"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 those 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 faces or as heels). This is not a heel, a villain whom fans want to see punished; a wrestler with X-Pac Heat 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.note "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, though not impossible, 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 fans love to hate the character, or wish to see someone beat them, they're a heel. If fans just hate the character regardless of their alignment, it's the Scrappy. If fans hate seeing the performer, it's X-Pac Heat. Notes:
— Fans at many, many WWF events.
- 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. Therefore, it only counts as X-Pac Heat if the live audience is booing/insulting a wrestler in ways that they shouldn't.
- If smarks and critics trash a wrestler, but that wrestler still receives the appropriate reaction onscreen, that's Critical Dissonance.
- 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 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. While Waltman has gained back some respect for his work in the indies in over the years, very few fans will claim he is their favorite wrestler. To this day, the phrase "X-Pac Heat" is given to performers who "aren't getting the right kind of heat".
- 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. What they may not know, however, is that he actually 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 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 in 2004, 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.note 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, where he had a security guard style gimmick, started out alright but turned awful as he was pushed up the card. His Karma Houdini heel run also killed any interest that fans might have had in seeing him.
- While the original heel version of Doink the Clown, portrayed by Matt Borne, was over and is well remembered, when Borne left the company, Doink was turned face and portrayed by Steve Lombardi. Lombardi wasn't the worker that Borne was, and the fans didn't find Doink amusing. However, even though Doink wasn't pushed per se, he received a lot of focus and a number of (awful) angles - allegedly, Vince McMahon thought he was hilarious. By the end of Doink's run, fans were cheering the heels he faced and chanting "Kill the Clown!" Here's a Doink vs. Waylon Mercy match, with the "Kill the Clown" chants starting at 4:40.
- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson 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 added some edge to his character 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,note his epic feud with John Cena had the crowd almost entirely on his side, despite supposedly being the heel.
The 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 as did an interview with him about them.note
- 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.
- Long after the fact, Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels, and former WWE and later TNA referee Earl Hebner received "YOU SCREWED BRET!" chants whenever they appeared 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, however, due to Hart making amends with both Michaels and Vince McMahon in 2010.
- 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.note As a result, Sgt. Slaughter feared for his life. In a sense, he was getting the right type of heat, but it got far 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, who was then a heel sympathizer, talked worse about the RTC on commentary 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.
- 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 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, and X-Pac Heat resulted.note ECW died shortly after his Title win and he promptly got similar reactions during his second stint in the WWF/E. It got so bad that some fans even blamed him for the death of ECW. 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.
- Matt Bloom, better known as Albert, A-Train, Giant Bernard, Tensai and Jason Albert, inspired the same "Shave your back!" chants as Miguel Perez above due to his Wookiee-like pelt. He has since done as the fans asked, and gotten himself some badass chest tattoos to boot.
- 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 (WWE's former term for 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 in her case.
- 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!". She eventually got better when her screentime was reduced and her heel persona was toned down. 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 have gotten 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 as the fans showed 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 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.
- 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. WWE takes videos of the match down when it finds them, but for now, the full match can be viewed here. "BORING" chants start at 6:30, "TNA" is at 7:20, and "WE WANT WRESTLING" is at 8:20.
- The Authority:
- Triple H and Stephanie McMahon get this due to both their Arc Fatigue and their Invincible Villain 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 WWE match, no less — was just the absolute last straw for many. Furthermore, they're so hated that Roman Reigns, whose own case of X-Pac Heat is documented in the Repeat Offenders folder, got cheers simply by beating the crap out of Hunter, something that not even ten months of being booked as strong as John Cena could do. By WrestleMania 32, it had flipped—the crowd booed Reigns so hard that WWE muted the crowd mics, and they cheered for the Authority despite Stephanie pre-empting the match by literally personally insulting the audience.
- John Laurinaitis received X-Pac Heat a second time note 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, who himself is rather divisive, 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.
- Bo Dallas (Taylor Rotunda, real life son of Mike "Irwin R. Schyster" Rotunda and brother of Windham "Husky Harris/Bray Wyatt" Rotunda) got 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 a while and took him back to NXT. But even there he continued 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 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 (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 been Rescued from the Scrappy Heap and has escaped his earlier X-Pac Heat, despite his midcard status.
- As Mark Henry was walking to the ring for a match against CM Punk on the April 2, 2012 edition of 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."
- Mojo Rawley was the target of most NXT fans' hatred. He's seen as yet another generic babyface. Rawley was 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.
- His moveset is extremely limited (i.e., he mostly does corner splashes and shoulder blocks).
- His finisher, the Hyper Drive, is horrendous; it is basically just him landing on his opponent with his ass.
- 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 and hilarious heel personas were so popular that they essentially became faces. In addition, the fact that Woods hosts Up Up Down Down, a YouTube channel where he plays video games with celebrities and other wrestlers, only adds to his individual popularity.
- Ryback usually gets 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.
- 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.
- Nikki and Brie Bella's terrible acting skills (Nikki's infamous "I wish you died in the wooooomb" promo note ) and perceived success due to their respective partners haven't gone over well with smarks, resulting in them receiving inappropriate sexual chants from fans on the RAW after WrestleMania 31 ("You suck Bryan!" and "You Suck Cena!"). 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 heat appears to be dying down, moreso on Nikki than Brie. First Nikki improved her ring skills to the point that she was actually pretty decent in the ring. Then, after suffering a career threatening neck injury, it became hard to hate her after seeing how heartbroken she was over not being able to wrestle anymore. Brie also had a bit of Daniel Bryan's heat rub off on her, although since her wrestling skill didn't improve much she still gets some bad heat.
- 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.
- 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 the very popular Tyler Breeze didn't help his cause either. NXT 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.
- Enzo Amore may be the first example of the bookers deliberately getting X-Pac Heat on a wrestler. Enzo is a brilliant talker, but one of the worst workers in the entire WWE. When the decision was made to split the Enzo & Cass tag team, Enzo was moved over into the 205 Live (Cruiserweight) division, which is the most workrate-centric division in the WWE and the one most marketed to smarks. Numerous stories were also leaked about Enzo's obnoxious, egotistical behavior behind the scenes (that oddly, don't seem to be being held against him like they generally would be). He then became the Cruiserweight Champion in a match where he got next to no offense and won by cheating. It comes across like, having noticed that smarks tend to cheer anyone they like regardless of face/heel, WWE has built Enzo up to specifically antagonize fans into disliking him.
- Jinder Mahal in mid-2017. Back when he was booked as a jobber on a regular basis, most notably when he was a member of the 3MB stable, fans didn't mind Mahal so much. Upon his return in 2016, his in-ring skills had moderately improved, but his character did not. He resumed his status as a bonafide jobber before he eventually became a lackey and tag team partner for Rusev for a while. This all changed after WrestleMania 33, where Mahal was moved to SmackDown during the Superstar Shake-up between the brands, upon which he suddenly upset then-WWE Champion Randy Orton at Backlash in May to obtain the belt, which he held onto for nearly six months. Mahal's mega push could have worked if it was given the proper amount of time and buildup. Additionally, Mahal shifted his character to a by-the-book foreign heel that failed to captivate audiences while continuing to work mediocre matches, which further discredited his sudden elevation. This caused WWE's TV ratings and ticket sales to plummet even further than they already were. It didn't help that he regularly scored victories over beloved wrestlers such as Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura, almost halting their pushes in the process.
- 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 X-Pac Heat recipient John Laurinaitis.
- 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.
- For Hulk Hogan, "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 Invincible Villains, leading to Hogan getting X-Pac Heat all over again.
- The Ultimate Warrior had a disastrous 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,note the most infamous being the Hogan-Warrior rematch at Halloween Havoc 1998, widely considered to be one of the worst matches in wrestling history. He was gone shortly afterward.
- The No Limit Soldiers, a stable of rappers lead by Master P, were conceived of when WCW decided to try and target the Urban/Hip Hop market - WCW intended to bring hip hop fans into the wrestling fandom, and Master P wanted to give his cousin Swoll a break in the wrestling business. WCW put veterans Konnan, Rey Mysterio Jr. and Billy Kidman in the stable along with Swoll, a pair of muscular rookies named Chase and 4x4, and former jobber "BA" Brad Armstrong to take bumps and cover for the rookies. WCW then made a country music stable to feud with them, the West Texas Rednecks,note consisting of Curt Hennig, Bobby Duncum, Jr., and Kendall and Barry Windham.
The angle was a clusterfuck from the beginning. Master P wasn't seen by the hip hop fandom as particularly cool or a particularly good rapper at the time (and his raps for WCW certainly didn't impress anyone). He failed to draw in any new fans, and then after he was booed on his first appearance he refused to return and support the angle. Although the Soldiers were supposed to be street-wise antiheroes, they simply came across as heels, and the bloated roster of re-gimmicked veterans and rookies no one had ever heard of before failed to connect with the fans. Meanwhile the Rednecks recorded a downright hilarious song titled "Rap is Crap", held their own against the No Limit Soldiers despite being outnumbered almost two-to-one, and had Hennig, widely considered one of the best ever in the business and a really nice guy to boot, as their leader. Also, the WCW fanbase, which was largely white southern males, was pre-conditioned to prefer the country music-loving rednecks anyway. It's no surprise the latter stable became a collective Ensemble Darkhorse. So with the fans cheering the Rednecks and booing every time the Soldiers chanted "hootie-hoo," the angle ended barely a month in. Konnan, Mysterio and Kidman split from the group to form The Filthy Animals, BA reunited with his brother Scott Armstrong, and Swoll and 4x4 disappeared uneventfully, with Chase having already vanished without explanation.
- Diamond Dallas Page received this reaction in 1999, as fans grew tired of his good guy shtick. He quickly shook it off by turning heel shortly after winning his first world title. When attacking Goldberg to solidify his turn, he started shouting "Boo me now, bitch!" at the fans.
- 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.
TNA / Impact Wrestling / GFW
- 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 the better part of three of them. Occasionally, he would lose at a pay-per-view, only to win the title back at the very next show, leading fans to see 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.
- 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
- Sonjay Dutt, 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 against the likes of Petty Williams and Senshi. 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.
- Dumbass DJ 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.note 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 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.
Ring of Honor
- Jeff Hardy received a terrible reception from the RoHBots at his initial ROH appearance. He had already antagonized the fans by making comments about having no passion for wrestling in an interview, and the fans were further antagonized by the presence of a couple hundred teenage girls in the audience who'd showed up just for Jeff Hardy. Things got worse when Hardy came out in his Willow-the-Wisp attire, and received chants of "We want Matt!". Then the match started, and it was awful, with Hardy botching nearly everything he attempted to do, and Krazy K (a trainee of Hardy's who had no other reason to even be in the match) being worse than Hardy. The fans cheered for everything Joey Matthews (who was supposed to be the heel) did and booed everything Hardy or Krazy K did. When the match ended, with Jeff winning, the fans chanted "Don't come back!"
- Matt Hardy himself had a rough start in Ring of Honor but the bots eventually took a liking to him. He fell right back into this type of heat in his second run in the form of fat shaming but by the end of his run was again managing to get good heat, doing much to help Mike Bennett's own case of this(see below). By the time of Matt's third run he was so welcomed there weren't even any complaints when he vowed to bring back Jeff Hardy...ahem, Brother Nero.
- 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.
- The Kingdom, 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 by 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. Sorry thing is they are decent enough wrestlers, decent enough for Taven to get a "thank you" chant at least once, just a little too hyped for fans tastes.
- The Decade was a fairly well received group, until BJ Whitmer's feud with Steve Corino became a Plot Tumor. Then Jimmy Jacobs and Roderick Strong left the group in protest to Whitmer brainwashing Steven's son Colby, making Whitmer the focal point of Decade, which combined with his deteriorating work rate made him the recipient of much X-Pac Heat. His feuds with Mr. Wrestling III and Adam Page did slowly get some fan investment, although the insertion of Kevin Sullivan into their feud was a point of contention.
- Kenny King got some during his return to Ring of Honor on account of his departure involving him vacating the tag team titles in exchange for a TNA tryout. During the Road to Best in the World, his partner, Rhett Titus, started to pick up a little as well, since some fans were of the opinion the All Night Express had served their purpose by losing to War Machine so they could call themselves linear champions in addition to holding the belts and it was time for ANX to step aside for better teams. Then Caprice Coleman joined them, fans being of the opinion his Face–Heel Turn would be better served with a Dalton Castle feud, reuniting with Cedric Alexander or following up on Prince Nana's offer. Finally, the three men's Cabinet introduction promo "to make wrestling great again" went on so long it took away from the main event between Jay Lethal and Jay Briscoe, a rematch a year in the making. During the promo "This is awesome!" became "This is boring!" and that became "Wrap it up!". The Cabinet were saved from this when they became Darker and Edgier as The Rebellion, a group more about action than displays or speeches.
- Had the American Wrestling Association's memory not been broken to pieces and swept under a rug by the WWF, this might be known as Greg Gagne heat. Being the son of promoter Verne, he already had a lot to overcome in the eyes of the fans but managed to win them over until 1987, when Verne transparently created the AWA International Television Title for Greg to hold. Ronnie Garvin, who that same year was a babyface so ill received he was booed against Ric Flair, was cheered when working heel against Greg because he managed to, ever so briefly, take the belt from him.
- Rush nicely demonstrates how "técnico" and "babyface" don't always mesh. He kept the técnico designation even as he was getting booed more than most rudos. After teaming with the fast falling star of La Sombra, they became the most hated men in CMLL, and were often booked in the manner of heels (while still insisting they were different kinds of técnicos).
- After Sara Del Rey turned heel, SHIMMER brought in "Sweet and Sour" Larry Sweeney as her manager. Fans reacted so badly to the idea of a man being involved in the action as anything other than a referee that he was dropped after one appearance.
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.
- December to Dismember 2006, the first and only pay per view exclusive to WWE's rebooted ECW brand (dubbed "WWECW" by fans). Said brand had its share of problems, such as the phasing out of ECW originals like Sabu (released after the first post-WrestleMania ECW) and The Sandman (drafted to Raw in the 2008 draft and released months later), the stricter WWE rules, the untimely suspension of the first champion of the new ECW, Rob Van Dam, the sudden release of Kurt Angle due to substance abuse, and everything that happened with the late Chris Benoit. Not to mention that it quickly became a C-show to Raw and SmackDown. But December to Dismember, held in Augusta, Georgia, was rock bottom for the roster. The undercard had a skeleton crew of perennial midcarders and no-names like Sylvester Terkay, Kevin Thorn and Mike Knox, plus a pre-commentary Matt Striker going against one of the few ECW originals on the show, Balls Mahoney. Matt and Jeff Hardy versus MNM was inexplicably added despite neither team being on this roster (and oddly, it was one of the only matches advertised besides the main event). And then Sabu was taken out backstage and replaced in the main event with Hardcore Holly,note and the fans saw right through it. Thus, Holly joined CM Punk, Van Dam, Bobby Lashley, The Big Show and Test in the Extreme Elimination Chamber main event. Punk had quickly gotten a huge fandom in WWE, so of course he was first eliminated, to a huge negative response. By the end, amidst "BULLSHIT" and "BORING" chants, it was Lashley, an obvious Creator's Pet at the time, going over The Big Show to win the ECW title. By then, the Augusta crowd had long turned on the show, sometimes literally. The result was what fans called "the death of ECW," and the aftermath saw Paul Heyman leaving the company, a fraction of the usual pay-per-view buyrate (partly thanks to WWE saturating the market with many PPVs at the time), WWE ending single-brand pay-per-views for eleven years, and the brand slowly dying.
- 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 worldwide, and the page where customers could cancel their WWE Network subscriptions crashed due to heavy traffic. You've got to wonder how incompetent management has to be to book the Rumble like this, especially after the debacle of the Rumble the previous year, and in Philadelphia no less. The lesson? Don't go into Philadelphia with a terrible show.
- The main event of TLC 2015 between Roman Reigns and Sheamus had this because the fans didn't want them to feud (the company's terrible booking made it the most boring feud that could've happened thanks to Sheamus' massive loss of credibility — fans wanted Dean Ambrose or Kevin Owens to feud with Reigns instead). The Boston crowd, when not chanting "NXT", chanted for people not even in the arena, and two of whom might not even wrestle for the company ever againnote : CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, and even John Cena. Nobody got a pop until after the match, when Reigns beat the crap out of the widely-reviled Triple H and briefly pulled out of the X-Pac Heat before he regained it quickly in 2016.
- 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, which eventually turned 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 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 WWE. The way 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.
- At the go-home show of 2013's TLC pay-per-view, it had gotten so bad that 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. This went so far that when Cena was injured toward the end of 2015, even many smarks came to legitimately miss him, as WWE's next plan of building Roman Reigns as the next top face utterly failed and caused ratings to tank. Some even theorized that Reigns' mega-push was actually one long, convoluted scheme to finally get Cena over with the hardcore fans.
- Cena's tendency to acknowledge and make fun of the "Let's go Cena/Cena sucks" and "John Cena sucks!" chants also endear him to a great proportion of the smarkier fans. In general Cena is a strange example where his character gets X-Pac Heat (or more specifically the sort of booking his character is subjected to) but people like the guy behind it because he's talented enough to work through it, demonstrating the genuine performance abilities that are valued in pro wrestling.
- The Miz is an interesting case of getting X-Pac Heat, shaking it off, 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 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 (Kayfabe) fired, for about two weeks, The Miz got the jump on Cena twice and beat the ever loving crap out of him. When 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 both the face turn and finisher were originally slated for Ensemble Darkhorse Dolph Ziggler.
- 2016, however, was a very good year for The Miz. Despite taking the Intercontinental championship off of fan favorite Zack Ryder the night after the latter's WrestleMania win, he's brought a lot of credibility back to the title with how much he clearly values it. It culminated in him going to SmackDown during the brand split, cutting a passionate Worked Shoot promo on Talking Smack (which also sparked an ongoing rivalry with General Manager Daniel Bryan) that was met with widespread acclaim from both casual fans and smarks alike, and having stellar championship matches with the likes of the aforementioned Ziggler and Dean Ambrose. By the end of the year, he cemented himself as not only one of SmackDown's top heels, but one of WWE's greatest modern heels, period.
- 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 New Japan and IGF(where Lesnar had more bad matches), 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 later 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.
- Back again to some extent after his matches in 2016. SummerSlam '14? Awesome due to the Catharsis Factor of Cena finally getting squashed in a match. Rollins? He was playing a Dirty Coward heel anyway and 2015 had the rematches with 'Taker. 2016 was where the pattern of every Lesnar match since breaking the streak became a problem and he delivered a dull match at Wrestlemania against Dean Ambrose. In the summer, Brock made a one-night return to UFC and failed two drug tests while preparing, confirming what many suspected for years. WWE did nothing to punish Brock, revealing that part-time wrestlers are exempt from their drug tests, which pissed fans off big time especially since WWE had been handing out suspensions like Halloween candy to other superstars who failed drug tests, including Roman Reigns. Then at SummerSlam '16, he beat up the returning Randy Orton badly enough that he was left in a pool of his own blood, had a legitimate concussion, several staples in his head and missed his next PPV appearance (to the point that Chris Jericho was ready to get into a real fight over the Orton fiasco). The overprotective nature of his booking which makes an already seemingly invincible monster look even stronger, plus the repetitive nature of his squash matches has lead to some Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy regarding his feuds now, since it's hard to get invested when he's going to walk all over whatever Face they feed to him next. It's reached the point where the returning Goldbergnote has consistently gotten cheered over him, the sole exception being in Lesnar's home state of Minnesota.note And then Goldberg squashed Lesnar in a minute during their rematch at Survivor Series, to the enjoyment of many fans.
- Roman Reigns has become such an extreme case of X-Pac Heat that if the term X-Pac Heat weren't so ingrained in the fandom, the trope could easily be renamed Reigns Heat:
- During his time in The Shield, Reigns was immensely popular. However, while he was in the stable, he had Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins to cover for his weaknesses on the microphone and in the ring, and Luke Harper selling his offense and making him look awesome. Once The Shield broke up, Reigns was exposed as an inexperienced and poor worker with terrible mic skills. Since the break up, WWE management has been relentless in their attempts to make Reigns the new top babyface of the entire promotion. 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 fans turned against him. WWE has tried various methods over the years to get the fans behind him. While some of them worked temporarily, in the long run, the extreme effort they're going through to force Reigns down the fans throats has only served to turn them further against him. And unlike John Cena above, Reigns' response to fans' dislike of him could best be described as smug nastiness.
- The first time the heat kicked up was after he was out for several months starting in late 2014, and put right back into the main event slot as though he'd never left in the first place. He won the Royal Rumble in 2015 to a terrible reaction. 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.
- Following that, he was moved into a feud with Sheamus, a fellow recipient of fan disinterest. This sorta got the good heat back on Reigns, but only in the sense that they preferred him to Sheamus, not actually liking him. And as if to rub it in the face of the fans that Reigns was the next big thing, he was given a stable of his own to combat Sheamus' League of Nations, called The Roman Empire, featuring The Usos and Dean Ambrose as Reigns' lackeys. When Reigns eventually won the feud with Sheamus, the negative reactions came right back.
- The heat returned with a vengeance after he pinned Ambrose for a #1 Contender's spot for Triple H's title. The angle went down very badly: Reigns was written off of TV after a brutal beatdown by Triple H (in a sense of irony stemming from the Authority's example on this page, when Triple H, the face of one of the most hated angles in the company, beat down Reigns, the audience cheered Triple H), and Ambrose was booked in his place.
- Then there was the failed drug test in June 2016. When he returned, he started taking more clean pinfalls. This, ironically, lead to him being better received in general by the fans, who thought Reigns as an angry upper-midcarder with an unclear agenda was better than Reigns as a bland babyface main eventer. So of course it was decided that Reigns had paid enough dues and was pushed back into the main event scene. Although he didn't win the title from champion Kevin Owens, he did manage to both repeatedly make Owens look like a chump and completely overshadow him.
- How pervasive was Reigns' X-Pac Heat? He was 2016's winner of Pro Wrestling Illustrated's "Most Hated Wrestler of the Year" award, an award traditionally reserved for heels. The only other comparable instance of this happening was when Rob Van Dam won the "Most Popular" award during his heel run in the "Invasion" angle.
- Then comes Royal Rumble 2017. Not only was he in the championship match against Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal title, but despite losing, he was the 30th entrant in the Royal Rumble match rather than the widely speculated/requested Finn Bálor, Samoa Joe, or Kurt Angle. A collective crowd calling "Bullshit" was the response and it got worse as he eliminated The Undertaker singlehandedly. When Randy Orton (who, being a member of The Wyatt Family, was technically a heel) eliminated him to win his second Royal Rumble, it was met with widespread cheers. The sheer audacity of putting Reigns in the Rumble at all despite knowing how poorly it went the last two years leads one to suspect that WWE expected the crowd to unanimously boo Reigns and cheer the winner, regardless of who it was.
- Reigns' X-Pac Heat became utterly nuclear once he defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33. The crowd chants he received - for almost fifteen straight minutes - on the first Raw after WrestleMania ranged from "Delete!" to "Roman sucks!" to "Fuck you, Roman!". Even the commentators acknowledged that Reigns was booed out of the building.
- Roman actually has a second page on The Other Wiki dedicated to cataloguing his career trajectory thanks to the extraordinary levels of hatred he's received. The reason is that in Roman's case WWE are fully aware that he's massively hated, but rather than attempt to correct it as they have with unpopular wrestlers in the past, they've intentionally adopted a "sod you" mentality, repeatedly forcing him down the throats of the unwilling and unhappy audience out of spite and attempting to restructure the narrative to portray Roman as the most-successful wrestler in the company because he gets the biggest and most-passionate reactions, irrespective of the fact that he's getting completely the wrong ones. They're basically denying the existence of X-Pac Heat because of a stubborn refusal to be dictated to by the fans. On the bright side, despite being booked as a face, Roman is now capable of getting any wrestler cheered like a hero, even the brutal Monster Among Men Braun Strowman, making him possibly the greatest heel to ever be a face.
- Not helping their case is the WWE claiming that fans decided when it comes to Reigns they cheer who is to be booed and boo who is to be cheered. Let's just say fans were not happy about this.
- 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 two Match of the Year candidates 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, 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, 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, 2015 edition of NXT—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 even 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.
- She decided to follow in Lita's footsteps and leave wrestling over the negative reactions. After receiving a wellness policy in August 2016, she never returned to the ring, opted not to return to Total Divas in July 2017, and in August 2017 finally was released from the company.
- 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 almost 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 2014 Royal Rumble is a popular reason given by 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 Psychosis had held out against pressure to unmask in WCW made Mysterio look even worse in comparison.
- The third was at the 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.
- An unusual example of this trope came in "Not Daniel Bryan" heat, whereas anyone who got scapegoated for WWE's bad booking of Bryan (by either squashing him in match or being essentially a Replacement Scrappy for him) unfairly got booed out of the area. Amongst those offenders include Sheamus (for "18 Seconds"), Randy Orton (for his 2013-14 title reign when he cashed in MITB on Bryan right after he beat Cena), The Big Show (when he was shoved into Bryan's spot as Orton's main title challenger), Rey Mysterio Jr. (for being #30 in the 2014 Royal Rumble), Batista (for winning that year's rumble and being pushed in Bryan's place as the main anti-Authority babyface), and of course Roman Reigns.
- 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 2015 Royal Rumble. For the next several months, chants of "PLEASE RETIRE" haunted him at arenas. Then he lost even more weight, got into the best shape of his life, and escaped X-Pac Heat a second time.
- 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.
- Any time a wrestler develops a Periphery Demographic, they run the risk of turning into one of these. Promoters love wrestlers who can draw in from a periphery demographic because it gets eyes and attention on the promotion that wouldn't usually be there. They then push the wrestler in question to make sure he's always there drawing in the periphery demographic. The main demographic will in turn begin resenting the wrestler, feeling their push is undeserved and because the periphery demographic annoys them. The classic example of this is Jeff Hardy and his popularity with teenage girls.note This is also another reason why Roman Reigns is hated because female fans love him for obvious reasons.
- The wrestling fandom in general has gotten smarter to kayfabe and is more interested in what doesn't happen on shows after the collapse of the territorial system and particularly during the Monday Night Wars, which in fact were kicked off in part by X-Pac Heat. While the blame has occasionally been placed on the increased prevalence of the internet, which makes it almost impossible for casual fans and smarks to not interact, as explained in this editorial, no matter the time or place, solid wrestling skills are the best way of getting over, and attempts to cover it up usually get wrestlers booed. Furthermore, while there are some wrestlers who manage to overcome this, there are many more who don't. What makes wrong heat look more prevalent in post-territorial wrestling is partial apathy. It's often not even noticed unless directed at a face, since heels are supposed to be booed, and among corrective efforts taken, improvement to the product in ring are often the last things attempted. But just as a heel who no longer relies on shortcuts to win often has a successful face turn, sufficient ring work is almost always enough to dampen and even overcome X-Pac Heat.