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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.
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. During the Gulf War (and Operation: Desert Shield immediately before it), Sgt. Slaughter often drew cheap heat as part of his Iraqi sympathizer heel gimmick. At Survivor Series 1990, Slaughter thoroughly insulted servicemen stationed in Iraq for Thanksgiving.
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.  In 2004, while in Germany, JBL (John Bradshaw Layfield) used Nazi salutes and was booed heavily by the crowd. By many people's standards, this type of "cheap heat" went too far, leading to "legit heat" (see below) since even to this day making Nazi jokes in Germany is considered taboo (references to the Nazi party are legal if used in an entertainment context, but still illegal when used in a political context).
"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.
"Dead heat" refers to the absence of crowd reaction during a match or promo. In the original ECW, the crowd would often make derisive chants such as "Boring!" or "This Match Sucks!".
Sometimes, during such matches, the fans will make a local sports chant just out of boredom with the match (e.g. in Detroit, fans will chant "Let's Go Red Wings" or "Fire Millen!!!" during such matches).
"X-Pac heat", sometimes called "Go-away heat", refers to heat drawn by performers whom the fans simply 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, in the case of X-Pac heat, the crowd ignores face or heel alignment and boos the wrestler because they are legitimately bored with or have disdain for the performer (not the character) and would rather watch someone or something else.
The phrase "X-Pac heat" comes from the reaction that X-Pac's character received in WWF/WWE during his tenure with that company. Booing and loudly chanting "X-Pac sucks!" when X-Pac wrestled became something of a running joke for audiences who had no interest in seeing him in action.
"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". An example of legit heat was the feud between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels in the mid 1990s.
Heat (Match Portion)
"Heat" is commonly used to describe the portion of a match where the heel has the advantage. Heat is the heel's equivalent to the "Shine" and typically comes into play after the "Cut-Off".