began to take her seriously as a wrestler instead of another model. Since then it hasn't worked. When Kelly Kelly became Divas Champion and went over on Beth Phoenix twice, fans Wrestling/{{c|rowdchant}}hanted "BULL-SHIT!!" at her.
** Subverted with the debut of [[Wrestling/BellaTwins Brie Bella]] on ''[=SmackDown=]'', who was immediately put into a match against former Women's Champion [[Wrestling/LisaMarieVaron Victoria]]. Brie at first played the part of a LovableCoward, hiding from Victoria under the ring only to magically reappear from out from the under the other side of the ring, slip behind Victoria, and roll her up for a pin. Yes, in her very first match! Then it was eventually revealed that the girl who'd pinned Victoria was Brie's twin sister, Nikki, who had [[TagTeamTwins switched places with her in the middle of the match]]. (And then, double-subverted in that both of the Bella Twins remained faces for a time).
* [[Wrestling/GeorgeSteele George "The Animal" Steele]] has said since that his feud with [[Wrestling/RandySavage Randy "Macho Man" Savage]] wasn't intended to last as long as it did but it got so over that they ran with it.
* If a heel gets popular enough they may make a HeelFaceTurn (which tends to curb said popularity, making them do a FaceHeelTurn and so on and so forth). The most notable example in Ruthless Aggression and PGWWE is Wrestling/RandyOrton. Every time he attacked someone, people cheered him on, even when said person that was attacked was a highly popular face. It eventually reached a point that they had no choice but to turn Orton himself face. The dissolution of Legacy was originally have Wrestling/TedDibiaseJr as the face and Randy and Wrestling/CodyRhodes as the heels. However, Randy's popularity made it so they had to rewrite the storyline to make him the face. And his popularity continued to the point that he stayed face for three years and was only able to turn heel against the massively over Wrestling/DanielBryan, seeing as (with the exception of Wrestling/CMPunk), attacking anyone else would have still gotten him cheered.
** It should be noted that the only thing that changed about Randy was who he attacked. Otherwise he was still the same sadistic psychopath he's always been.
* The only times Wrestling/ShawnMichaels isn't booed in Canada is when he's in [[Wrestling/DGenerationX DX]], supposedly because of this trope. In fact, Shawn's so popular that his ChronicBackstabbingDisorder never managed to make the fans boo him outside of Canada -- until he screwed the massively over Wrestling/DanielBryan out of the WWE Championship.
** The fact that going against Wrestling/DanielBryan is enough to turn the massively popular Wrestling/RandyOrton and Wrestling/ShawnMichaels heel showcases ''his'' popularity power. Bryan had so much PopularityPower that it eventually forced them to change plans for [[Wrestling/WrestleMania the biggest show of the year]] just so that year's main event wouldn't implode in on itself.
* Despite losing in 2011's ''Forjando un Ídolo'', ''Sangre Nueva'' '''[[FailureHero and]]''' ''En Busca de un Ídolo'' tournaments, Titán was able to advance to the finals of "En Busca" and win the whole thing. Why? Because Wrestling/{{CMLL}} used a point system that was determined by fans votes. Essentially, fans demanded their favorite wrestler [[ThrowTheDogABone win already]]!
* Despite grooming Wrestling/KazuchikaOkada to succeed Wrestling/HiroshiTanahashi as the new face of the company, Wrestling/NewJapanProWrestling ended up putting Hiroshi Tanahashi's matches back in the main event over Okada's, even though Okada was IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Why? Because the fans voted for Hiroshi Tanahashi to stay in the main event! Historically, the IWGP Heavyweight belt hasn't necessarily been viewed as the most important of New Japan's, even thought the company usually presents it as the top prize, due to cases like this, as well as popular wrestlers like [[Wrestling/SatoruSayama Tiger Mask]] and Wrestling/ShinsukeNakamura making fans hold the Junior Heavyweight and Intercontinental belts in equal respect to it.
* Almost the entire reason behind Wrestling/BobSapp's success in Japan. K1 and Wrestling/{{All Japan|ProWrestling}} specifically picked him up from Wrestling/{{N|ationalWrestlingAlliance}}WA Wildside because they were in search of a ScaryBlackMan that would resemble a TV show villain but the fan response was the [[DracoInLeatherPants exact opposite]] of scared.
* Wrestling/TheRock ''tried'' to invoke this to put over his cousin Wrestling/RomanReigns at the 2015 Wrestling/RoyalRumble. If it had been for anything else, even if said event had occurred in Philadelphia like that year's Rumble had, it probably would've worked. However, the live crowd booed Rocky anyway, pissed at the company for doing such a terrible job of booking as of late and the fact that a CreatorsPet was getting what was essentially the biggest push any WWE Superstar could have. That's not to say Roman was ''that'' hated -- had his main event push come at a later date, the fans probably wouldn't have reacted so bad. However, his character was so mishandled by management, that since fans can't boo any officials besides the [=McMahons=], who are heels anyway, he's the one who had to take the brunt of the rage.
* Wrestling/AJStyles, who was such an awesome wrestler that he always got the loudest pop in Wrestling/{{TNA}}. Attempts to turn him heel failed because of this reason -- the most they ever managed was a HeroicNeutral [[WildCard tweener]]. AJ never managed to become a ''real'' heel until he went to Wrestling/NewJapanProWrestling, a company that had previously only seen his work personally a handful of times at the most, and became the new face of the Wrestling/BulletClub. Even then, he managed to win over the Japanese fans because he was, again, such an awesome wrestler. Said popularity would then follow him to Wrestling/{{WWE}}, where his shirt would sell out within ''less than an hour'' of his debut at the 2016 Wrestling/RoyalRumble, and his entrance theme would crack the iTunes' top 100 songs within a day of being uploaded.
* After their perennial rivals reDRagon had petitioned Wrestling/RingOfHonor's match maker Wrestling/NigelMcGuinness for a shot at Matt Taven and Mike Bennett of The Kingdom in {{revenge|byproxy}} for Wrestling/AdamCole's continual harassment of Kyle O'Reilly, Wrestling/TheYoungBucks {{Invoked|Trope}} this by petitioning ''the fans'' to get a shot at The Kingdom instead. [=McGuinness=] had already said yes to reDRagon and refused to go back on his word but did have The Bucks added to the match to appease the fans, making it a [[MeleeATrois three way]].
* With the retirement of Wrestling/DanielBryan, Wrestling/DeanAmbrose became the most popular wrestler on the main roster. While he isn't as popular as Bryan (no one is), the fans made it blatantly clear that they wanted him in the main event of ''Wrestling/WrestleMania 32''. Hence, the disappointment when the company gave that spot to Wrestling/RomanReigns (again) to, according to rumors, crown him as the next top babyface and Cena's successor for several years. They were ''so'' unhappy that it took the return of [[spoiler:Wrestling/ShaneMcMahon]] and Ambrose getting the Wrestling/BrockLesnar match (making him one of the sub-main events) to stop the majority from boycotting the PPV all together. Then the match happened, and it being a standard Lesnar squash (albeit a no holds barred extended one) caused fans to turn against everyone involved ''except'' Dean (because of this trope and because Dean was more-or-less the MVP of ''Wrestling/WrestleMania'' season, putting in so much work that it would be a disservice to everyone if they ''didn't'' reward him in some fashion). [[spoiler:The pop when he finally won the WWE Championship at the 2016 ''Wrestling/MoneyInTheBank'' PPV was easily one of the loudest heard all year]].
* The previous entry on IWGP fan votes doesn't mention who the number one contender to Okada's belt was for a reason. No Limit were once among New Japan's most popular {{tag team}}s, which basically won them a paid trip to North America, [[DemotedToExtra where they would be buried in TNA]]. Then they would rebuild in CMLL, a sign of things to come. TNA sent its World Heavyweight Champion Wrestling/JeffHardy to New Japan, NJPW attempted to use Hardy to jump start Wrestling/TetsuyaNaito's singles career and to say it [[GoneHorriblyWrong didn't work]] would be an understatement. Fans didn't care about the match, when Naito's partner Yujiro Takahashi turned on him because of the match or when Naito overcame the odds to ascend into IWGP title contention. When he was booed it was considered an improvement because fans often forgot about him entirely. So after "Okada" was voted out of the main event Naito went to Mexico again, hooked up with Rush and Log Ingobernables, saw how they turned [[XPacHeat absolute hatred from the crowd]] into [[HateSink something they could work with]] and took the idea back to NJPW to see if he could do the same with apathy. He fought his way into the G1 Climax and no one cared until they saw him basically [[TheSlacker slack]] his way to victory over an utterly perplexed [[TheAce Tanahashi]]. Fans suddenly loved Naito, who for the most part acted as if he ignored them, which made them love him more. Suddenly he was IWGP Intercontinental champion and fans were given the chance to vote for him to main event [=WrestleKingdom=] over Okada, though Naito of course [[DefiedTrope turned it down, saying NJPW should let the heavyweight title match go last like always]]. If he shows cares he might lose support after all.
* Wrestling/TheShield is ''the'' most popular faction of the modern era of WWE -- only Wrestling/TheNewDay can compare to their level of success. The fans love the Shield so much that even Wrestling/RomanReigns, who had ''nuclear'' XPacHeat [[spoiler:after he retired Wrestling/TheUndertaker at ''Wrestling/WrestleMania 33'' earlier that year]], shook off most of their vitriol when the stable reunited for their second run in 2017, as even Reigns' most ardent haters are/were marks for the Shield. The other two members of the group, Wrestling/DeanAmbrose and Wrestling/SethRollins, were already massively popular, and became even ''more'' popular when they teased a possible reunion (by the end of their reconciliation storyline in 2017, the fans were literally ''begging'' for them to forgive each other and reunite).

* A variation on this frequently crops up in licensed roleplaying games: characters from the original canon will be given game statistics built on the presumption that such characters are ''the'' absolute best specimens of their particular niche. What begins as a hope for insurance against potential MarySue PlayerCharacters running roughshod over the continuity can easily become ludicrous when compared to the game's own stated benchmarks for mundane characters, resulting in situations where such individuals couldn't actually be challenged/threatened by scenarios faithfully reproducing their own adventures. What makes it even worse are the GameBreaker powers and ridiculously inflated abilities designers will give canon characters that are often direct violations of the rules. Players who see these stats and abilities can rather reasonably demand why ''their'' characters can't attain the same levels of power, which can put a DM in an awkward position.
** Subverted often with those same characters. While they often have overinflated levels in the skills and abilities that they demonstrate on the show, they are usually so poorly built (as are most pregenerated "example" characters) that they cannot actually handle the canon adventures they are described as undertaking successfully, nor would they last very long at all in a real campaign. Nor would any PC with a mind to clear out the overabundance of Mary Sue characters have much trouble in doing so, even at a drastically lower level.
** The ''Franchise/StarTrek'' RPG from FASA clearly assumed that not only was the Enterprise the most successful ship of its class in service, but that every position on the ship was filled by the single most competent individual in that field to be found in Starfleet. One must feel sorry for the security chief of any other vessel by comparison...[[note]]there's a real-world parallel when a special operations unit would be formed and supposed to be staffed by the best of the best... which would necessarily at the expense of those troops' parent units who would lose them! For example, it's one of the reasons that the US Marine Corps went fifteen years without joining/contributing directly to US Special Operations Command -- they didn't want to give up Force Reconnaissance.[[/note]]
** White Wolf's ''Street Fighter'' RPG. Theoretically based on [[StreetFighter the arcade game franchise]], a by-the-book starting campaign is more about the role roughly "real world compliant" martial artists would have in a world with StreetFighter characters in it (i.e. window dressing.)
** Averted in the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' and ''Series/{{Angel}}'' [=RPGs=]. All major characters are statted out, and they are indeed much more experienced than the [=PCs=]. However, the character's stats and xp are tracked for each individual season. Want to have Buffy on par with your group? Just set it around the first season.
*** Even then, the game gives you a choice of character type between Heroes/Champions, with awesome stats, and White Hats/Investigators, with worse stats but more Drama Points to begin with plus a lower cost for more Drama Points. There is also a third option, Experienced Hero, which gives you better stats than the Hero and the Drama Point use of the White Hat. The Experienced Hero is designed for a whole party to use together, for balance, to reach the power level of a slightly more experienced canon character, although still not quite ''as'' experienced as the canon builds.
** A particularily JustForFun/{{egregious}} example would be R. Talsorian's ''Anime/BubblegumCrisis'' RPG. The Knight Sabers were built to ludicrous levels; Priss was superhumanly strong and could survive a hit from a 120mm cannon ''without her [[PoweredArmor Hard Suit]] or any other protection.''
* Many roleplaying games use builds of the creator's own [=PCs=] as background for their publishing the setting. Having been played for many years, they obviously reach extremely high levels. But, having been played for that long, they usually are pretty good at surviving a normal campaign or fending off lower level [=PCs=].
** Elminster is obviously the most powerful of these for the ForgottenRealms, although most of the major FR characters are subjected to it in one form or another.
** Mordenkainen, Tenser and other characters got this treatment in the ''TabletopGame/{{Greyhawk}}'' setting.
* ''TabletopGame/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesAndOtherStrangeness'' had an elaborate character creation system that provided rules for creating mutant squirrels, Moose, Housecats, or whatever. But the title characters were impossible to create according to the rules. Their Ninja Skills were fine, but their mutations were more advantageous than was possible for Player Characters.
* The Revised Core rulebook of the ''TabletopGame/StarWarsD20'' Roleplaying Game gives all the main characters average stats. Coupled with the fact that they are poorly built, this actually means that the Luke (circa Episode IV) of the core books is weaker than many heroes on their third or fourth adventures. Fortunately, later supplements improved the NPC quality, bringing the heroes to an even level with the average PC.
** Luke ''wasn't'' that powerful, though. Circa episode IV, he barely even knew how to use the Force, had only some casual pilot experience under his belt, and was really just on his first adventure himself.
** This is also somewhat a backlash from the WEG D6 version of the rules, which gave all the canon characters -incredibly- pumped up stats. Han Solo, who is shown in the movies as being a pretty bad liar ('We're, uh, all fine here. How're you?') is given 8d or so in lying for instance. And 8d being basically one of the best people in a galactic sector or such. Their other stats are just as inflated. (Starting [=PCs=] for the record could start out at 5d-6d). Their focus skills were even worse. Someone once added it up and decided it'd take over a decade to get as high as Han Solo or Luke.
* Starting with ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons 3.0'', dragons are given "Challenge Ratings" that are lower than usual for their power level. Thus, if the dungeon master follows the challenge rating system, dragons are always more powerful than whatever else the player characters are facing. The game designers state that this was intentional, so that encounters with dragons always feel special.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', [[AxCrazy Kharn]] [[EnsembleDarkhorse the Betrayer]]. The developers of the game seem to have notice his popularity after game's their edition, because his incarnation in the next rulebook made him cheaper to field and a stronger unit, and he essentially stayed the same in the rulebook after that.
** The Popularity of the [[KnightTemplar Black Templars]] Space Marine Chapter was so notable, they got their own Codex which was something reserved for first founding Chapters.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' series, [[EnsembleDarkhorse Zero]] somehow pushed his way from MauveShirt status to the co-protagonist role - even after ''being killed''! Later on, he also got his own series.
** Subversion. WordOfGod says Zero's design was originally intended to ''be'' Mega Man X but was made into a side character EnsembleDarkHorse due to fear of ExecutiveMeddling and TheyChangedItNowItSucks. Meaning this instance of the trope was actually the UnintentionalBackupPlan that allowed the creator's original setup to [[VideoGame/MegaManZero happen all along]].
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', Axel was originally going to be killed by Roxas in the beginning prologue. But due to all the hype surrounding his character and how much the fans liked him, he not only got many more scenes but is now one of the supporting protagonists!
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' series, Cirno started out as not only being one of the weakest characters but being famous for it within the fandom. She's the second stage boss in the first game in which she appears and the stage one miniboss in the next game (making her the weakest boss in that entire game). However, her popularity propelled her to become a playable character in ''two'' later games. Her storyline in ''Hisoutensoku'' seems to put her as being as being only somewhat weaker than the main characters, putting her at well above average for the setting.
** She now has her own game. Interestingly, however, she's depicted as being a lot less powerful than fans assume and even somewhat below her FightingGame incarnation. Most of the foes she fights are fairies (of which she is already [[MemeticMutation the strongest]], meme notwithstanding) and ''she'' gets roughed up in the process of ''defeating'' the Extra Boss (Marisa), a first for the series [=PC=]s.
*** This is explained by her game talking place after Perfect Cherry Blossom (a while before Hisoutensoku).
** The fighting game ''Hopeless Masquerade'' actually turns this into a gameplay mechanism. Your actions will raise or lower popularity, with max popularity allowing you to do your strongest attack, and being more popular than your opponent is the way to win by time-out. Toyosatomimi no Miko goes one step further by growing stronger or weaker based on how popular she is.
* Leonhardt Raglen in ''VideoGame/AgarestSenki'' is the protagonist of the [[DecoyProtagonist first generation only]]. However, his storyline, his awesome stats, his fairly heroic status, and his badassery earned him the number one spot as to who the fans want to bring back in ''VideoGame/AgarestSenki 2'' where he suddenly can pull off [[FlashStep flash steps]] and ImplausibleFencingPowers.
** And then he does it again with Compile Heart's new game, ''VideoGame/MugenSouls''.
* In the original Anime/MobileSuitGundam Char was barely able to harm the original Gundam with his modified Zaku II and was an even fight with Amuro when his skills were only half-decent. In ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriorsGundam'''s original story he battles some of Gundams most powerful suits and pilots(including some who beat him in the Hyaku Shiki) in that Zaku II and often times has the upperhand which is made all the more ridiculous by Amuro and the original Gundam barely able to go toe-to-toe with many of these people.
* In ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'':
** Starting in Generation VI, several Pokémon have [[SuperMode Mega Evolutions]] that make them bigger, more menacing, and more powerful. The creators have stated that the Pokémon chosen to receive Mega Evolutions are based mostly on popularity, with two of the most popular, Mewtwo and Charizard, receiving two Mega Evolution forms each.
** In previous generations, popularity was a factor when deciding which Pokemon should get an regular evolution or a [[SpinOffBabies baby form]].
** A form of this comes back for ''VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon'' where a few Gen I Pokémon were given alternate forms known as regional variants. This is a subversion though because these forms are explicitly not a SuperMode and the Pokémon that received them were largely ignored and stayed largely the same for the [[MilestoneCelebration 20 years that the series has been around]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Splatoon}}'', both popularity and winning matches play into the final results of Splatfest events. This led to the first several Splatfests being won solely due to overwhelming popularity despite the other team winning far more matches. This caused everyone to [[ComplacentGamingSyndrome join whichever team was the most popular regardless of which team they actually preferred because it was practically guaranteed to win the Splatfest]]. Due to complaints, they increased the amount winning matches influenced the final results in order to try and balance things out. This ended up having the ''opposite'' effect as now the ''less'' popular team is practically guaranteed to win, since the more popular team will often get matched against itself, and winning a match against your own team doesn't count for the Splatfest, while the less popular team was guaranteed to be matched against the opposing team and thus had all of their wins count.
* In ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic: Knight of the Fallen Empire'' the loveable droid HK-55 was clearly intended to be KilledOffForReal. A possibility to resurrect him via BrainUploading is explicitly shut down as impossible. However, because he turned out to be BreakoutCharacter of the expansion, he was brought BackFromTheDead without his memory, though only for those who have subscribed on a certain date.
* The only reason why most people remembered ''VideoGame/MortalKombnatSpecialForces'' was for the boss Tremor, an EnsembleDarkhorse since his debut and was a character most players requested to be added to a full game. ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9'' included the earth elemental as an exclusive UsefulNotes/PlaystationVita battle as an non-playable UnexpectedCharacter, before being added to ''VideoGame/MortalKombatX'' as DownloadableContent with his own unique moveset and ending.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'' it's stated that fan popularity or "Star Power", like the [[PlotArmor plastic wrap force fields for main characters]], means a character will not die. This is very literal, as when Bob tried to attack [[EnsembleDarkhorse briefly appearing, but popular]] Metool-D2 he ''spontaneously started generating a force field''. When Star Man tried this, it was shown that Ran can counter this with "[[RedScare the taint of communism]]":
-->'''Starman''': Oh no, I've been blacklisted!
** In a later comic, again with Star Man, Star Man declared that he knew about Popularity Power and how it would allow him to defeat anyone. However, he immediately forfeits when he finds out he's slated to battle against the bigger Fan Favorite, Shadow Man.
* Discussed to the point of parody in Webcomic/SamuraiPizzaCatsThroughThe4thWall. Speedy loses fights against both [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Twilight Sparkle]] and [[MightyMorphinPowerRangers the White Ranger]] and Guido explains that he lost due to the others having more popularity power.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Website/GameFAQs has the Character Battles which seemingly pit two characters against each other and have users vote for the winner. While there is some debate going on, popularity ultimately decides the winner. This is sometimes ridiculed to the degree it's practically a subversion of itself, such as a Tetris piece winning the contest.
** Sister site Gamespot is doing [[http://uk.gamespot.com/greatest-video-game-hero/standings/index.html the same]]. Though it has become a subversion of itself with heavy interference, first from 4chan who managed to have the ''VideoGame/BubbleBobble'' beat [[Franchise/{{Halo}} Master Chief]] and SonicTheHedgehog before bowing down to Samus, and later from '''Valve themselves''', who pushed a massive rally call for [[VideoGame/HalfLife Gordon Freeman]], which went to... well, it allowed Valve to proclaim [[http://store.steamgames.com/news/2959/ this]]: "[[Music/KanyeWest There are other great game heroes, and we're gonna let you play with them, but Gordon Freeman is THE BEST GAME HERO OF ALL TIME"]]
* Subverted to hell and back in the [[FanFic/UltimateSleepwalker Earth]] [[FanFic/UltimateSpiderWoman 2706]] universe. A-list characters are relegated to guest star appearances, while C- and D-list heroes, and even more so villains, are given the spotlight.
* Absolutely {{Defied|Trope}} in ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle''. The makers have made it explicit that they '''do not''' allow a character to win by Popularity Power, unless their research shows the character in question would win. [[spoiler:Even if it's a character that's popular with themselves, as "Haggar vs. Zangief" shows.]] This is easily shown in highly divisive battles "[[Manga/DragonBall Son Goku]] vs. Franchise/{{Superman}}" and "[[WebAnimation/{{RWBY}} Yang Xiao Long]] vs. [[Franchise/FinalFantasyVII Tifa Lockhart]]" [[spoiler: as Superman and Yang both won their matches, infuriating ''Dragon Ball'' fans because they feel Goku is ''much'' stronger than Superman despite two matches proving otherwise and infuriating ''Final Fantasy'' fans because they felt that Screw Attack was trying to suck up to Creator/RoosterTeeth for ''RWBY'''s third season and that Tifa should have won.]]
* The web series ''WebVideo/SuperPowerBeatDown'' involves characters from various comic books, video games and films meeting and fighting each other. The winner is based purely on whichever character gets the most votes from fans. [[spoiler:Superman, Wolverine, and Casey Jones have overwhelming votes compared to their opponents. Even the two episodes with Tommy Oliver is very close, despite Creator/JasonDavidFrank urging his fans to vote for his character.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'', this is one of Danny's enemies' powers. Ember Mclain is a ghost whose power grows exponentially the more people cheer her name. The only way Danny can initially defeat her is by having Tucker sing on international TV... an act so horrifying it de-hypnotizes the populace of the world almost instantly.
* In the DCAU, {{ComicBook/Darkseid}} fired his [[AlwaysAccurateAttack Omega Beam]] at Franchise/{{Batman}}...''and missed.''
** Well, more of a "forced Batman to run all over the place before finally positioning a Mook into it and let it die instead." Still counts, though. On the other hand, Batman's actual ''attacks'' were at best distractions for Superman to capitalize on and at worst mere annoyances.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'', Batman gets this in spades, taking direct punches from beings like Mongul, Kalibak, and Darkseid, and... surviving them. Somewhat subverted in that there are a few episodes that show Batman dying, but each and every time he's resurrected through mystical means. While he wasn't hit by Darkseid's Omega Beam, the effort he needed to exert to actually deal with it obviously exhausted him... [[IAmNotLeftHanded and then Darkseid began hand to hand combat.]]
** Many times the show completely subverts the trope as Batman often needs the episode's guest hero to save him, and has a times been utterly destroyed when he hasn't had any help, aside from the above with Darksied, Lex Luthor also once broke into the Batcave while armed with a suit he built to take on Superman, [[RealityEnsues and proceeds to flatten Batman while]] [[NoSell NoSelling]] [[CurbStompBattle every weapon thrown at him]].