In pro wrestling, the pop, not to be confused with a bottle of soda, is the reaction that the superstars get from the crowd through their entrances, interviews, and other actions.
As the years progress, it seems as if superstars get less and less reaction from the audience.
WWE programming usually garners upwards of 10,000 and even 15,000 audience members, and yet many times, it sounds as if there are only a couple hundred people in attendance.
It seems as if the only superstars who receive more than an average amount of heat from the crowd are Triple H, Undertaker, John Cena, Edge, Randy Orton, and Jeff Hardy, among a few others. Even the reactions for these superstars pale in comparison to that of mid-carders of the Attitude Era.
In my opinion, the main reasoning behind the lack of a pop towards many of the wrestlers is the ability they lack to make us care about them.
Guys like Mike Knox and Vladmir Kozlov are monster heels, but when they make their way to the ring, the crowd seems to be indifferent. It's one thing to be able to illicit cheers from the audience, but how hard is it to at least get booed? If you can't do that as a heel, then you are in the wrong business.
Another reason why pops are becoming less and less is because, as many wrestling fans will remind you, we're basically being served the same angles that were given to us in the nineties. How often can one superstar break into another one's house?
How many times do you expect fans to sit through a brother versus brother rivalry?
As a wrestling fan, I know how hard it is to get excited about some of the superstars and angles that we see week in and week out, but we may as well make the most of it.
It has gotten to the point where the fans are so unresponsive to some of the action going on that it seems as if the WWE is using "canned" heat more. It is painfully obvious that many of the cheers heard throughout WWE programming are recorded, especially when you hear chanting on TV, and yet the crowd is sitting still.
The majority of the wrestlers nowadays are less charismatic than the superstars many of us grew up watching.
I remember when guys like Road Dogg and Billy Gunn could get the loudest pop of the night just by doing their routine entrance skit. The reception that John Cena gets when his music hits doesn't even compare to the pandemonium that would erupt when the fans heard the glass shattering at the beginning of Stone Cold Steve Austin's entrance music.
Although the writers and many of the wrestlers do a bad job of making the audience care about what is happening in the ring, I think we as fans can also play our part in fixing the deteriorating state of the pop.
We should cheer or boo whenever possible, even if it is for guys like Mike Knox. It shows the wrestlers how much we appreciate the sacrifices that they make for our entertainment, and it also enhances our viewing experience. I'd rather give a half-assed reaction to a guy like Festus than sit in silence all night.