Cheap Heat

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
(Redirected from Cheap Pop)
It's in the title!
I must be in Quahog, because all I see is a bunch of hicks!"
Macho Man Randy Savage, Family Guy

As a pro wrestler, there are a few ways you can get the crowd invested in what you do. You can dazzle them with your incredible acrobatics, brutalize your opponent with anything at hand, project the aura of an unstoppable badass, work to tell a story through your matches, or even develop your character through interviews and promo segments.

Or, you can take the easy way out and get some Cheap Heat.

Cheap heat (sometimes called cheap pops for faces) is generated when a wrestler appeals to the audience directly. For a Face, this means you talk about what a great crowd they are, how awesome their local sports teams are, and so on. It can be much more fun for a Heel, however, as you mock all the town's dirty laundry. Is the local baseball team on a losing track? Make fun of them, and loudly support their rivals. Has a local celebrity done something embarrassing? Talk about it early and often. Are you in New Jersey? Ask them what exit they get off of to go home. And do it all with a shit-eating grin on your face, letting them know you know you're pissing them off and are enjoying it; that'll make it sting even more.

Mind you, cheap heat is not the exclusive preserve of pro wrestling; comedians, bands, and politicians make extensive use of it, as do writers who want us to cheer for (or boo) a particular character.

Cheap heel heat tends to involve lots of Take That and You Bastard. Compare Local Reference.

Examples of Cheap Heat include:

Professional Wrestling

  • Mick Foley is famous for his cheap pops, RIGHT HERE... On All The Tropes Wiki! *goofy grin, thumbs up* His career retrospective set was even titled Hard Knocks and Cheap Pops.
  • For the benefit of those with flash photography, WWE wrestlers Edge and Christian had their Five Second Poses, which, at first, were goofy, time-wasting poses done to try the audience's patience. Later, as they started to get more over as heels, they had more elaborate ones mocking local figures (their infamous Fat Elvis sketch, at a Raw show in Memphis, was something to behold).
  • Perennial WWE champ John Cena has a large collection of throwback sports jerseys, and used them to good effect when he was Pretty Fly for a White Guy. As a heel, he'd make sure to always wear the jersey of a local team's rivals, but after his Heel Face Turn, he switched to wearing the jersey of a hometown team.
    • If John Cena were in the dark match to "send the crowd home happy", he would often add some cheap heat in the form of thanking the crowd for their support, singing "Rocky Top" with the Tennessee crowd to piss off Michael Cole, etc. and so forth...
  • The "home team's jersey" / "rival's jersey" cheap heat may be as old as the commercialisation of jerseys themselves. Amongst other notable examples:
    • Owen Hart wearing the jersey of the (theoretically) hated Toronto Argonauts at the 1998 Break Down show in Hamilton, Ontario. Unfortunately, since most of the crowd had driven down from Toronto, that just made Owen even more beloved than he already was.
    • Bret Hart getting one of the biggest pops in the long history of wrestling in Toronto by revealing a Maple Leafs jersey during his first appearance in Canada with WCW.
    • Bret, Owen, and Davey Boy Smith - normally associated with Calgary - getting cheap heat from an Edmonton crowd by donning Oilers jerseys.
    • Various wrestlers have praised Manchester United whenever WWE visits Manchester, UK. This usually backfires, as WWE crowds tend to be disproportionately comprised of Manchester City fans.

" I heard a rumor that you play football here in Manchester, (Manchester had just won, massive pop.) Oh, well that leads to another question, is the team any good?" (Further pop for Mick Foley.)

    • Not only does John Cena have enough throwbacks to have one for almost every city, but his original gimmick was that he'd wear a set of tights and pads matched to the colours of the city's most prominent sports team. The gimmick was dropped quickly, leaving Cena with a large surplus of wrestling gear.
      • Kelly Kelly seems to have adopted a variant of Cena's old look recently.
    • A related real-life example would be the late golfer Payne Stewart, who, due to his NFL sponsorship, eventually started wearing attire matched to the colours of the local NFL team. As the last golfer on tour to wear a traditional golf outfit, the results were often humourous.
      • Golfer Ben Curtis does a similar thing, wearing a polo shirt in the local NFL team's colors and the team's logo. The NFL sponsored him after he won the Open decked out in orange for his Cleveland Browns.
    • Edge state in his autobiography that he and Christian would do this constantly while touring, and wondered that the fans would never learn that they were heels and would mock their town. He showed a picture of a room in his house, lying on a carpet of NHL jerseys.
      • To elaborate, one thing Edge and Christian did a lot was have one of them appear in the home town's jersey, let the crowd cheer him on for a little while, and then have the other appear in a rival jersey and "tackle" the snot out of the other one in an embarrassing way.
    • Perenial WCW Jobber Norman Smiley was reinvented around the turn of the century as "Screamin' Norman", whose gimmick was that he was in the hardcore division despite not being at all 'hardcore', so he wore football, hockey or whatever pads to the ring, thus taking the 'wear the hometown Jersey' thing to ridiculous extremes by wearing the whole damn outfit. Needless to say, he was cheered.
  • Former WWE, and now TNA, wrestler Kurt Angle once turned a rabidly pro-hometown-boy Pittsburgh crowd against him by declaring, "If you were to give America an enema, Pittsburgh is where you'd stick the hose."
    • This line was first said, word for word, by Bret Hart during his infamous 1997 heel run.
    • Angle also did the hometown jersey thing, and so did then-champion Ken Anderson, the day before Super Bowl XLV. Angle is from Pittsburgh, Anderson from Green Bay.
  • WWE's Chris Jericho had been directly calling the audience hypocrites and suck-ups during one of his last WWE runs.
    • In a delicious addition, for the first several promos of Jericho's return to WWE in 2012, Jericho would come down to the ring to his music, get in the ring, and then... say NOTHING! Since Jericho's mic work is such a high quality of his persona and his character, Jericho could get Cheap Heat without saying ANYTHING AT ALL.
    • In May 2012, Jericho stepped on and kicked a Brazilian flag during their first show in Brazil. Flag desecration is a misdemeanor offense in Brazil and was legitimately forced to leave the country immediately or face arrest.
    • CM Punk has also started along the same route, calling the audience and commentators hypocrites. He states that if he had used his tactic against Edge to win the championship instead of Jeff Hardy, he would have been a hero.
      • CM Punk went Up to Eleven with this. In Chicago, his home town, CM Punk made his entrance to cheers, he then stood in the middle of the ring and praised his home cities beauty, and remarked how proud he was to be born there...he then preceded to say how as much as he loves his hometown, he hates the inhabitants of Chicago, and called them pill popping losers with fat children and a corrupt political system, giving him massive heat and proving that CM Punk is the greatest Heel ever.
        • Of course, that didn't stop Chicago fans from unanimously backing Punk at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in July 2011, as the majority of the fans supported their hometown hero as if the previously mentioned heel promo didn't happen.
  • "FINALLY... The Rock has come back... to All The Tropes!"
    • He pulled a fantastic heat variation on this once in Toronto, during his early 2000s heel run. "FINALLY... The Rock has come back to Toron... Toron... To run his mouth on all your candy asses!"
  • Jeff Jarrett had a great one at a show in Melbourne, Australia. After spending a while doing the usual heel ragging on the country, he announced "But there's one good thing about Australia - I've found a sport here that I love. It's called Rugby League!" (For the uninformed, Melbourne is the traditional home of Australian Rules Football, and has a big rivalry with Sydney, traditional home of Rugby League).
  • Even non wrestling fans remember Sgt. Slaughter waving the Iraqi flag. Could there be cheaper heat? And it almost cost him his life and the company a lot more—Slaughter remarks on that to this day when discussing that 1991 phase of his WWE career. It got so bad that the house shows between when he won the WWE title and lost it to Hulk Hogan would often have two main events: Slaughter's title defense would go on mid-way through the card so they could get him out of there before he would literally get killed! (A more standard "send the crowd home happy" main event would soothe some of the anger).
    • There was Mohammed Hassan and the Un Americans who ran on a similar theme.
  • Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels get somewhat discounted heat in Canada when they play on the infamous Montreal Screwjob, especially in Montreal itself.
    • Also, Earl Hebner gets this same type of reaction.
    • If you call full-on X-Pac Heat "discounted"..."You Screwed Bret" is a common chant north of the border when HBK visits.
    • Less true now that Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels have formally reconciled all differences (including a DVD release of the two interviewed together).
  • Speaking of Sergeant Slaughter, on an episode of Raw he guest hosted in Canada, he made a bunch of jokes at the country's expense. Towards the end, he apologized for all of it, claiming that it was all just for fun, and said he'd like to introduce "The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be...". Cue Bret Hart's music... and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan comes out waving the American Flag. The crowd's reaction was negative.
    • First, Slaughter was about to salute the Canadian flag, but instead covered it up with a red X.
    • Then, he made fun of the Canadian history, followed by the pledge of allegiance.
    • His next act was to bring out Celine Dion to sing the national anthem, but instead brings out Jillian Hall instead.
    • Then, he gives an opportunity to the Calgary Kid to become a WWE superstar. However, after joining WWE, he reveals himself to be the American wrestler The Miz.
  • An example of how cheap heat attempts can still fail if you don't read the crowd right. 2008 House show in the Quad Cities for TNA featured 'Sheik Abdul Bashir' coming out with a rant at the audience, as well as two campaign signs: one for John McCain, one for Barack Obama (this was during the general campaign). He seemed to be trying to get the crowd to react, but was using..something foreign-sounding. He went to the back, came out with the advised shit-eating grin, and was showing off the McCain campaign sign. The crowd (half of which probably is from Illinois, and the other half's in a reasonably Democratic part of Iowa) lustily boos. He then..attacks/defaces/tears up the ad. Crowd cheers him well into his match. Oops..
  • Parodied in the pro-wrestling send-up episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender with "Fire Nation Man", who waves a flag around, talking in a bad Russian accent, and then sings something which was probably not actually the Fire Nation anthem.
  • Family Guy - Peter takes Cleveland to a wrestling match, in order to try and get Cleveland to actually express some anger after being cheated on by Loretta. Randy Savage is in the ring haranguing the crowd: "I must be in Quahog, because all I see is a bunch of hicks!"
  • The ultimate heel move ever was done by Santino Marella a little more than a year ago when he claimed that he had finally found a new favorite basketball team and removed his shirt to unveil an Oklahoma City Thunder Seattle, whose beloved Sonics had been moved to OKC and became the Thunder. Those who didn't boo lustily seemed to have had the air taken out of them, as it was as Too Soon a moment as there ever could be.
    • There was also the time he defended the honor of his "sister" Santina from The Great Khali's advances.

Do you think she is a lady of the night? Or a graduate of the University of Texas?

  • Cheap Heat/Pop can also be easily gained by both male and female wrestlers just by flashing a smile or ripping a shirt off.
    • See John Cena pull his shirt off, hear women go crazy.
      • Of course, the reverse also happens with Cena: See John Cena throw his shirt into the crowd, see the "We Hate Cena" contingent throw it right back into the ring at him!
    • The whole reason Diva's seem to do so many splits etc. etc. when they enter the ring.
    • CM Punk and his signature smirk have also been known to send female fans into epileptic fits.
  • One really ill-advised way to get cheap heat is to rub the recent death of a loved one in somebody's face. Randy Orton pulled this on Rey Mysterio, Jr. months after Eddie Guerrero died, stating Eddie was in Hell. Tazz on commentary even seemingly broke character in stating this was going too far. Recently Michael Cole pulled this on Jerry "the King" Lawler, saying Jerry's recent deceased mother would be disappointed in his loss to WWE Champion The Miz. While getting the fans to hate you is what a heel needs to do, disrespecting the dead will get you the wrong kind of heat.
  • Ron Killings (AKA R-Truth and K-Kwik) recently managed an Epic Fail when he Did Not Do the Research about where exactly he was wrestling. He ended his Audience Participation entrance with a resounding "Green Bay, Wisconsin - whassup?"...which did not get the reaction he wanted, given he was in Milwaukee. Hilariously, the crowd not only booed him, they actually started a Milwaukee chant.
    • Even Michael Cole joined in on the chant, possibly to get the crowd to stop booing R-Truth.
    • He probably made the mistake because it was the day after Super Bowl XLIV, where the Green Bay Packers won.
      • John Cena also got in on teasing R-Truth about it later. Smackdown was in Green Bay the next night, and Packer Clay Matthews was deputized as an emergency Special Guest Referee in that main event.
  • Mentioning the crowd or a sports team before the match?! Try using a local product DURING it. WWE House Show in Hershey PA. Rosey is fighting Simon Dean, pre-match Rosey offers Simon a Hershey's Bar, crowd cheers. During the match Simon is whipped in to the corner, Rosey opens the candy bar and crams it RIGHT DOWN SIMON'S THROAT! The crowd EXPLODED (Simon had refused the bar during the pre-match saying "That Chocolate will never touch these lips")
  • Giving out cheap pops is the gimmick of Home Town Huck of Nickelodeon's Thumb Wrestleing Entertainment. He gives pops to a bunch or random towns whenever he performs, and is generally considered the hero of the Dexteras.
  • Oddly inverted in WCW's treatment of Ric Flair, who, when wrestling for the company, would always be booked to look like a totally weak idiot whenever wrestling in the Carolinas where he would otherwise enjoy massive popularity.


    • Or for the unfortunates in Cleveland, Yorkshire : "Hello Cleveland Shopping Centre!"
    • A Southwest Airlines ad had a band playing a huge crowd that loved the show...until the lead singer yelled "THANK YOU DETROIT! WE LOVE YOU!" The crowd falls silent...and his guitarist says "Detroit was last night..." Wanna get away?
    • Truth in Television: in 2008 Usher greeted fans in Maidstone, UK with "Hello, Manchester!" - managing to be out by nearly 200 miles.
      • And Kaiser Chiefs greeted a crowd in Budapest, Hungary, with "Hello, Bucharest!" - the capital of Romania. This may have been a joke, though.
      • This happens habitually in George, Washington (and yes, the Incredibly Lame Pun name is on purpose). Due to it's massive outdoor ampitheatre, many traveling bands and tours book their "Seattle" shows there, despite the city being a good 3-4 hour drive away from Seattle, over the mountains and in the middle of the desert.. "HELLO SEATTLE" greetings from the bands are unavoidable, yet still groan-worthy. Was once lampshaded by Marilyn Manson, who made it a point to illustrate he was the only act on Ozzfest that actually knew where the hell they were.
    • Lampshaded by The Protomen in their live performances; during a show in Portland, OR, for instance, KILROY declared that the audience is the best they've ever played for, then added "Just don't tell Richmond, VA that we said that. It would make things awkward."
  • "Scream for me, (place of the gig)!"
  • A number of radio edits tend to feature local shout-outs. If not a local city, then the local sports team or even the name of the station.
    • Incredibly egregious example: "Lucky Man" by Montgomery Gentry. The original verse mentioned the Cincinnati Bengals due to Author Appeal, but every team in the NFL got its own edit.
    • Taylor Swift's "Teardrops on My Guitar" and Craig Morgan's "Little Bit of Life" even got special "radio" edits for the countdown show Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40 that name-dropped it.
    • Annoyingly used in Brad Paisley's "American Saturday Night" - the regular version involves a Shout-Out to Saturday Night Live; replacing "New York" with other cities just doesn't have the same ring to it.
    • The Uncle Kracker song "Smile" features the line "You make me spin like a record..." It is followed by a line referencing the station on which the song is playing; for example, "You make me spin like a record/on Mix 93.3."
    • The Taio Cruz song "Break your Heart" has the line "They call me heartbreaker-" which is sometimes replaced with the station the song is on, for example, "It's 107.9!" When it is replaced, the song doesn't make much sense.
    • In the One Republic song "Good Life" the line "Paris to China to Colorado" was changed to "Paris to China to Carolina" in North Carolina.
    • Several songs, such as "The Heart of Rock & Roll" by Huey Lewis and - recently - "You and I" by Lady Gaga have the state/nearest big city clumsily added into key parts of the song ("You and I" refers to a specific person from Nebraska. Needless to say, bungled edits like "My cool N-Rhode Island-a guy!" kind of ruin parts of the song, especially in terms of meter) on Top 40 radio for cheap pops. Fans dislike them, but the radio station seem to have fun making them.
      • In a related example, some stations snip in a sound clip of Shania Twain saying the name of a popular DJ on the station over "Brad Pitt" on the radio edit of "That Don't Impress Me Much!". Dismissing some radio DJ in Nowheresville, USA is much less effective in the song than, say, a millionaire actor.
    • LMFAO had some fun (or work, rather) with their semi-hit "I'm in Miami Trick" by making several recordings of the song with different city names instead of Miami. They even released a promo CD of these edits called I'm in Your City Trick. There are 51 versions of the song on this CD.
    • Basically the only reason that the 1959 single "High School USA" by former Gene Vincent & The Blue Caps guitarist Tommy Facenda became a Top 40 hit was that Facenda recorded the song 28 times to rattle off the names of high schools in 28 different areas (the version featuring high schools in the area of Virgina that Facenda grew up in was the original). Airplay and sales for these versions in these areas were rolled into one on the Billboard Hot 100, rocketing what was basically a novelty song into the Top 30.
  • This feature had been a staple of major AM Top 40 radio stations in the 1970's. WLS in Chicago was common for these. They also do those kind of imaging plugs where Rhianna says that Bismarck, North Dakota's "Mix 99.9" is her favorite radio station of all time.


  • Used and lampshaded by Doug Benson in Last Comic Standing: in a joke involving one of those "The end is nigh" types asking him if he's going to Hell, "Sorry, I'm not headed in that direction... but if I were going to Bakersfield - BOOM! Local reference, right outta the gate!"
    • Don't forget: "Anyone here from Canada?" *large part of the crowd cheers* "Canada sucks!" *crowd laughs*
  • Lenny Bruce's routine "The Palladium" describes a terrible American comic who is bombing on stage at the Palladium in London, England. Out of sheer desperation for any kind of reaction from the crowd, he yells "Screw Ireland!"
  • "I will not say 'Springfield' just to get applause..."
  • Daniel Tosh: "Hold on now, Irvine. I just say the name of whatever town I'm in there to make you feel special."
  • Seanbaby once did an article on John Kerry's [staggering lack of a] sense of humor by noting that one entry in his Letterman Top Ten list included no joke other than name-dropping Sammy Sosa. Seanbaby identifies as one of those crowd-pleasing subjects that gets a big reaction with no punchline, and adds that if Sosa were having a bad season, the gag could have easily been replaced with: "Anyone here from NEW YORK!?"
  • On YouTube, it's common to ask for Thumbs Up in comments so one can achieve the glorious position of Top Comment on a video.