The Rock introduced a new WWE Championship to the WWE Universe this past Monday. He called the previous spinner title a toy and that “it should never, ever spin." I agree completely with The Rock’s statement.
A new title was long overdue. The spinner title debuted back in April 2005 as a replacement for the Undisputed Championship after John Cena defeated JBL at WrestleMania 21. It fit Cena’s character at the time, but even when he lost the belt to Edge and Miz, Cena’s spinner title was still displayed proudly.
This new title is the fifth major WWE Championship design. There was the Winged Eagle from the early 1990s, Big Eagle from 1998 to early 2002, the Undisputed Championship from 2002 to 2005, the Spinner title from 2005 to 2013 and then the current title.
There were earlier designs of the WWE Championship, including a custom one for Andre the Giant, but they didn't last long.
I'm ranking the titles based on prestige, legacy and overall design.
I’m not including any personalized titles like Edge’s or Miz’s modified spinner or the Smoking Skull title, regardless of how cool they looked.
Active: April 11, 2005 - Feb. 18, 2013
Before winning the WWE Championship, John Cena was a United States Champion. He turned the United States title that we see today into a glorified piece of bling.
The title had a circle centerpiece with a United States flag painted on and, when forced to do so, it spun.
Fast forward a couple of months after losing the title to Orlando Jordan, John Cena turned the WWE Championship into a spinner title after defeating JBL.
The belt featured a lot of gold and diamonds. The WWE logo in the middle of the belt spun.
Cena’s hip-hop gimmick didn’t last much longer, but the spinner title was around for eight long years.
It was one thing to see Cena carrying around the title, but when stars like Triple H, Randy Orton, CM Punk and The Rock carry the belt, it looks ridiculous.
I was never a fan of the spinning title and am thankful it’s gone.
Active: Feb. 18, 2013 – current
The Rock called the spinner title a toy because it spun and had tons of diamonds. However, the new title didn’t change much.
No, it doesn’t spin anymore, but there are still a lot of diamonds on it. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but it’s still a little flashy for my taste.
The things I despise are the bulls on the side plates. The spinner title was a personalized title for Cena, regardless of how many Superstars held it. This title, in its current state, is another personalized title.
Another thing many people noticed was the absence of a name plate. Each championship has a plate at the bottom of the center where the current title holder’s name goes. This one does not. However, if the side plates were to change with each champion, that would be a cool touch.
I will gladly wait to see what the title looks like after The Rock loses it, whenever that may be.
Active: April 1, 2002 – April 11, 2005
The WWE Undisputed Championship debuted after Triple H defeated Chris Jericho at WrestleMania X8. Superstars went from carrying around two titles to wearing the Undisputed title.
This belt was held by many of the top names like Triple H, Hulk Hogan, Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle—the list goes on and on. The last man to hold this title was JBL during his time as a “Wrestling God.”
It wasn’t a fancy title or anything like that. It was a big, gold-plated title with an eagle proudly displayed on the front. It was also one of the first titles to feature a name plate.
This version is one of my favorites. I wish they brought it back after the spinner title.
Active: Feb. 5, 1988 – March 29, 1998
The Winged Eagle title had the longest time active compared to the rest of the designs, lasting 10 years.
Hulk Hogan debuted this title on an episode of The Main Event against Andre the Giant.
Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and Ric Flair were some of the Superstars to have this title around their waists. Ultimate Warrior also had a couple different versions of this title; each belt had a different colored strap.
The eagle expanded its wings as the blue Earth stood out in the center of the title.
It was hard to determine if this title would be No. 2 or No. 1. The longevity and name value the belt had are undeniable, but no belt defined an era more than my top choice.
Active: March 30, 1998 – March 30, 2002
The night after WrestleMania XIV, WWE introduced a new version of the WWE Championship.
The original version of this title included a blue strap. Then, Stone Cold debuted the Smoking Skull title. The Big Eagle title made a return, with a black strap, when The Rock won the title.
Like the Winged Eagle, this title had an eagle right in the middle spreading its wings behind the big, blue world.
The Big Eagle title was synonymous with the Attitude Era. All of the main stars held the belt—Mankind, Stone Cold, The Rock, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Undertaker and Chris Jericho.
This belt was only around for four years, but it was an awesome four years. As a product of the Attitude Era, I look back at this title and think of all the great matches in which it was defended.