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LaBar: WWE fans should stop trying to be so smart

Justin LaBar Videos

Thursday, May 8, 2014, 11:30 p.m.

In the entertainment world of professional wrestling, heat is heat.

Heat is the term referred to as people not liking you.

I'm sick of hearing about how there is such a thing as good heat and bad heat. Meaning, there is heat that is legitimate and heat that says someone is annoying.


Some fans in wrestling feel smarter referring to such as “X-Pac heat.” A term named after the famous wrestler indicating a performer gets negative reaction only because people don't care about them, are annoyed by them or don't respect them.

There might be no greater of an example of fans outsmarting themselves.

It's not hard to figure it out. I've come to this conclusion — there are four reactions possible in professional wrestling.

You can get cheered. You can hear boos. You can get silence. You can have people leaving their seats to go to the bathroom or concession stands.

Those last two reactions everyone wants to avoid. Silence or people getting up or changing the channel.

No better example of this “intelligent” fan misguidance is with the new main roster heel, Rusev.

Rusev is a classic 1980s bad guy. Touting his love for Russia. He's a big imposing character who seems to be on repeat as he constantly is beating the guys on the roster of less relevance. It seems inevitable we'll see him randomly put into a prominent match against an established star with no sign of earning it.

I can't ignore the past cases of Vladimir Koslov, Lord Tensai, Sylvester Terkay or even Ryback. They all were given similar paths of dominant booking, many with the foreign man gimmick. They all failed somewhere along the way.

I can't say Rusev won't fall into that category. Nobody can, not even Vince McMahon. Only time will tell.

What I can say is Rusev is off to a good start. The entire presentation of him is interesting. The change in old-school graphics when he comes out. Saying he's a disciple of Vladimir Putin in a time when everything has to pass the “politically correct” barriers. Even USA Today picked up on the “disrespect” of utilizing Putin as a magnet for heat within the show.

Once again, nonsense.

It's a show. If a movie depicts actors being followers of terrorists setting out to destroy America, we all understand it's a movie. It's a show. This utilizing of Putin's name to generate a bad guy character for Rusev is simple, timely and smart.

Going back to the presentation, the graphics, the look and complete picture of Lana as the ravishing Russian blonde with an accent appearing to be the only one who can control the destruction of Rusev. I like the entire presentation and package.

People are giving them heat when they come out. Period.

They aren't getting up out their seat. They knew who he is. They know who Lana is coming out to introduce when she hits the stage. Once he gets in the ring with a babyface who is credible and firmly established, like it or not, the dislike for Rusev will help that babyface.

If you overanalyze the negative reaction as anything more, stop, you're wasting time in an attempt to do analysis that doesn't matter coming from you and isn't relevant. If you want to be relevant, turn the channel or go to the bathroom when Rusev comes out.

Otherwise, bow down to the reign of Rusev. He could be the next big heel for the company getting consistent heat, whether your heat is intended to or not.

Justin LaBar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7949 or




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