"Career Lows: Oh come on, it's X-Pac do I even need to say it?"
— A guide for WWF Raw on the Xbox.
"X-Pac sucks!""Heat" is a term used in professional wrestling to describe any reaction to a wrestler and his or her gimmick. Face and heel 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 person and don't want to see them anymore" reaction than a "we want this person to get their 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 or her, (s)he'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. As such, please only add professional wrestling examples.
— Fans at many, many WWF events.
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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 during 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. His reputation continued to deteriorate due to an infamous video that he and Chyna appeared in, being accused of domestic violence during said relationship with Chyna, 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".
- The Authority, led by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, get this for both their Arc Fatigue and their Villain Sue streak against all of the babyfaces that have tried to oppose them. And HHH defeating Sting at WrestleMania 31— in the latter's very first match in WWE, no less — was the absolute last straw for many.
- "Hogan sucks" chants were commonplace in WCW until the formation of the New World Order. Once this happened, the chants were turned into "good heat", at least until the nWo really outstayed its welcome on top of becoming boring invincible villains, leading to Hogan getting X-Pac Heat all over again.
- By the end of Jeff Jarrett's last run as NWA Champion in TNA in 2006, fans were pleading with him to "Drop the title! Drop the title!" There were even chants of "Fuck you, Jarrett! Fuck you, Jarrett!" Jarrett was truly hated by TNA fans for good reasons. During the first four years, he held the NWA Championship for nearly three years. Occasionally, he would lose at a pay-per-view, only to win the title back at the very next show. Fans saw the title as meaningless, since it had just become a prop for Jarrett. In every match he had at the time, he resorted to running into the crowd. To make matters worse, Jarrett was more than just the creator's pet. As one of the founders of TNA, he was the creator. It was almost as if he helped build TNA just so he can make himself the champion. It's no wonder some fans started calling him Triple J.
- This sort of heat sometimes gets attached to a giant, especially if they have bad fundamentals or psychology. Of particular note, WWE fans have nicknamed Paul Wight (a.k.a. (The Big Show) "The Big Slow". Former WWE wrestler The Great Khali used to get "You can't wrestle!" chants. In one of the rare examples of escaping X-Pac Heat, The Big Show took some time off, dropped 50 pounds and got in shape, and came back. Khali didn't get over until they overhauled him into a face, gave him a Bollywood-musical styled theme, and started calling him "The Punjabi Playboy", complete with him having the Khali Kiss-Cam. Unfortunately for The Big Show, he fell back into this by 2015, as he never quite shook off the sour taste of the infamous Royal Rumble 2015 (which even Kane managed to do, to an extent). For the next several months, chants of "PLEASE RETIRE" haunted him at arenas.
- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson:
- He ran into this early in his career as "Rocky Maivia" when he was so pushed and overexposed as the next big thing that fans got sick of him almost from the moment he appeared. The fact that he was still very green in the ring and that his gimmick was that of a squeaky-clean third-generation superstar didn't help matters.
- After he received a Face-Heel Turn, which reduced his time on camera and allowed him to cut loose with his formidable mic skills, The Rock was Rescued from the Scrappy Heap and exploded into a true star. Even after a brief period of the crowd growing cold on him (leaving wrestling, appearing in some terrible movies, saying that he didn't want to be referred to as The Rock), his epic feud with John Cena has the crowd almost entirely on his side, despite supposedly being the heel. The Face-Heel Turn is a rare example of the WWF actually playing to the X-Pac Heat. The week after the Rock's heel turn, he cut a promo addressing the chants, being the kayfabe reason he joined The Nation of Domination, naming the actual chants he was getting. He recycled this promo somewhat when he joined The Corporation a year later. Prior to the heel turn, Jim Ross even addressed his concerns about them on air, saying that he wasn't able to understand the reasoning why the fans were giving him such heat. An article in WWF Magazine also addressed the chants and did an interview with him about them (though it was sort of in kayfabe). This could've been a sign that they were going to use them as a reason for The Rock's heel turn.
- Fans of TNA wrestling were so disgusted with how matches were booked, that some fans started "Fire Russo!" chants, aimed at writer Vince Russo. Russo's not the only one behind the shows, of course, but his track record with WWE and WCW made him a convenient lightning rod for fans' wrath. He was fired in February 2012, so it's left to the fans to come up with new chants.note
- Long after the fact, Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels, and former WWE and later TNA referee Earl Hebner received "YOU SCREWED BRET!" chants whenever they appear in Canada, and it's probably one reason why they don't appear in Montreal very much even when they do go to Canada. In all fairness, they did screw Bret Hart. Whenever Michaels needed some heel heat, Montreal was a perfect place to get it. This heat has mostly died down due to Hart making amends with both Michaels and Vince McMahon in 2010.
- When Lita cheated on Matt Hardy with Edge, both Lita and Edge were showered with legitimate anger from the fans. This only intensified after Vince McMahon fired Hardy for complaining about the situation online. Their respective storylines had to be scrapped, and Lita was forced to turn heel. Edge, a natural heel, was able to turn the X-Pac Heat into regular heel heat relatively quickly, and Hardy getting re-hired calmed things down a lot. Lita did not get the fans' approval back so easily. She was still showered with boos and vicious insults a few years later, and actually quit wrestling entirely over it. However, she was well received when she made a one night return in 2007, and very well received when she returned for the 1000th episode of Raw when she performed her infamous moonsault on Heath Slater. During the latter, she was referenced as a legendary "Diva" (what the WWE calls its female wrestlers), a far cry from another four-letter word she was once referred to as. Fans were also genuinely happy when she made the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2014, so hindsight has erased a lot of the tarnish.
- One of the strangest cases on record: Miguel Perez, a wrestler known less for his talent than his body hair, would inspire chants of "SHAVE YOUR BACK!" every time he stepped into the ring. Matt Bloom, better known as Albert, A-Train, Giant Bernard, Tensai, and now Jason Albert, inspired similar chants due to his Wookiee-like pelt. He has since done as the fans asked, and gotten himself some badass chest tattoos to boot.
- The term "X-Pac Heat" was originally called "Bossman Heat". The term began to lose usage when X-Pac's level of, well, X-Pac Heat eclipsed Bossman's, and it was pretty much completely retired with Ray Traylor's real life death, out of respect for the man. To explain this a little more, Bossman may have been a boring wrestler, but he was well known for being one of the most popular guys in any locker room, he donated massive amounts of money and personal time to charity, and his death was discovered by his wife in a particularly heartbreaking way. He was also a damn fine worker during his original WWF run (when he wore a prison guard outfit). Then he jumped to WCW and suffered through a string of lousy gimmicks (The Guardian Angel, The Boss, Big Bubba and finally, just Ray Traylor) while the injuries caught up with him and his body broke down. His second WWF run (working a security guard style gimmick) was just awful as he really shouldn't have been in the ring by that point. His Karma Houdini heel run also killed any interest that fans might have had in seeing him.
- Petey Williams, Chris Sabin, and Jay Lethal got X-Pac Heat in 2006 when TNA gave all three of them Jackass fanboy gimmicks, receiving chants such as "This is Stupid!" when this (naturally) had to carry over into their matches. Then WWE had the gall to bring the actual stars of Jackass onto Monday Night Raw, where people started cheering when Umaga started legitimately beating on Steve-O.
- During WWE's infamous "Rosie O'Donnell" vs. "Donald Trump" match, fans got so sick of what they were seeing, they chanted for TNA instead. The WWE takes videos of the match down when it finds them, but for now, here's the full fight. "BORING" chants start at 6:30, "TNA" at 7:20, and "WE WANT WRESTLING" at 8:20.
- The Ultimate Warrior had a disasterous run in WCW. He was initially well-received by fans during his debut on Nitro when he interrupted a Hollywood Hogan promo. His pop soon diminished, however, as fans grew to dislike him. It wasn't long before Warrior was receiving heavy boos, despite playing a face to Hogan's heel. His terrible promo and wrestling abilities, as well as a bad angle by this point, grated on fans. He also had considerable creative control over his character in WCW, and entered himself and Hogan in to an angle that was very much hated by fans. The penultimate moment being when he was haunting Hogan through a locker room mirror, but the angle called for Hogan being the only person who could see him, even though everyone watching could see him as well.note Warrior only wrestled in two matches during his brief tenure, the most infamous being the Hogan-Warrior rematch at Halloween Havoc 1998.note He was gone shortly afterward.
- Vickie Guerrero. The hate the crowd had for her during her run as GM of WWE SmackDown! was absolutely brutal. The lowlight of her X-Pac Heat was at a PPV, where she came out to restart a match. Through the booing, you can very clearly hear a fan yell "THE WRONG GUERRERO DIED!". Since then, she's gotten better, mainly by reducing her screen time and toning down her heel persona. Vickie is a fantastic example of the creative department taking the ball and running with it. Capitalizing on her annoying voice (which at first is why she got X-Pac Heat but became the signature of her on-screen personality, her shrill "EXCUSE ME!!!" becoming her Catch Phrase), her ability to generate heat in WWE was unmatched. Wrestlers working in the industry for years couldn't hope to get the level of fervor she got just by showing her face. True, she probably could never, ever get over as a face with her character's direction, but she'd unquestionably left her mark. When Vickie did retire on June 24, 2014, she got cheered big time between the fans showing they respected her work in the business, and it was a nice touch seeing her come out to the music of her late husband Eddie Guerrero before she got well-justified revenge against Stephanie McMahon.
- Vladimir Kozlov. Too easy. He began to be pushed to the moon within months of debuting and was even originally planned to be given the WWE Championship at one time. Any problems? Oh yeah, he couldn't wrestle. Yes, he was a heel all this time, so it could be translated to heel heat, but the smart fans hated him even more. To back this up, they turned him into an American loving goofy babyface, and the fans still hated him. It took a team up with the hilarious Santino Marella and a serious expansion of his moveset to become tolerable, though he was eventually fired. CM Punk cut a promo where the audience cheered when this was brought up.
- Bubba the Love Sponge. He was brought in around the time Hulk Hogan came to TNA as he hijacked Jeremy Borash and Christy Hemme's job as backstage interviewer, leading to loud "FIRE BUBBA" chants from the audience. It didn't help that he said "Fuck Haiti" on his radio show after the tragic earthquake, leading to Awesome Kong kicking his ass backstage for his disrespect to the numerous lives lost or ruined (or so was the assumption as his reputation of being a backstage bully wasn't widely known yet). One not-so-sincere apology later (with Hogan siding with him and making PMS jokes about Kong) and Kong asked for her release from the company. Bubba later ambushed Kong during her appearance on The Cowhead Show which turned out to be an elaborate setup by Bubba and show host Mike Calta to lure Kong on the show in the first place. This eventually led to his firing from TNA, capped by Mick Foley giving Bubba a legitimate punch to the face. Guess how the fandom responded.
- A classic case of this: the Dynamic Dudes, who were skateboarding wrestlers. When they received a face push by having manager Jim Cornette betray them for an opposing heel tag team (The Midnight Express), the audience cheered Cornette. Amusingly, the Dynamic Dudes included later modern-day X-Pac Heat recipient John Laurinaitis.
- John Laurinaitis received X-Pac Heat again during his appearances on WWE programming from 2011-2012; between his voice, which caused fans to call him John Laryngitis, his frequent messing up of his lines, and the monotone delivery of his lines, people grew very tired of his run as General Manager of Raw. It got even worse after WrestleMania 28 when he became General Manager of SmackDown as well. Furthermore, he was booked in a main event feud on pay-per-view with John Cena, himself a Base Breaker, and hardly showcased any of his former in-ring talent. The fact that this match took place after the very well-received championship match between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan took any remaining interest in Laurinaitis and dropped it entirely, and everyone was rejoicing when Vince McMahon uttered his hammiest two words to him a month later.
- The No Limit Soldiersnote were hated because they were a rap group in a promotion whose audience were primarily white Southern males who dislike rap. Even though they were supposed to be faces, they acted like heels, couldn't wrestle, had a bloated roster of ten wrestlers, most were less than pleasant in real life (particularly Swoll, who would eventually be arrested for dodging child support even though he was making $100K a year while working for WCW), and even with Master P, they had terrible raps. Their rivals, the West Texas Rednecks, were an inversion of this, as they were supposed to be heels but appealed to the fans more, particularly when they recorded a downright hilarious song titled "Rap is Crap", held their own against the No Limit Soldiers with only four wrestlers, and had Curt Hennig, widely considered one of the best ever in the business and a really nice guy to boot, as their leader. It's no surprise the latter stable became a collective Ensemble Dark Horse. As for the No Limit Soldiers, Konnan, Kidman, Misterio and Disquo eventually split from them to form the Filthy Animals stable, BA reunited with his brother Scott Armstrong, and Chase, Swoll and 4x4 disappeared uneventfully.
- The trope namer had a stablemate named Justin Credible who suffered the same fate. In ECW, he was pushed as a solid ex-jobber who was "actually very skilled", though his workrate was artificially inflated by giving him good workers to wrestle with (like Jerry Lynn). Eventually, as one of the last reasonably-big names in the company, he got the ECW World Title, which resulted in massive overexposure. Even his former fans began seeing him as a mediocre worker with a terrible look and bad mic skills (he had a catchphrase and a fake "angry voice" that involved him hissing his words out in a loud whisper all the time), and X-Pac Heat resulted. ECW died not soon after his Title win and he promptly got similar reactions in the WWF, culminating with X-Factor and his eventual removal from the company. He was so bad that some fans even blame him for the death of ECW, though that wasn't truthfully his fault any more than anyone else. Hysterically, after ECW folded and was bought out by the then-WWF, Justin had a very short tenure. He retired from wrestling, and got a job as the overnight stock manager at a Target superstore in New Jersey. After working there for a while, he got back into wrestling and, though confined to the independents (and going from Target to baking breadsticks at Olive Garden), got a respectable level of popularity.
- John Cena:
- John Cena is a case of not having any heat to begin with, becoming very popular, getting X-Pac Heat with both barrels, shaking it off in an odd way, and then getting it back. Fans were pretty apathetic towards Cena up until WWE decided to run with a Halloween joke impression he did as Vanilla Ice, turning him into the very over Doctor of Thuganomics. Then came his first world championship win at WrestleMania 21 against JBL, where a lot of people became convinced he just couldn't wrestle. Between feuds with Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle, his X-Pac Heat really took off. Not helping matters was his abandonment of the Thuganomics gimmick, which if nothing else had been a good source of legitimately funny smack-talk whenever Cena cut a promo, replaced by the WWE using him as a generic '80s-style babyface with no actual gimmick at all. His matches also became rather generic, with most amounting to him getting beat up the entire time before suddenly "overcoming the odds" with his Five Moves of Doom. The X-Pac Heat died down for a while, but never completely disappeared, after smarks noticed a 2006 interview from Cena himself saying he'd rather drop down the card and redevelop his character but wasn't being allowed to. The X-Pac Heat rose once again after he became the top star of the WWE. The way the WWE booked almost every single one of his feuding opponents since then only served to fuel the sentiment even further.
- The highlight of his X-Pac Heat was predicted to come during his ECW One Night Stand match against Rob Van Dam. Instead, Cena acknowledged and played to the negativity, acting as an effective heel if only for one month (going so far as to proclaim he'd beat Van Dam even if the ECW mutants rioted). Cena's character is still hated by many, but mostly because it is the product of poor booking. Cena himself has a large fanbase that eats up his merchandise at rates surpassed by very few other wrestlers, none of whom have had his longevity in the company, unfortunately.
- Though as of 2011, "Cena Sucks" chants started to ring out during the shows of NWA promotions that never have and probably never will book John Cena, spontaneously, without any effort to work the crowds into it, putting him on the same level as the trope namer. Even more so after Cena claimed he would never wrestle for another promotion, saying it would be an insult to the WWE Championship during his otherwise hot feud with Daniel Bryan. While some people took the line as sounding shockingly honest and felt he had the right to feel that way, others resented him for it.
- It's got so bad that by the go-home show of 2013's TLC pay-per-view, the audience practically ignored the in-ring characters and commentators' efforts to sell Cena's title-unification match against Randy Orton, the slated main event of TLC 2013, and instead kept chanting for Daniel Bryan.note Only due to Cena successfully piggybacking himself onto Bryan's popularity did the crowd give any attention to that main event.
- As of 2015, he started being booked lower on the card, feuding with Rusev over the United States Championship (his first title he won back in 2004). It didn't bring him all of his fans back, but when he won the title at WrestleMania 31, he began a weekly title defense, putting on impressive matches against other mid-card wrestlers such as Dean Ambrose. The fans, while still mixed, are starting to realize Cena can actually pull off great matches, and enjoy not seeing him in the world title spotlight anymore.
- A stable in TNA called Shore (Rob Eckos and Becky Bayless) were two wrestlers who were paper-thin parodies of Jersey Shore cast-members "The Situation" and "Snooki." They debuted before the "Bound for Glory" PPV on 10/7/10, and by their second appearance (said PPV), fans were universally booing them out of the arena.
- Good god, Michael Cole. His constant Trolling of the crowd had taken him to new levels. His "Anonymous GM" emails, his incessant crapping all over smark-beloved wrestlers like Daniel Bryan and R-Truth, his creepy fanboying of The Miz, and his severe lack of respect for Jim Ross didn't just make fans want to boo him, but want to wring his neck. Even a little payback from his screwed-over broadcast partner Jerry Lawler hadn't dimmed Cole's huge amounts of smarm. There's playing a heel commentator, and then there's Michael Cole. However, he seemed to have been Rescued from the Scrappy Heap due to him gaining a ton of respect from the 9-10-2012 episode of Raw, when Lawler collapsed during a match between Daniel Bryan and Kane vs. The Prime Time Players (which was reported to be a heart attack and wasn't a part of the planned entertainment that night). Not only did Cole retain his composure, but showed a lot of legitimate emotion on air as he gave updates concerning Lawler's condition.
- The Miz:
- The Miz is an interesting case of shaking off X-Pac Heat and then getting it all over again. He started off as a reality star of The Real World, where it was made pretty obvious that he was a massive fan of wrestling and WWE. He got onto a season of WWE's Tough Enough where the winner is given a WWE contract. He was popular on Tough Enough but didn't win. Yet the winner disappeared and The Miz was pushed as the new star. Back then, The Miz had little mic ability, even less wrestling ability, and constantly made a idiot out of himself. Crowds loathed him, the locker room (JBL in particular) hazed the shit out of him, and he was constantly put into embarrassing matches and gimmicks. However, when he teamed up with John Morrison and drastically improved his mic and in-ring skills, he earned some respect. Then he became WWE Champion, and the IWC wanted to strangle him with his newly acquired belt. Despite his improved in-ring skills, The Miz still isn't believed to be that good. Now there's a split between (a) hatred and (b) being happy to finally have a vulnerable champion after years of unstoppable supermen holding the belt. What grates some people about his championship run is that literally up until the week before he won it, he was treated as a worthless Joke Character, and even after winning it, he still hadn't lost that status completely. Some find his character and Catch Phrase grating and full of Narm considering that he's supposed to be the top heel in the business, and the fact that he practically had to murder both Randy Orton and John Cena before he could be seen as a legitimate threat, and both of the two were already pretty badly beaten when he got involved. It isn't so much that some hate him, it's that they wish he would be allowed to be a credible heel, or that the belt could have been given to somebody that was.
- When Alex Riley got fired, for about two weeks, The Miz got the jump on Cena twice and beat the ever loving crap out of him. When the WWE brought Riley back, The Miz went back to being a smug little shit, much to everyone's annoyance. He's still being alternated between the two settings, and it must be admitted that aforementioned fan hatred for Michael Cole at the time probably didn't help, as Cole slobbered all over The Miz's knob at every opportunity.
- Some of the aforementioned problems, like Cole sucking up to The Miz, have been remedied. However, an ill-advised decision by WWE to revive the Figure Four Leglock and give it to The Miz as a finisher did no favors for his (already shaky) reputation in the eyes of wrestling purists. One can only imagine the firestorm that started when people started finding out that the face turn, and finisher, were originally slated for Ensemble Darkhorse Dolph Ziggler.
- Erik Watts from the early days of WCW. He was pushed because he was the son of Cowboy Bill Watts, who was in charge of WCW at the time. He was a crappy wrestler, didn't have a great physique, and was nearly booed out of the building whenever he appeared. The sad part is that he did eventually develop some talent in the ring and a decent look, but was so notorious for his nepotistic push that he still couldn't get over and promoters were afraid to push him very hard.
- The Harris Twins in general, but especially in WCW in 1999 and 2000. They were pushed as monsters and rarely lost, but they were pretty much lacking charisma entirely and their One-Hit Kill finisher, the A-Bomb, didn't look particularly devastating.note When they performed a run-in at a pay-per-view after it had been announced that they'd been released a few days earlier, the fans groaned.
- As Mark Henry was walking to the ring for a match against CM Punk on the April 2, 2012 edition of WWE Raw, a fan behind him held up a sign that said this note :
"Sir! I feel compelled to stress that we are not booing because of your effective heel work, we are booing because you are simply awful."
- Brock Lesnar:
- In the dud on the WrestleMania XX card, a match between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg, Lesnar was immediately showered with boos and chants of "You Sold Out", in reference to him retiring from wrestling to play football with the Minnesota Vikings.note This continued to an extent in Lesnar's brief return to wrestling in Japan and even his mixed martial arts career after he was picked up by UFC, where he humorously decided to cut a heel style promo after winning their heavyweight belt.
- It got so much worse for him after he ended the streak on April 6, 2014. Wrestlers and fans alike have been treating him worse than ever due to his attitude of only being in the company for the money. The crowd didn't bother booing him till the next night, while wrestlers backstage treated him like a non-entity the night of, and both fans and wrestlers alike treated The Undertaker with the respect due to being a legit legend, even though Taker ended up in an ambulance shortly after getting backstage. The hate came out in spades when he came out the next night on Raw. The look on Lesnar's face made it clear that he was not used to the raw hatred he was being shown even though he was trying to play it off by acting like a heel was supposed to. Made worse by all the media coverage of the event, from the Internet to newspapers to even Jon Stewart appearing to be upset at the situation, though he seemed to be only half joking at the time on his broadcast of The Daily Show later on that same night as the Raw broadcast.
- Things have since changed for Lesnar. Despite holding the WWE Championship with a potential return to UFC rumored after WrestleMania 31, Lesnar began to lose his X-Pac Heat in part thanks to the fallout of the 2015 Royal Rumble and Roman Reigns' victory. WWE's failure during the Road to WrestleMania to get Reigns over with the crowds combined with the extraordinary mic skills of Paul Heyman has turned Lesnar's X-Pac Heat into legit face heat. Furthermore, there was much jubilation in the IWC when Lesnar revealed that he had re-signed with WWE.
- As mentioned above, Roman Reigns was suffering from X-Pac Heat during the buildup to WrestleMania 31 because WWE had clearly been pushing him as the next top babyface despite him being too green, having terrible mic skills,note and not having evolved his character in any way since The Shield disbanded.note He was injured in late 2014 just as he was starting to get over. When Roman came back, he was put right back into the same slot as if he'd never left. Many fans believed that he was only being pushed because of his look and because he's a member of the Anoa'i family. As a result, many of his fans turned against him, especially given the finish of the 2015 Royal Rumble, which he won, and wanted him to go away. WWE had apparently anticipated the fans' displeasure with the Rumble finish, and sent out the Rock, his cousin, to congratulate him after the match. The Rock was booed. Roman's reception as a solo star went from cheers, to mixed reactions, to boos. He has even received dead silence at times. After the unanticipated ending of WrestleMania 31, however, Roman's solid showing in the main event, as well as the fact that he didn't win the title, seems to have begun a resuscitation of Roman's fanbase, as he was dropped down to the upper midcard, has improved significantly both in the ring and on the mic and has entered a feud with Bray Wyatt, one of the most underappreciated talents as far as smarks are concerned while teaming with his former Shield brother Dean Ambrose. He's still got a long way to go before he is top face material, but he is getting at least mild cheers from fans now.
- Sgt. Slaughter was a very popular wrestler in his time and even became a character in G.I. Joe. Then when the Gulf War built up, he defected to Saddam Hussein, teamed with old foe The Iron Sheik and was even given an expy manager that he initially thought was the real deal. This, along with vicious assaults on All American Face Hulk Hogan, caused fans to hate him to the point that he received death threats. As a result, Sgt. Slaughter feared for his life. So in a sense, he was getting the right type of heat but it got a little too real. After losing to Hogan and turning face again, things settled down a lot.
- On rare occasions, a wrestler or stable can get good heat from some fans and X-Pac Heat from others at the same time. Right to Censor, a stable of moral guardians whose catchphrase was "You do NOT know what is good for you!" and who occasionally did things such as abort fanservice segments by covering the fanservice with sheets, are probably the best known example of mixed good heat and X-Pac Heat. About half the fans loved to hate the RTC, and the other half wanted them to just quit existing. The fact that Jerry Lawler on commentary - normally a heel sympathizer at that point - talked worse about the RTC than he did about faces like Mick Foley or The Rock is just more proof of how hated they were.
- This was actually invoked when Kurt Angle debuted in the then-WWF. He was such a cheesy, over-the-top good guy (think Beaver Cleaver in a singlet) that it was almost painful to watch. And then he started wrestling: not "pro" wrestling, but collegiate/Olympic style wrestling, with holds even more drawn out than usual, and downplaying what few showy and impressive bits there were. This went on for weeks, to the point that the fans didn't need any prompting to begin the "boring" chants, and many wondered why anyone thought bringing "the other kind" of wrestler in was a good idea. Then Angle snapped under the constant verbal abuse, yelled at the fans, and changed his style into a somewhat brutal form of technical catch-as-catch-can pro wrestling, the X-Pac Heat turned into the regular kind, and people were reminded that sometimes everything goes exactly as Vince McMahon wants it to.
- Bo Dallas:
- Bo Dallas (Taylor Rotunda, real life son of Mike "Irwin R. Schyster" Rotunda and brother of Windham "Husky Harris/Bray Wyatt" Rotunda) has been seeing a lot of this through 2013. In January, he was entered into the Royal Rumble where he proceeded to eliminate Wade Barrett (the reigning Intercontinental Champion at the time), get into a feud with Barrett about this, and proceed to go over him clean in a singles non-title match. While WWE tried to recreate Maven's infamous elimination of The Undertaker and push Dallas right out of the gate, most fans saw him as a generic, incredibly green babyface who made Barrett look bad. WWE did catch onto this after awhile and took him back to NXT. But even there he continues to be a powerful force, winning the NXT Championship by defeating legit fan favorite Big E. Langston (an act that caused the live audience to turn their back to the ring following the victory and any other time Bo is seen). NXT seems to have capitalized on this by turning him into an disingenuous, egotistical heel that believes the fans love him even though they hate his guts.
- Since returning to the main roster in 2014, Dallas has been booked (arguably quite effectively) as an annoying motivational speaker who tells fans and other wrestlers to "BO-LIEVE!" while simultaneously being patronizing and condescending. Thanks to this gimmick, it looks like he's successfully escaped his earlier X-Pac Heat, despite his midcard status.
- Eva Marie:
- She gets boos just for getting tagged into a match. She got a lot of exposure in the ring and on Total Divas, but it led to her getting her own hatedom. If they gave her a mic, she could reach Vickie Guerrero levels of heat soon. It's debatable how much of it has been intentional on WWE's part, given that one of her first on-screen appearances had her slapping Jerry Lawler for pronouncing her name wrong - and their efforts to portray her as an over-ambitious Gold Digger on Total Divas.
- It was a conscious attempt to garner heel heat, portraying her as a selfish model type character who didn't care about wrestling or want to learn, playing into fan perception of "bad" Divas. Unfortunately, doing this was the ultimate way to garner "go away" heat. Ideally, that "go away" heat would have just been directed at the Eva Marie character, which would have made it easy to turn into straight heel heat, but unfortunately her early matches showed her as someone who hadn't even properly learned how to take moves yet, which cemented her status as someone the fans just absolutely hated. She took a break from wrestling for a while, most likely to train, and tried to reconvert that X-Pac Heat into legit heel heat, showing off a very heelish entrance on NXT in August 2014, playing up the fact that this is a character much more strongly. Whether the fans will start booing the character rather than the performer remains to be seen.
- Quite a lot of Eva's X-Pac Heat comes from the fact that unlike other Divas, she essentially debuted through Total Divas. Fans utterly loathe this for two main reasons: one, the success of Total Divas means that it's highly unlikely that any of the Divas on it will be fired or dropped down to NXT— even the ones who can't wrestle, are despised by the fans, or who are essentially useless.note While it could be argued that Total Divas is simply being used as a way to flesh out the characters of some of the less hyped Divas, it could also be argued that as a result, the matches on the main shows are being used to continue those story lines when there are some very talented Divas who aren't on the show who are just as, if not more deserving of those matches— in other words, being on the show means that Eva's getting preferential treatment over Divas who are adored by the fans. And two, she sucks in the ring and has pretty much no character besides the show. If she'd come through NXT, the fans would probably still hate her, but at least she would have actually had some experience. Instead, while it's true that she has improved, the fact still remains that compared to Divas like Paige (who's been wrestling since she was a teenager) and Bayley (who's had years of experience in the indies), Eva has no idea what she's doing, but she's still being hyped as someone just as good as them.
- In the summer of 2015, Eva started training with retired wrestler Brian Kendrick in an attempt to improve her in-ring skills. She then joined the roster of NXT. The higher-ups expected the fans to get behind Eva as she was showing signs that she knew she was a poor in-ring performer and wanted to improve. Needless to say, this didn't work and the X-Pac Heat got even worse. Depending on who you ask, her in-ring skills didn't improve either. To make matters worse, it was widely expected that Eva would be booked to win the NXT Women's Championship from Bayley, who had just put on a Match of the Year candidate with Sasha Banks.
- During one match, Eva forgot to kick out of a pin. The referee scrambled to declare that she got her shoulder up (she didn't) and Eva proceeded to hit her finisher for the win. Between the botched pin and the finish, the audience booed for a solid minute, not even breaking to chant against Eva. Since that botch, the WWE seems to be trying to make her character into someone who doesn't actually care about wrestling and gets help from iffy ref decisions. She has cut promos from Paris saying (quite disingenuously) how much she misses wrestling, and they seem to be purposefully playing up the 'refs cheat for her' angle (in the botch match, the commentators didn't mention the obvious failure to kick out, but since then, the face announcers have been very quick to call out the refs). Now, the WWE has changed her gimmick into a delusional heel, which is seen by fans as a retread of Bo Dallas' Face-Heel Turn without any of the aspects that made the Dallas turn effective.
- The heat reached its zenith on the November 18 edition of NXT, where, when she came out to issue her title challenge to Bayley, the Full Sail crowd booed her so loudly that she couldn't get her promo out and Bayley, who was standing right next to her, couldn't hear Eva even though she had a mic. Bayley even tried to calm the crowd down herself. At this point, she's getting more nuclear heat than Vickie Guerrero or heel Michael Cole circa-2011 ever did.
- Batista got X-Pac Heat for a while, with his match with The Big Show on ECW being his worst offense, but it was nothing compared to the backlash over him winning the Royal Rumble in 2014 when fan favorite Daniel Bryan wasn't even in the match. It certainly didn't help that he had been back on television for less than a week beforehand after being gone since 2010 and won the Royal Rumble altogether, which in WWE parlance is the biggest push a wrestler can receive.
- Though the latter was more due to revulsion with the WWE creative team than Batista himself (case in point, when Rey Mysterio came out at number 30 the boos started hard and heavy, which never happens to Rey). Batista winning was just twisting the knife (since it was only his second appearance since his 2014 return), although he certainly took it poorly (reportedly flipping off fans and mocking the "YES!" chants with his middle fingers before walking backstage). By February 2014, his appearances were literally greeted by fans chanting "BOO-TISTA!", NXT audiences chanting "BETTER THAN BATISTA!" any time anyone did a powerbomb, and by cheers for his opponents Roman Reigns, Alberto Del Rio, and Randy Orton - the last of which was the top heel of the company at the time - thus leading to Batista's undergoing a quickie heel turn and Daniel Bryan being inserted into the main event.
- Batista was part of a growing trend of fans turning on what they see as "part-time" wrestlers, similar to Triple H, Brock Lesnar, and others, who burst onto the scene in a titanic comeback and leap into the main event scene while performing only a handful of dates each year. But while The Undertaker is one of the most popular superstars of the past two decades and fans expect him to focus on his famous WrestleMania winning streak matches, and Brock Lesnar and The Rock wrestle in special marquee matches and stay far from the world title scene with their appearances being that of "special guests", Batista reappeared after a four year absence and won the Royal Rumble less than a week later over several more popular and tenured wrestlers, putting himself into the WrestleMania main event. Fans turn on these types of appearances because they feel that even though they used to be main event stars, these part-timers haven't earned the main event status they're given back as though they never left. The fact that the past several WrestleManias have been headlined primarily by part-time performers only adds fuel to the fire, and this latest example at the Royal Rumble is a popular reason given in wrestling news sites for CM Punk walking out on the company the day after the event.
- Batista did a good job of turning that into actual X-Pac Heat. His work rate hadn't measured up to the current roster, the matches he had since the Royal Rumble had shown him tiring quickly and botching simple moves like clotheslines, and of course, telling fans that he was going to main event WrestleMania and that they should just deal with it didn't help him either.
- Despite generally being well liked by casual fans and smarks alike, Rey Mysterio, Jr. has fallen afoul of X-Pac Heat three times.
- The first time was during his run with the aforementioned No Limit Soldiers (later the Filthy Animals) in WCW. The No Limit Soldiers were a rap themed stable that were supposed to be anti-heroes but really just came across as heels. The Filthy Animals eventually turned heel. It didn't help that Mysterio was terrible at playing a heel.
- The second was in CMLL and tied into the WCW angle above. Mysterio was feuding with Psychosis in CMLL, and the original plan was to build to a mask vs. mask match with Psychosis winning Mysterio's mask. However, when CMLL got word that Mysterio had already been unmasked in WCW, they forbade Mysterio from wrestling with his mask on. This forced the feud to be rebooked to a much less meaningful stipulation, and Mysterio ended up winning the match and feud. Masks are taken very seriously in Mexico and allowing himself to be unmasked in WCW was considered a serious cultural faux pas, and the fact that Psycosis had held out against pressure to unmask in WCW made Mysterio look even worse in comparison.
- The third was at WWE's 2014 Royal Rumble, and wasn't Mysterio's fault per se. The fans wanted to see Daniel Bryan in the Rumble, and when Mysterio came out at #30, he ended up being the recipient of the vitriol of the pissed off fans.
- Jeff Hardy's appearance at Ring of Honor had a mixed reception of squeals from his fan girls who came to see him and chants of "We want Matt! Don't come back!" from others. Matt Hardy himself had a rough start in Ring of Honor but the bots eventually took a liking to him.
- In Summer 2007 — "Emo Kid" Jimmy Jacobs was transitioning into a new, much eviler role as the leader of a stable called The Age of the Fall. This, in and of itself, wasn't all that awful an angle. However, at the Ring of Honor Man Up PPV in September, Jimmy came out to speak to the crowd. For over 10 straight minutes. Much of this wasn't speaking, but standing around with his arms raised, saying nothing, while wearing a nice white jacket and being bled on by Jay Briscoe of The Briscoes suspended from the ceiling, head down, bleeding copiously. The crowd was furious, screaming to move on already. It totally burned all the house energy, which was at insane levels after the previous match — a tag team match featuring The Briscoes facing off against El Generico and Kevin Steen (aka "Steenerico") in a Ladder Match referred to as "Ladder War". It also bears mentioning that, initially at least, Jimmy Jacobs (and at that, all members of Age of the Fall) used a track of high-pitched female screaming for their entry music that lasted for several minutes. It was utterly intolerable, and changed quickly. Laurie Strode's screaming from the Halloween remake was eventually used as the intro for The Age of the Fall's actual entrance theme.
- X-Pac Heat lead to CMLL's single largest at the gate draw in their then 81 years of existence when the usually popular La Sombra was booed during his mask vs. mask match against Volador Jr. at the 80th anniversary show. The fans made it clear the match they really wanted to see was Último Guerrero vs. Atlantis. So CMLL booked that at the next year's anniversary and couldn't sell enough tickets.
- NXT's CJ Parker has surpassed Bo Dallas as the resident X-Pac Heat magnet. He didn't get bad reactions as a generic jobber, but once he started winning and developed a neo-hippie gimmick, complete with long dreadlocks, fans outright hated him, bombarding him with Change Your Gimmick chants and boos. Feuding with Tyler Breeze didn't help his cause either. NXT has attempted to channel this heat into the right kind of heat by turning CJ Parker heel, into a smugly superior eco warrior character who holds up protest signs and bashes the fans for destroying the planet. This went over better, and he wasn't getting the "change your gimmick" chants anymore. Nonetheless, it never panned out for CJ and he was released in early 2015.
- Mojo Rawley is the target of most NXT fans' hatred. He's seen as yet another generic babyface.
- To further expand on this, Rawley has been mostly disliked to due a combination of things. His gimmick ,which is centered around being and staying "hyped", is mostly seen as obnoxious and grating, and it doesn't help that his move-set is EXTREMELY limited, to Ultimate Warrior levels (i.e he mostly does corner splashes and shoulder blocks), and his finisher, the Hyper Drive, is horrendous, it is basically just him landing on his opponent with his ass. Since his return from injury, Mojo has formed a team with Zack Ryder, and the X-Pac heat has started to die out.
- The R.S.P-W FAQ explains X-Pac heat thusly: Explanation "There is also 'bad' heat, which is unintended negative heat. When either a face or a heel draws bad heat, it is generally not because of any actions done by the character, but simply because the fans can no longer tolerate the person. [...] the fans are simply tired of seeing them and boo out of frustration rather than genuine dislike of anything they say. Bad heat is considered undesirable because it can actually hurt the drawing power of the person receiving it, since it can never be resolved in the ring." Jeff Jarrett, Hulk Hogan, and Eric Bischoff, during their time in WCW, are cited as examples.
- In a mix of this and Never Live It Down, Terry Taylor would often get "ROOSTER" chants wherever he wrestled after his oft-maligned WWF run in the early 1990s as the Red Rooster.
- The New Day was launched in late 2014 as a babyface stable featuring Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods. Their gimmick is that of an overly optimistic stable that claps their hands and dances before, during, and after matches. The gimmick, however, went down very poorly with fans, who had, by early 2015, taken to shouting "SUCKS!" whenever one of the members would yell "NEW DAY!" The stable quickly turned heel, which turned their X-Pac Heat into regular, good heat. Ironically, their creatively hammy heel personas are becoming so popular that they're edging toward the wrong kind of heat again. The fact that Woods hosts a YouTube channel playing video games with celebrities and superstars only adds to his popularity.
- Ryback has gotten some good, if not great reactions as a babyface. However, he's also gotten his share of "GOLDBERG!" chants, mostly from smart fans who see him as a poor man's version of Goldberg. This was especially true during his uninspiring runs as a midcard heel. It hasn't helped much that Ryback has been accused a few times of being an unsafe worker, including CM Punk in his notorious shoot interview with Colt Cabana.
- Most fans may remember The Honky Tonk Man as one of the top midcard heels of his era, and the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion in history. In actuality, he got his start in the WWF as a babyface, with fans refusing to buy into the idea of an Elvis impersonator as a good guy. After a series of "Vote of Confidence" promos and an actual poll where the fans, as expected, weren't behind him, he was turned heel and the rest is history.
- The so-called "Divas Revolution" has been thought of by many fans to be a poorly-booked storyline, with the center being the rivalry among three-woman factions Team PCB (Paige, Charlotte, Becky Lynch), Team Bella (Bella Twins + Alicia Fox), and Team BAD (Naomi, Tamina Snuka, Sasha Banks). As a result, even the babyface Team PCB has gotten X-Pac Heat from fans (aside from Becky Lynch, who garners sympathy for being one of the few good things in such an awful mess of an angle), with Banks being the most popular Diva among the feuding women despite her heel status. Eventually, Paige had escaped her earlier X-Pac Heat by turning heel on Team PCB with an impressive worked shoot promo on the September 21, 2015 episode of Raw, only to rejoin them one week later, before turning on them again after Hell in a Cell.
- Cameron has garnered a lot of hate due to her annoying and immature behavior on Total Divas, and being green in comparison to former Funkadactyls partner, Naomi, who was a lot more athletic and technically superior. She was relegated to cameos in Season 4 and rarely appears on TV anymore, which really hasn't helped her reputation much.
- Nikki and Brie Bella's terrible acting skills (Nikki's infamous "I wish you died in the wooooomb" promo) and perceived success due to their respective partners haven't gone over well with smarks. While they have improved significantly since their debut and get mostly positive reactions from the more casual fans, it seemingly wasn't enough to justify Nikki holding the Divas title for over 300 days while Bayley was still in NXT. Not to mention their feuding story line with each other that was being built up for months ultimately led to Brie forgiving Nikki for all the terrible things that she's said and done to her.
- The Kingdom in Ring of Honor, mainly due to two members, 2011 Top Prospect Tournament winner Mike Bennett and 2013 Top Prospect Tournament winner Matt Taven. The RoHbots didn't agree with either decision then and as of 2015 still hadn't warmed up to either man after years of pushes, especially not with tag team title runs that saw them emulate the Hardy Boys.
Pay Per Views
- A particularly significant example came during the Mabel-Savio Vega tournament final at WWF King of the Ring 1995, which was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the heartland of ECW. This at a time when that promotion was at its hottest. The crowd was decidedly displeased with the tournament, which saw then-WWF World Tag Team Champion Yokozuna, that year's Royal Rumble winner Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker all get eliminated (Savio defeated Yoko by countout, Michaels drew Kama a.k.a. The Godfather/Papa Shango/etc., and Mabel actually pinned Taker after Kama interfered in a particularly underwhelming finish). By the time Mabel and Savio Vega faced off in the finals, Philadelphia finally started chanting "ECW! ECW! ECW!" in protest and Mabel had trash thrown at him by the crowd during his coronation. The lesson? Don't go into Philadelphia with a terrible show.
- 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 - where else - 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, who had rapidly been losing fan support after some less-than-stellar ring work coming back from injury on top of having some of the worst promos of 2014, winning the Rumble. Even Rusev, an anti-America heel, was cheered on by the fans when he surprisingly appeared towards the end of the Rumble, not having been eliminated after all. 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 it overloaded. You've got to wonder how incompetent management has to be to book the Rumble like this, especially after last year, and in Philadelphia no less.