Thursday, February 21, 2013

Globes, Eagles, & Spinners...The WWE Championship Belt

I'm with the wrestling fans, those that have made it into the industry and outsiders, who feel that the endless conflicts in the ring should ultimately revolve around one thing: becoming the champion.  Certainly many other issues arise from month-to-month and year-to-year in the wrestling world, but a wrestler's main goal should be to one day become the best at what he does.  Whether it's the championship of a company or the often controversy "World" champion claim, capturing that title should, in theory, signify the best.  Therefore, the championship should look as spectacular as anything ever seen inside of a wrestling ring.

Should the belt be small or should it be large?  Should the design declare the name of the company of which the belt represents or should it simply be the "World" championship?  These are the arguments that fans of championship belts and wrestling in general have debated for years now.

Being a collector of belts only dates back about a decade.  While every wrestling fan has salivated at the thought of holding one of the many beautiful belts in wrestling's history, it has only been about ten years since affordable replicas have been available to the public.  Plenty of toy representations were produced before that, but none truly captured what it would be like to actually hold the dreams of every wrestler.  Since then, replicas of belts from a variety of wrestling companies past and present have been produced.

Of course, a "true" belt fan will tell you that the only true way to enjoy a championship belt in your own collection is to have one produced from the same men who create the belts used on television.  These belts cost thousands of dollars and take anywhere from months to years to be produced.  Seeing many of these creations in person, if one has the money to invest it is truly the way to go.  For the rest of us, the mass produced replica belts are an enjoyable alternative that still wow most any fan who comes in contact with them.

WWE has wasted no time in marketing a replica of the newest design of the WWE Championship.  Literally minutes after being unveiled on television, a replica of the championship was made available at around $450.  Some are already bashing the championship without even giving it a shot.  To begin with, the design is worlds better than the belt that has to be considered the worst of all-time, the "spinner" WWE Championship.  That particular belt hit two negative chords with me.  Aside from being ridiculous as a whole, in my opinion a championship design should never be customized for a particular champion.  Novelty belts such as Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Belt not included, a "sanctioned" company championship should not represent any individual champion in design.  While The Rock's Brahma Bull logo does appear on the side plates of the new belt, it appears that these side plates will change depending on the champion thus creating an interesting update to the "nameplate" design seen on so many belts of the past.

The new WWE Championship is flashy yet proudly announces the simple message firmly emblazoned on the front: "WWE Champion."  While it's a shame that the longest reigning and most memorable champion in recent years, CM Punk, did not have this belt for his historic reign, holding the "spinner" belt actually helped his character's cause.  The garish nature and almost universally hated design was a prime example of something that CM Punk would in fact stand against.  There's no doubt that Punk will be adding this new belt to his career record somewhere down the line.

The WWE's other major championship, their World Heavyweight Championship, carries a design largely unchanged since 1985.  The core of this belt is based on one of Ric Flair's NWA Championship designs and one that is among the all-time favorites of many fans, myself included.  "Big Gold," as it is lovingly referred to, reflected the class, glitz, and glamor of Flair's character while proudly proclaiming itself as the symbol of being the "World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion."  This design has remained as WWE's World Heavyweight Championship for over a decade now.  I've long dreaded the day when it will be replaced, as seeing so many of today's stars wear this classic looking belt around their waist is a great honor to the past.

Fans can finally rejoice, the spinner belt is history!  A new design is set to be with us for the long haul.  While many of us hoped for a return to something along the lines of the famed "winged eagle" or "undisputed" championships, I feel that the new kid on the block represents exactly what WWE is, a company providing entertainment that will (hopefully) never fully leave their true roots: professional wrestling.

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