As a pro wrestler, there are a few ways you can get the crowd invested in what you do. You can dazzle them with your incredible acrobatics, brutalize your opponent with anything at hand, project the aura of an unstoppable badass, work to tell a story through your matches, or even develop your character through interviews and promo segments.
Or, you can take the easy way out and get some Cheap Heat.
Cheap heat (sometimes called cheap pops for faces) is generated when a wrestler appeals to the audience directly. For a face, this means you talk about what a great crowd they are, how awesome their local sports teams are, and so on. It can be much more fun for a heel, however, as you mock all the town's dirty laundry. Is the local baseball team on a losing track? Make fun of them, and loudly support their rivals. Has a local celebrity done something embarrassing? Talk about it early and often. Are you in New Jersey? Ask them what exit they get off of to go home. And do it all with a shit-eating grin on your face, letting them know you know you're pissing them off and are enjoying it; that'll make it sting even more.
Mind you, cheap heat is not the exclusive preserve of pro wrestling; comedians, bands, and politicians make extensive use of it, as do writers who want us to cheer for (or boo) a particular character. Expect people to get the location of where they are completely wrong, which generally doesn't go down too well, but this is understandable when they're on tour traveling from one identical hotel to the next occasionally being pushed out onto a stage which looks a lot like the one last week...and the week before that.
Cheap heel heat tends to involve lots of Take That and You Bastard. Compare Local Reference.
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Mick Foley is famous for his cheap pops, RIGHT HERE... On TV Tropes Wiki! *goofy grin, thumbs up* His career retrospective set was even titled Hard Knocks and Cheap Pops.
Rey Mysterio Jr often shakes hands with as many of the audience as he can during his entrance. He always does so with anyone who is wearing a Rey mask. He also comes to the ring wearing multiple masks so that he can give extra ones to audience members. It's also common for him to wear superhero costumes when a superhero movie is currently popular with kids. His own existence in WWE made the show very popular with Latino audiences.
For the benefit of those with flash photography, WWE wrestlers Edge and Christian had their Five Second Poses, which, at first, were goofy, time-wasting poses done to try the audience's patience. Later, as they started to get more over as heels, they had more elaborate ones mocking local figures (their infamous Fat Elvis sketch, at a Raw show in Memphis, was something to behold).
Sometimes using a specific move in the right place can gain cheap heat or pop. Trish Stratus' final match in her home-town of Toronto Canada (against Lita) had arguably the biggest ever pop for a women's match when she finished by using Bret Hart's signature Sharpshooter to win the title.
Perennial WWE champ John Cena has a large collection of throwback sports jerseys, and used them to good effect when he was Pretty Fly for a White Guy. As a heel, he'd make sure to always wear the jersey of a local team's rivals, but after his Heel-Face Turn, he switched to wearing the jersey of a hometown team.
If John Cena were in the dark match to "send the crowd home happy", he would often add some cheap heat in the form of thanking the crowd for their support, singing "Rocky Top" with the Tennessee crowd to piss off Michael Cole, etc. and so forth...
The "home team's jersey" / "rival's jersey" cheap heat may be as old as the commercialisation of jerseys themselves. Amongst other notable examples:
Owen Hart wearing the jersey of the (theoretically) hated Toronto Argonauts at the 1998 Breakdown show in Hamilton, Ontario. Unfortunately, since most of the crowd had driven down from Toronto, that just made Owen even more beloved than he already was.
Bret Hart getting one of the biggest pops in the long history of wrestling in Toronto by revealing a Maple Leafs jersey during his first appearance in Canada with WCW.
Bret, Owen, and Davey Boy Smith - normally associated with Calgary - getting cheap heat from an Edmonton crowd by donning Oilers jerseys.
Various wrestlers have praised Manchester United whenever WWE visits Manchester, UK. This usually backfires, as WWE crowds tend to be disproportionately comprised of Manchester City fans.
" I heard a rumor that you play football here in Manchester, (Manchester had just won, massive pop.) Oh, well that leads to another question, is the team any good?" (Further pop for Mick Foley.)
Kelly Kelly seems to have adopted a variant of Cena's old look.
A related real-life example would be the late golfer Payne Stewart, who, due to his NFL sponsorship, eventually started wearing attire matched to the colours of the local NFL team. As the last golfer on tour to wear a traditional golf outfit, the results were often humourous.
Golfer Ben Curtis does a similar thing, wearing a polo shirt in the local NFL team's colors and the team's logo. The NFL sponsored him after he won the Open decked out in orange for his Cleveland Browns.
Edge states in his autobiography that he and Christian would do this constantly while touring, and wondered that the fans would never learn that they were heels and would mock their town. He showed a picture of a room in his house, lying on a carpet of NHL jerseys.
To elaborate, one thing Edge and Christian did a lot was have one of them appear in the home town's jersey, let the crowd cheer him on for a little while, and then have the other appear in a rival jersey and "tackle" the snot out of the other one in an embarrassing way.
Perenial WCWjobberNorman Smiley was reinvented around the turn of the century as "Screamin' Norman", whose gimmick was that he was in the hardcore division despite not being at all 'hardcore', so he wore football, hockey or whatever pads to the ring, thus taking the 'wear the hometown Jersey' thing to ridiculous extremes by wearing the whole damn outfit. Needless to say, he was cheered.
Former WWE, and now TNA, wrestler Kurt Angle once turned a rabidly pro-hometown-boy Pittsburgh crowd against him by declaring, "If you were to give America an enema, Pittsburgh is where you'd stick the hose."
This line was first said, word for word, by Bret Hart during his infamous 1997 heel run.
Angle also did the hometown jersey thing, and so did then-champion Ken Anderson, the day before Super Bowl XLV. Angle is from Pittsburgh, Anderson from Green Bay.
WWE's Chris Jericho had been directly calling the audience hypocrites and suck-ups during one of his last WWE runs.
In a delicious addition, for the first several promos of Jericho's return to WWE in 2012, Jericho would come down to the ring to his music, get in the ring, and then... say NOTHING! Since Jericho's mic work is such a high quality of his persona and his character, Jericho could get Cheap Heat without saying ANYTHING AT ALL.
In May 2012, Jericho stepped on and kicked a Brazilian flag during their first show in Brazil. Flag desecration is a misdemeanor offense in Brazil and he was legitimately forced to leave the country immediately or face arrest.
CM Punk has also started along the same route, calling the audience and commentators hypocrites. He states that if he had used his tactic against Edge to win the championship instead of Jeff Hardy, he would have been a hero.
CM Punk went Up to Eleven with this. In Chicago, his home town, CM Punk made his entrance to cheers, he then stood in the middle of the ring and praised his home city's beauty, and remarked how proud he was to be born there...he then proceeded to say how, as much as he loves his hometown, he hates the inhabitants of Chicago, and called them pill popping losers with fat children and a corrupt political system, giving him massive heat and proving that CM Punk is the greatest Heel ever.
Of course, that didn't stop Chicago fans from unanimously backing Punk at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in July 2011, as the majority of the fans supported their hometown hero as if the previously mentioned heel promo didn't happen.
"FINALLY... The Rock... has come back... to TV Tropes!"
He pulled a fantastic heat variation on this once in Toronto, during his early 2000s heel run. "FINALLY... The Rock has come back to Toron... Toron... To run his mouth on all your candy asses!"
And as if that weren't enough, when he actually mentioned Toronto, and the crowd cheered, he was right on the ball, " Are you kidding the Rock? Are you kidding the Rock? Is this the first time you've ever heard somebody mention your city, is that it? (in a mocking high pitched voice and prancing around the ring) 'Oh, yay, hooray! He said Toronto! Yay, whoo, yay! That's where we live! We live in Toronto, yay-' Shut up!"
Jeff Jarrett had a great one at a show in Melbourne, Australia. After spending a while doing the usual heel ragging on the country, he announced "But there's one good thing about Australia - I've found a sport here that I love. It's called Rugby League!" (For the uninformed, Melbourne is the traditional home of Australian Rules Football, and has a big rivalry with Sydney, traditional home of Rugby League).
Even non wrestling fans remember Sgt Slaughter waving the Iraqi flag. Could there be cheaper heat? And it almost cost him his life and the company a lot more — Slaughter remarks on that to this day when discussing that 1991 phase of his WWE career. It got so bad that the house shows between when he won the WWE title and lost it to Hulk Hogan would often have two main events: Slaughter's title defense would go on mid-way through the card so they could get him out of there before he would literally get killed! (A more standard "send the crowd home happy" main event would soothe some of the anger).
Also, Earl Hebner gets this same type of reaction.
If you call full-on X-Pac Heat "discounted"..."You Screwed Bret" is a common chant north of the border when HBK visits.
Less true now that Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels have formally reconciled all differences (including a DVD release of the two interviewed together).
Speaking of Sgt. Slaughter, on an episode of Raw he guest hosted in Canada, he made a bunch of jokes at the country's expense. Towards the end, he apologized for all of it, claiming that it was all just for fun, and said he'd like to introduce "The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be...". Cue Bret Hart's music... and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan comes out waving the American Flag. The crowd's reaction was negative.
First, Slaughter was about to salute the Canadian flag, but instead covered it up with a red X.
Then, he made fun of the Canadian history, followed by the pledge of allegiance.
His next act was to bring out Celine Dion to sing the national anthem, but instead brings out Jillian Hall instead.
Then, he gives an opportunity to the Calgary Kid to become a WWE superstar. However, after joining WWE, he reveals himself to be the American wrestler The Miz.
An example of how cheap heat attempts can still fail if you don't read the crowd right. 2008 House show in the Quad Cities for TNA featured 'Sheik Abdul Bashir' coming out with a rant at the audience, as well as two campaign signs: one for John McCain, one for Barack Obama (this was during the general campaign). He seemed to be trying to get the crowd to react, but was using..something foreign-sounding. He went to the back, came out with the advised shit-eating grin, and was showing off the McCain campaign sign. The crowd (half of which probably is from Illinois, and the other half's in a reasonably Democratic part of Iowa) lustily boos. He then..attacks/defaces/tears up the ad. Crowd cheers him well into his match. Oops..
Parodied in the pro-wrestling send-up episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender with "Fire Nation Man", who waves a flag around, talking in a bad Russian accent, and then sings something which was probably not actually the Fire Nation anthem.
Family Guy - Peter takes Cleveland to a wrestling match, in order to try and get Cleveland to actually express some anger after being cheated on by Loretta. Randy Savage is in the ring haranguing the crowd: "I must be in Quahog, because all I see is a bunch of hicks!"
The ultimate heel move ever was done by Santino Marella a little more than a year ago when he claimed that he had finally found a new favorite basketball team and removed his shirt to unveil an Oklahoma City Thunder jersey....in Seattle, whose beloved Sonics had been moved to OKC and became the Thunder. Those who didn't boo lustily seemed to have had the air taken out of them, as it was as Too Soon a moment as there ever could be.
There was also the time he defended the honor of his "sister" Santina from The Great Khali's advances.
Do you think she is a lady of the night? Or a graduate of the University of Texas?
Cheap Heat/Pop can also be easily gained by both male and female wrestlers just by flashing a smile or ripping a shirt off.
See John Cena pull his shirt off, hear women go crazy.
Of course, the reverse also happens with Cena: See John Cena throw his shirt into the crowd, see the "We Hate Cena" contingent throw it right back into the ring at him!
The whole reason Divas seem to do so many splits etc. etc. when they enter the ring.
CM Punk and his signature smirk have also been known to send female fans into epileptic fits.
Ron Killings (AKA R-Truth and K-Kwik) managed an Epic Fail when he forgot where exactly he was wrestling. He ended his Audience Participation entrance with a resounding "Green Bay, Wisconsin - whassup?"...which did not get the reaction he wanted, given he was in Milwaukee. Hilariously, the crowd not only booed him, they actually started a Milwaukee chant.
Even Michael Cole joined in on the chant, possibly to get the crowd to stop booing R-Truth.
He probably made the mistake because it was the day after Super Bowl XLIV, where the Green Bay Packers won.
John Cena also got in on teasing R-Truth about it later. Smackdown was in Green Bay the next night, and Packer Clay Matthews was deputized as an emergency Special Guest Referee in that main event.
This got turned into a Brick Joke later, when the WWE came back to Milwaukee, several WWE Superstars went on Twitter to remind him that they were in Milwaukee, not Green Bay. Even Michael Cole said that. And, during his match, R-Truth actually grabbed a Microphone to tell his Imaginary Friend "Little Jimmy" that he knows they're in Milwaukee!
Mentioning the crowd or a sports team before the match?! Try using a local product DURING it. WWE House Show in Hershey PA. Rosey is fighting Simon Dean, pre-match Rosey offers Simon a Hershey's Bar, crowd cheers. During the match Simon is whipped in to the corner, Rosey opens the candy bar and crams it RIGHT DOWN SIMON'S THROAT! The crowd EXPLODED (Simon had refused the bar during the pre-match saying "That Chocolate will never touch these lips")
Giving out cheap pops is the gimmick of Home Town Huck of Nickelodeon's Thumb Wrestleing Entertainment. He gives pops to a bunch or random towns whenever he performs, and is generally considered the hero of the Dexteras.
Oddly inverted in WCW's treatment of Ric Flair, who, when wrestling for the company, would always be booked to look like a totally weak idiot whenever wrestling in the Carolinas where he would otherwise enjoy massive popularity.
Unintentionally hilariously invoked by Matt Striker at WWE's TLC 2012 PPV, where, as an in ring interviewer, asked Antonio Cesaro about his response to the negative reaction Cesaro's victory seemed to inspire in the audience. The audience, who hadn't been showing much reaction at all, immediate started booing, almost as an afterthought.
At the end of Extreme Rules 2011 John Cena announces Osama bin Laden's death. The next night on Raw The Rock had his birthday party where part of the night centered on this historic occasion, making him look like the biggest superstar to ever grace the ring, times a thousand.
Sucio Dutch Mantel claims to be the first wrestler from the Forty Eight States who went to Puerto Rico and talked trash about the island. Whether him being first is true or not, what can be confirmed is that he couldn't walk on the streets without being pelted with rocks, cups and sparks during his first WWC run.
The Royal Rumble has its own form of Cheap Heat. A common tactic is to bring out a fan favourite wrestler from the past as a surprise entrant. The crowd goes mental for them. Whoever eliminates that wrestler from the Rumble gets instant boos and is set up as a heel you want to see eliminated from the match.
Or for the unfortunates in Cleveland, Yorkshire : "Hello Cleveland Shopping Centre!"
A Southwest Airlines ad had a band playing a huge crowd that loved the show...until the lead singer yelled "THANK YOU DETROIT! WE LOVE YOU!" The crowd falls silent...and his guitarist says "Detroit was last night..." Wanna get away?
Truth in Television: in 2008 Usher greeted fans in Maidstone, UK with "Hello, Manchester!" - managing to be out by nearly 200 miles.
And Kaiser Chiefs greeted a crowd in Budapest, Hungary, with "Hello, Bucharest!" - the capital of Romania. This may have been a joke, though.
This happens habitually in George, Washington. Due to its massive outdoor ampitheatre, many traveling bands and tours book their "Seattle" shows there, despite the city being a good 3-4 hour drive away from Seattle, over the mountains and in the middle of the desert.. "HELLO SEATTLE" greetings from the bands are unavoidable, yet still groan-worthy. Was once lampshaded by Marilyn Manson, who made it a point to illustrate he was the only act on Ozzfest that actually knew where the hell they were.
Lampshaded by The Protomen in their live performances; during a show in Portland, OR, for instance, KILROY declared that the audience is the best they've ever played for, then added "Just don't tell Richmond, VA that we said that. It would make things awkward."
On his live album Back to the Bars, Todd Rundgren teases a Cleveland audience by going through a guessing game of which city he's in (Enid, OK etc) before gleefully announcing "Oh I remember, it's Cleveland, Ohio!"
A number of radio edits tend to feature local shout-outs. If not a local city, then the local sports team or even the name of the station.
Incredibly egregious example: "Lucky Man" by Montgomery Gentry. The original opening verse mentioned the Cincinnati Bengals due to Author Appeal, but every team in the NFL got its own edit to be played in those teams' respective markets.
Tracy Lawrence's "Used to the Pain" had "I can listen to 'most any song the DJ has to play" replaced "the DJ" with the name of the station in some markets.
Taylor Swift's "Tim McGraw" had some edits where "Someday you'll turn your radio on" in the final chorus became "Someday you'll turn [name of station] on". Similarly, for play on the countdown show Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40, it became "And turn the Bob Kingsley countdown on".
Craig Morgan's "Little Bit of Life" did the same with the line "A little bit of radio going boom, boom, boom", where "radio" was changed to the name of the station. This also got turned to "A little bit of Kingsley" on Country Top 40
Annoyingly used in Brad Paisley's "American Saturday Night" - the regular version involves a Shout-Out to Saturday Night Live; replacing "New York" with other cities just doesn't have the same ring to it.
The Uncle Kracker song "Smile" features the line "You make me spin like a record..." It is followed by a line referencing the station on which the song is playing; for example, "You make me spin like a record/on Mix 93.3."
The Taio Cruz song "Break your Heart" has the line "They call me heartbreaker-" which is sometimes replaced with the station the song is on, for example, "It's 107.9!" When it is replaced, the song doesn't make much sense.
In the One Republic song "Good Life" the line "Paris to China to Colorado" was changed to "Paris to China to Carolina" in North Carolina. (Similarly, in the Bay Area one can hear "Paris to China to San Francisco" on the radio - a variation that actually keeps the rhyme.)
Several songs, such as "The Heart of Rock & Roll" by Huey Lewis and "You and I" by Lady Gaga have the state/nearest big city clumsily added into key parts of the song ("You and I" refers to a specific person from Nebraska. Needless to say, bungled edits like "My cool N-Rhode Island-a guy!" kind of ruin parts of the song, especially in terms of meter) on Top 40 radio for cheap pops. Fans dislike them, but the radio station seem to have fun making them.
In a related example, some stations snip in a sound clip of Shania Twain saying the name of a popular DJ on the station over "Brad Pitt" on the radio edit of "That Don't Impress Me Much". Dismissing some radio DJ in Nowheresville, USA is much less effective in the song than, say, a millionaire actor.
LMFAO had some fun (or work, rather) with their semi-hit "I'm in Miami Trick" by making several recordings of the song with different city names instead of Miami. They even released a promo CD of these edits called I'm in Your City Trick. There are 51 versions of the song on this CD.
At least one of which refers to a fictional place — they edited together "I'm On Saints' Row, Bitch" for Saints Row: The Third.
Basically the only reason that the 1959 single "High School USA" by former Gene Vincent & The Blue Caps guitarist Tommy Facenda became a Top 40 hit was that Facenda recorded the song 28 times to rattle off the names of high schools in 28 different areas (the version featuring high schools in the area of Virgina that Facenda grew up in was the original). Airplay and sales for these versions in these areas were rolled into one on the Billboard Hot 100, rocketing what was basically a novelty song into the Top 30.
"We Built This City" by Starship originally had snippets of a (fake) San Francisco radio broadcast, although this was subject to change based on what city the song was played in.
This feature had been a staple of major AM Top 40 radio stations in the 1970's. WLS in Chicago was common for these. Many stations also do the same kinds of plugs, which attempt to convince listeners in their market that Rihanna's favorite station ever is Bismarck, North Dakota's "Mix 99.9" (or other community nowhere near a major market).
"Small Town Radio" by Texas country singer Todd Fritsch replaced the original line ("That's the rest of the story, good day / And just before you go / I'd like to thank you all for listening to small town radio") with Shout Outs to various small-town radio stations which were playing the song.
Recorded and Stand Up Comedy
Used and lampshaded by Doug Benson in Last Comic Standing: in a joke involving one of those "The end is nigh" types asking him if he's going to Hell, "Sorry, I'm not headed in that direction... but if I were going to Bakersfield - BOOM! Local reference, right outta the gate!"
Don't forget: "Anyone here from Canada?" *large part of the crowd cheers* "Canada sucks!" *crowd laughs*
Lenny Bruce's routine "The Palladium" describes a terrible American comic who is bombing on stage at the Palladium in London, England. Out of sheer desperation for any kind of reaction from the crowd, he yells "Screw Ireland!" Someone in the crowd says, "That's the first funny thing you've said all night!"
Billy Connolly once mocked the idea in his stand-up act; after eliciting cheers just for mentioning a place name, he shouted for the audience to stop and to have some higher standards, saying he could get an ovation just for reading from an atlas.
Billy Connolly however is infamous for his world tour where he explores the local area, meeting people, getting to know the history of the area and finding out just what people are passionate about in the area. He would then incorporate these experiences into his set creating a unique experience for the town.
One episode had a guest appearance from Bob Hope. He asks the Mayor's name right before going on stage just so he can insert it into a stock joke: "How about that Mayor Quimby? His golf ball spends more time underwater than Greg Louganis."
"We were driving down ROUTE 401!!"
Daniel Tosh: "Hold on now, Irvine. I just say the name of whatever town I'm in there to make you feel special."
Seanbaby once did an article on John Kerry's [staggering lack of a] sense of humor by noting that one entry in his Letterman Top Ten list included no joke other than name-dropping Sammy Sosa. Seanbaby identifies as one of those crowd-pleasing subjects that gets a big reaction with no punchline, and adds that if Sosa were having a bad season, the gag could have easily been replaced with: "Anyone here from NEW YORK!?"
On YouTube, it's common to ask for Thumbs Up in comments so one can achieve the glorious position of Top Comment on a video.