"Career Lows: Oh come on, it's X-Pac do I even need to say it?"
— A guide
for WWF Raw
on the Xbox
at many, many WWF
"Heat" is a term used in professional wrestling
to describe any reaction to a wrestler and his gimmick
heat can make or break a wrestler, while not getting any heat is the kiss of death
in the industry.
Then there's X-Pac Heat
. This is when the audience boos and insults a wrestler not because they hate the "character", but because they hate the performer
. It can be because they've been pushed too hard
, they have political power behind the scenes, or because they're terrible performers. For wrestlers, this often refers to guys who have poor matches (or actively wreck the pushes of others) and become overexposed despite crowds not caring for them one way or the other (either as heroes or as villains). This is not a heel, a villain whom fans want to see punished
; an X-Pac is someone fans don't want to see at all
. It's a very specific form of breaking kayfabe
by the fans and happens to be quite rare.
"Not the right kind of heat" is an alternative meaning to "X-Pac Heat" that can, but does not always intersect with it. It's more of a "we are sick of this one and don't want to see him anymore" reaction than a "we want this one to get his comeuppance" reaction (which is the impression you want
the fans to have). This is more or less the equivalent of a villainous Scrappy
, but has its own page.
Normally, it is possible to correct an unfavorable response by altering a wrestler's gimmick or shifting their position in the company
. It is significantly harder to overcome X-Pac Heat; unlike the Scrappy
, the audience is reacting not to an annoying character
, but to a bad or overexposed performer
In short: if you love to hate
the target, or wish to see someone beat him, it's a heel; if you just hate the target, it's the Scrappy
; if you hate seeing the performer, it's X-Pac Heat.
Note that the live audience in professional wrestling is considered to be in-universe
because it is such a major part of the show. When the reaction is obvious and on-camera, examples involving it can be considered objective, unlike those involving the viewers at home or other media.
Please only add professional wrestling examples.
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The Trope Namer
- The Trope Namer is Sean "X-Pac" Waltman. He was part of the New World Order and D-Generation X stables in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and was actually a popular performer during this time. Several years and a heel turn later, DX was long since over and X-Pac hadn't evolved his persona in any significant way. Despite not getting pushed or doing much of anything, he was still booked on just about every show, winning a disproportionate amount of matches against opponents who were often more interesting than he was. Fans soon started regarding X-Pac matches as a safe time to take a bathroom break.
Both the X-Pac persona and Waltman himself, due to his membership in The Kliq, soon became really grating, as he gyrated and gestured around and acted like a petulant little tool, making the crowds, who were supposed to find him rotten, hate him on a personal level instead of a kayfabe one. The vicious combination of declining performance due to years of injuries, a stale personality (to put it mildly), and a reputation for attaching himself to a hot act, losing to them, but then squashing them cleanly with a rematch to ensure he captured more attention, caused wrestling fans to start chanting "X-Pac sucks".
Unfortunately for those who were sick of X-Pac, "[Wrestler's name] sucks" chants are frequently the result of regular heel heat (i.e. "Rocky Sucks"), so X-Pac's push continued, to the point where he received his own stable (X-Factor) comprised of himself and the similarly-hated Justin Credible and Albert. The hatred for X-Pac eventually reached a point where fans would chant "X-Pac sucks" when there was nothing else to chant, even when Waltman wasn't booked on the show. In the end, Waltman ended his tenure with the company with an awful reputation amongst fans and wrestlers. One that would continue to deteriorate due to domestic violence charges during his relationship with Chyna (along with a very disgusting videotape the two released) and a crystal meth addiction that got him fired from TNA after botching a match with AJ Styles. To this day, the phrase "X-Pac Heat" is given to performers who "aren't getting the right kind of heat".
Pay Per Views
- The 2014 Royal Rumble and the "Road to WrestleMania" was crapped on repeatedly when part timer Batista came back and won the Rumble, being set to feud with Randy Orton, who has never truly been over as either a heel or face. At the same time this was going on, Daniel Bryan was white hot with the crowd via the "Yes Movement". CM Punk quitting the company eventually lead to a rewrite that saw Bryan enter a match against Triple H to gain entry into the WrestleMania main event, which he won.
- The 2015 Royal Rumble match was another absolute travesty that was completely panned by the audience in Philadelphia. After massive pops for Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, and Dolph Ziggler (among others), the quick eliminations of those three inevitably led to Roman Reigns winning the Rumble. Not even an appearance by The Rock could calm the crowd down. Fans were so furious that #CancelWWENetwork was the #1 trend on Twitter and the page where they could cancel their WWE Network subscription crashed because of it overloaded.