The Belt is Only as Valuable as Its Look by Tony Z

I admit it. I’ve been a fan of belt designs for as long as I can remember. I have vivid images of the early 80s WWWF gold belt with the green strap, an image familiar if you’ve ever seen the Iron Shiek and Hulk Hogan’s title victories.

The Big Green Belt, pretty majestic in its own right.


I even remember seeing pictures of a young Bruno Sammartino holding the WWWF championship during his first title reign and being amazed that such a simple design could have such a great look.

A Bruno Sammartino replica, with the champ's name, similar to his first WWWF title.

I have always associated a great belt design with the meaning behind the title that the belt represented. Take, for instance, the United States tag titles and the World Tag titles, circa 80’s NWA.

The US Tag Belts

When you see these belts, you knew they were important, but they were a step behind belts like this:

The NWA tag team belt

Belts had that important feeling. But you don’t have to take my word for it (Guy Fieri reference intentional). Take a look a the important belts of the WWF from the 80s and 90s:

The Winged Eagle, from Hulk Hogan to Steve Austin

One of the best, they even brought it back!

Both of these belts were gorgeous, and yet despite the winged eagle appearing smaller in design, you knew just by looking at it that it had more value than the IC belt (which of course is proving to be such a timeless design that it was brought back to glory in 2011).

Nowadays, it seems that belt designs, at least on the national level, have fallen by the wayside. In the past few years alone, TNA has changed their world title at least three times, including an awful Jeff Hardy belt:

World Champion or drama queen?

At least the tag belts look like the belts of World Champions.

Nice, they portray what they stand for.

Of course, now the WWE is stuck with some awful designs. I’ve always hated the US Title since they redesigned it. Same with the giant penny Tag Team Belts. I know they’ve changed the belts over the years numerous times, but even the version that the US Express and Shiek and Nicolai Volkoff held looked important (and rightfully so, as they were designed like the old Domed Globe NWA title).

Really?

Great belts. Great Champions?

I don’t mind the Divas Title as much, because, well, that’s what the division has become.

But seriously, would it hurt to go back to some fantastic designs? Maybe if the belts looked important people would treat them as such. At least until they’re buried again in a few months. Wouldn’t you respect this more?

Awesome

Or this?

Nice

And don’t even get Eddie started on the WWE Spinner.

Thoughts?

2 comments

  1. Great job Tony. Love all the pictures. I’m not crazy about that NWA World title design. I think it looks too generic. But I’m glad you mentioned the U.S. tag titles. Tag teams have always taken a backseat to singles yet the NWA had the balls to come up with not one but TWO tag team championships. And the belts were clearly inferior to the World tag team title but still looked important. I think the WWE US title is an attractive design but as a championship belt it just doesn’t work, especially now that they’ve brought back the old I-C belt.

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