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This article is about a professional wrestling term. For the World Wrestling Entertainment program; see WWE Heat.

In professional wrestling, heat refers to both crowd reaction and real-life animosity between those involved in the professional wrestling business. In terms of crowd reaction, heat is usually either cheers for a babyface or boos for a heel. The amount of heat a wrestler generates is often an accurate gauge of his popularity.

Although the term can in some contexts refer to either positive or negative crowd reactions, "heat" can otherwise be used specifically to mean a negative crowd response (booing etc.); its opposite being a "pop" or positive reaction (cheering etc.).

Canned heat

"Canned heat" refers to playing a recording of cheering or booing through the arena's sound system or adding it to a taped show. This serves to either amplify a crowd reaction or to mask silence from the crowd. Pre-taped crowd reactions from other events are also spliced in with the programming to make it look like the crowd is more energetic than it actually is. WCW was once accused of pumping in crowd chants for Bill Goldberg. When WWF wrestler Dwayne Gill was repackaged as Gillberg, who used Bill Goldberg's wrestling moves and mannerisms, his entrance was accompanied by over exaggerated and clearly recorded chants of "Gillberg". The announcers also commented on how none of the fans in the arena were chanting to make it clear to viewers that canned heat was being used.

Cheap heat

Heels draw "cheap heat" by blatantly insulting the fans, a local sports team, or the town they are performing in. This is called "cheap" because it is an easy way for heels to receive boos. Faces will sometimes do the equivalent, referred to as a Cheap Pop, by referring to the town or promising to "win one for the fans".

Heel wrestlers can also draw cheap heat by referring to a mainstream news event as part of their promo, especially if the event has strongly emotional or political ramifications (e.g. a natural disaster), although they sometimes do not mention it by name. One example of a wrestler using cheap heat was Sgt. Slaughter, who often delivered anti-American promos during the Gulf War (and Operation Desert Shield immediately before it) as part of his Iraqimarker sympathizer heel gimmick; one of those promos came at Survivor Series 1990, where Slaughter insulted servicemen stationed in Iraq for Thanksgiving. In 2003, The Rock used the Lakers-Kings rivalry to gain a lot of heel heat, when he was singing a song about leaving Sacramentomarker. The last words of the song were "I'll be sure to come back when the Lakers beat the Kings in May."

Historically, another common practice of heel wrestlers to draw cheap heat involves using racial and ethnic slurs to offend the collective sensibility of wrestling fans. In 1972, as the American Indian Movement was gaining momentum, Baron Von Raschke was known to refer to Native American WWA World Heavyweight Champion Billy Red Cloud as a "dirty low down Injun" as a means of drawing cheap heat. Rowdy Roddy Piper also used racist terms when promoting his match against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T for WrestleMania I when calling T's fans "porch monkeys", calling T a "monkey" and feeding his poster bananas, and threatening to "whip him like a slave". In 2004, while in Germany, JBL (John Bradshaw Layfield) used Nazi salutes and was booed heavily by the crowd.

Dead heat

"Dead heat" refers to the absence of crowd reaction during a match or promo. In the original ECW, the crowd often made derisive chants such as "Boring!" or "This Match Sucks!". This was often done deliberately, booking an opening match to draw dead heat then sending out a main event star to beat down all the wrestlers in the match (usually 911 with chokeslams). Many "dead heat" chants have been heard during the early days of the latest reincarnation of ECW (mostly in matches involving established WWE superstars), with the fans starting chants like "Change the channel!", "You both suck!", and "Where's our refund?" Some smart marks who are familiar with the fact that crowd reactions are the bread and butter of the business will sometimes use dead heat in place of legit heat when a heel does something they do not like, in hopes that the lack of an audible reaction will do more to cause the heels to stop than booing will.

Go-away heat

"Go-away heat" refers to heat drawn by performers whom the fans are not interested in any capacity and do not want to watch. Heel characters are supposed to be booed, and a negative crowd reaction generally means that the fans care about the wrestler and will pay money to watch him out of hope he will lose or be humiliated by the babyfaces. However, for a wrestler drawing go-away heat, the crowd ignores face or heel alignment and boos the wrestler because they are actually bored with or have disdain for the performer (not the character) and would rather watch someone or something else. This type of heat is often expressed by audience chants of "boring" or "[Wrestler Name] sucks" during the wrestler's promos, or during matches where that particular wrestler is currently dominant or in receipt of the spotlight. "Go away" heat is generally not acknowledged by announcers as it indicates that an element of the product is failing to go over with fans.

The term "[Wrestler Name] Heat" has been used to describe this kind of heat, with the name of the wrestler receiving it supplied; for example, "X-Pac Heat" was used commonly during the Invasion storyline when X-Pac was booed and his opponents cheered despite X-Pac being cast as aligned with the WWF and thus as a face. "Bossman Heat" was used frequently at one point, due to the fans' disdain for Ray Traylor during his second run as the Big Bossman, but the usage dropped off after Traylor's death. In recent years, John Cena has been known to receive "Go-away heat" from a considerable fraction of live audiences, while others continue to cheer for him.

Legit heat

"Heat" can also refer to legitimate personal animosity between people in the wrestling business. This is sometimes referred to as "legit heat" or simply "heat". Examples of legit heat were the feuds between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan, Jacques Rougeau and Dynamite Kid, Ric Flair and Mick Foley, Sable and Luna Vachon, Edge and Matt Hardy, Melina and Candice Michelle, and most recently between Maryse and Michelle McCool.

Regional heat

Regional heat refers to a wrestler receiving a different reaction in certain locations than he normally would. This is most noticeable in Canada, as the fans tend to cheer all Canadian wrestlers, regardless of heel/face alignment. Inversely, Shawn Michaels has consistently received heel heat whenever he wrestles in Canada, due to the events of the infamous Montreal Screwjob in 1997, regardless of his on-screen persona's alignment.

Hometown Heat is a specific kind of regional heat, in which wrestlers are cheered while wrestling in their home towns. They may receive more cheers than they normally would, or have the fans cheer them even if they're working heel. One example of this was Kurt Angle's appearance in a WWE show in his hometown of Pittsburghmarker, where he was completely unable to get the fans to boo him, even after insulting the local sports teams. Another example of this is when Randy Orton fought Shawn Michaels during WWE Judgement Day 2007.

Also heel wrestlers may be booked in the babyface role whilst in their hometown, one example of this practice is whenever William Regal wrestles in England, whilst he may be a heel normally he is booked as the babyface for the night.

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