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Misaimed Fandom / Professional Wrestling

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Examples of Misaimed Fandom for characters in Professional Wrestling.

  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's "WHAT?" during his 2001 heel run (WHAT?) definitely qualifies. He would say "WHAT?" (WHAT?) whenever someone tried to speak (WHAT?) during his promos as a way (WHAT?) to intimidate his opponent. However, it eventually caught on (WHAT?) with the fans (WHAT?), basically killing his heel push (WHAT?), and causing Austin to slowly revert to becoming a face again. (WHAT?) The audience would use the "WHAT?" chant (WHAT?) whenever someone tried the overdone style of "Short Statement Followed By Dramatic Pause" Promo Cutting.(WHAT?)
    • This in turn lead to a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for The Undertaker:
      Undertaker: I'll tell you what, why don't you say "what" if you like to sleep with your own sister.
      Crowd: "WHA—Booooo!"
    • Also one for Hulk Hogan, twisting it around into his personal Catchphrase:
      Crowd: "WHAT?"
      Hogan: "-CHA GONNA DO?"
      Crowd: "WHAT?"
      Hogan: "-CHA GONNA DO?"
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    • In 2010, long after Austin's departure, the crowd at Raw events uses the WHAT? to punctuate the reading of the anonymous general manager's emails by announcer Michael Cole.
    • 2011 saw the crowd use the WHAT? to heckle a freshly-turned R-Truth, to great comedic effect.
      R-Truth: "Don't WHAT me!"
    • In 2013, during a Mark Henry promo on Sheamus:
      Henry: "Now, when Sheamus-"
      Crowd: "WHAT?"
      Henry: "When Sheamus-"
      Crowd: "WHAT?"
      Henry: "When Sheamus-"
      Crowd: "WHAT?"
      Henry: "Y'all just a buncha puppets."
    • When Kurt Angle came back from neck surgery he rejoiced in the "You Suck" and "What" chants just because he was glad to be back.
  • After a few weeks of frustration concerning tag partner Tajiri, Eddie Guerrero went berserk when Tajiri touched his low-rider (in reality, Tajiri had been thrown into the car by an opponent) and tossed Tajiri into the windshield. The next SmackDown, Eddie cut a promo saying that he was only going to look after number one, which was supposed to be a heel turn, but the fans had begun to buy into the Lie, Cheat, and Steal face persona cultivated just a few weeks prior with Los Guerreros' feud with Team Angle that the action fit the criteria, and the crowd cheered for Eddie. Suffice to say, Eddie stayed a babyface.
  • In WCW, there was the Heel faction, the West Texas Rednecks, who were fans of country music. They feuded against the hip-hop artist, Master P and the No Limit Soldiers, who were pushed as faces. Problem was, that WCW held their shows in the south, where rap music was hated, at least by WCW's core audience. Not only that — Curt Hennig and company were charismatic wrestlers who deliberately acted funny, and had a catchy theme song, while Master P's crew were ebonics-spouting stereotypical thugs who drastically outnumbered their foes (thus coming across as bullies and the heels as brave victims). Because of this, the West Texas Rednecks were cheered by the Southern crowd, and their song, "Rap is Crap", actually received airtime on Country stations.
  • The Dudley Boys' 2000 run in the WWF. During their matches, the Dudleys would drive their opponents through a wooden table. When they did this to females, it was supposed to give them heel heat, but the audience liked it. The point of Double Standard Abuse can be argued all day, but in any case, it's a far cry from Jake "The Snake" Roberts even attempting to hurt Miss Elizabeth being considered a Moral Event Horizon.
  • When Floyd Mayweather was booked to face The Big Show at Wrestlemania 24, he was originally projected as the face, supposedly putting his boxing career at risk against a much larger opponent. Most fans, however, hated Mayweather's showboating and were so glad to see Show come back from retirement that WWE had to quickly reverse the roles. Mayweather still won the match, but he had to cheat to do so.
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  • Ted DiBiase Jr. was supposed to be booked as the babyface during the Legacy breakup and have a singles push. WWE's build up was going to have Randy Orton be the heel with Ted being the popular babyface but Orton's antics made him so popular with the fans that it made him look like the face of the feud so WWE had to do a quick change and have Ted Jr remain heel. Edge even lampshaded this in a promo during his confrontation with Orton.
  • In the start of EV2's feud with Fortune the crowd was rooting for the stable Fortune, even during the beatdown that Fortune gave EV2, the night after EV2 had their reunion PPV, the crowd was chanting for Fortune. Spoony even commented that it's hard to root against Fortune because they were booked as a fun heel group, and was the kind of group that you might like to hang out with. It also made sense that the group, outside of Ric Flair, consists of a bunch of upcoming TNA superstars while EV2 consists of a bunch of people that are past their prime.
  • This is how the smark community works in general. Their basic rule is: You must love and cheer for the best pure technical wrestler, no matter how bad his character is made out to be. You get extra points if doing so wrecks one of WWE's live shows.
    • They'll also cheer a Heel if his persona happens to be very entertaining. The best example currently is The Miz, who, at best, could be considered decent in the ring, but his Troll character is so hilariously petty that Smarks just fell in love with the guy. Until WWE ran with it by giving him more screen time and putting the belt on him, at which point they turned and criticized his in-ring action again.
      • This reached a hilarious peak when, during a truly horribly written, overwrought, offensively bad "Diva's Revolution" segment Miz was hosting, the groups of girls involved started just yelling at each other, and Miz interrupted them, saying "WHEN MY HAND GOES UP YOUR MOUTH GOES SHUT!" This shut them up as intended, and drew LOUD cheers from the audience that were sick of the whole wretched segment and angle, causing Miz to turn to the audience and yell "THAT GOES FOR YOU TOO!" in order to get booed again.
    • Similarly, the concept of "Indie darlings" and "Internet celebrities" leads to someone who should be either booed or laughed at ending up being cheered more than the rest of the promotion put together. Sometimes this forces the writers' hands, if only for a short while. Case in point? CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Zack Ryder, the WWE, World Heavyweight and US champions at the same time. Woo, woo, woo! You know it! At least until Punk and Bryan were given a gradual (and believable) Face Heel Turns (Bryan's about a few weeks into his reign, Punk's in the middle of the summer) while Zack lost the belt to Jack Swagger, and stopped wrestling on Raw or Smackdown.
    • Except in the above cases, the Misaim was that management were only going to put over stars they wanted/crafted (ex. Sheamus and John Cena) regardless of the fans being tired of them and expected said audience to boo/cheer whoever they were told to (ex. Sheamus' Curb-Stomp Battle over Daniel Bryan) instead of who actually earned their reactions through hard work despite the bad (read: Jobber) hands management half-heartedly dealt them. This was the whole crux of CM Punk’s Worked Shoot that Cena actually agreed with as leverage against Vince McMahon that “You (Vince) could make a dozen more of me.” At the same time, Ryder was self-made through his online videos (“inspiring” management to do likewise) as Joke Character or not, he got over with the fans in spite of the higher-ups intending for him to rot at the bottom of the roster. Basically 2015, alone proved not only that McMahon (see his Trivia and YMMV pages for further emphasis) hasn’t learned anything from this, but would also sooner spite his own audience by putting over people he wants the way he wants and the people are tired of it.
  • It's well known in the WWE that it's really, really hard to get a Canadian audience to consider a Canadian wrestler as the heel in a given match unless they happen to be fighting another Canadian. WWF specifically renamed rising monster heel Canadian Earthquake (John Tenta) to simply Earthquake going into WrestleMania VI, which was held in Toronto.
  • In another example of the Canadian audience turning things topsy-turvy for bookers, when Hulk Hogan returned to WWF they were setting him up to continue his "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan heel persona and feuding with then-face The Rock. The only problem was that the climax of the feud took place at WrestleMania X8 in Toronto. Since WCW had rarely ventured north of the border, Canadian fans still largely remembered the classic face Hulk Hogan and proceeded to go completely wild over him, and booing The Rock, to the point where, by the end of the match, they had accomplished a completely unplanned Heel–Face Turn. You could hear the disbelief at the announcing table as this was going on.
    • That wasn't really a Canadian thing. The audience was starting to turn in favor of Hogan even before WrestleMania X8. The crowd exploded in cheers at the Raw event the week before when Hogan pinned Rock in an nWo vs Rock and Austin handicap tag match held in Detroit. It was really much more of a "Rock is getting stale" feeling coinciding with a huge nostalgia rush for Hogan and the nWo who hadn't been around for a few years.
    • Similarly, at WCW Mayhem 99, November 21, 1999, which was held in Toronto, the Canadian fans booed the Face Goldberg and cheered the Heel Sid Vicious, because of the WWF party line that Goldberg was a "Stone Cold" Steve Austin ripoff, and Sid was previously an on-and-off WWF guy.
  • Once during a British Bulldogs (The Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith) vs. The Iron Sheik/Nikolai Volkoff (w/"The Doctor of Style" Slick) match, the crowd was chanting "USA USA", even though the Faces were British. Commentator Jesse Ventura Lampshaded this by saying, "Oh listen, they are cheering for Slick!"
    • This happens WAY more often then it should. At nWo Souled Out 97, a match between Masahiro Chono (Japanese) and Chris Jericho (Canadian) resulted in "USA!" chants. Eric Bischoff would lampshade this by saying something to the effect of "The fans know where they live." Another problem is that Chono and Jericho were both born in the U.S., Chono in Seattle and Jericho in Manhasset, NY.
  • No-one should have been surprised that in a company where the majority of viewers were young men, that the smoking hot Mickie James and her Psycho Lesbian gimmick would get over as a face rather than the plan for her to be the heel in her feud with Trish. Mickie was so over as a face that in her entire WWE career she wasn't ever booed.
  • Happened big time with Becky Lynch 's Heel Turn. For what it's worth, the reason Lynch should have been viewed as the bad guy in-story made sense: She had backstabbed her best friend Charlotte Flair just because she couldn't handle losing to her. The problem was that Becky had been so massively over with the fans that they were willing to twist the story any way possible to justify refusing to boo Becky, saying Charlotte was at fault for not doing Becky a favor by stepping out of the title picture or otherwise "letting" Becky win the title (in-story, mind you, not just behind the scenes) when no self-respecting competitive athlete would ever want to be handed a win or title, especially not by someone they trusted as a friend.
  • Similar to the "WHAT?" example above, the Seattle-based promotion 3-2-1 Battle! has "SOLID STEEL" as an all-purpose catchphrase and the promotion actually encourages the 3-2-1 Battalion to shout "SOLID STEEL" whenever a chair or guardrail gets used during a match. It is as annoying as you probably thought it was.


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