The new WWE championship belt design is a huge improvement. Not only does the new belt look like a title, but also it reflects the modern idea of the WWE.
The title has always changed with the times. In an age when cartoon characters no longer rule, the new belt is fit for a serious champion.
With The Rock’s unveiling of the new WWE title on Raw, months of speculation on the arrival of a newly designed WWE championship belt were confirmed. The earlier belt, the spinner, had run its course. That title was great when John Cena introduced it, since the belt reflected both his character and the Ruthless Aggression Era’s tradition-breaking views.
PWTorch.com reported in 2011 that even Cena wanted the belt to change. "I have thought that for three years. Either classic or new. It needs a change," Cena said, according to the report.
But times change in wrestling, and so should the belt. The WWE championship has changed through the years, correctly matching the ideals of the time.
During the Bruno Sammartino era, the title was smaller and less flashy. This was fine, since the sport at the time was less flashy, more about wrestling than story.
Jump ahead to Hulk Hogan's time and suddenly the belt attracts more attention.
Consider the winged eagle belt, used from 1988 to 1998. Wrestling wasn't fully exposed as fake yet, so the title had a different aura than today. The winged eagle belt was classy, one that seemed like a real prize to be fought over, regardless of the sport.
The larger Attitude Era version of the winged eagle reflected the growing influence of wrestling at the time. The Undisputed title took the belt toward more serious respect.
The spinner belt was introduced in 2005 and designed with Cena in mind. It reflected the persona and look, not only of the face of the company, but of the cultural influence of the world outside the WWE.
Other titles in the WWE have received makeovers as well in the past few years. The tag team titles were changed to a more modern, brass look. Cody Rhodes did the opposite when he was WWE Intercontinental champion, bringing back the classic design but freshening it up with a white strap.
The championship belt—any WWE championship belt, really—needs to be special, to look like a prize and not a toy.
Being current and reflective of the times is what makes the new belt so great. Gritty and real, the darker colors reflect a more serious champion.
That's what the WWE is striving for, gritty and real, a title meant for more serious wrestlers. Even in the PG Era, the WWE champion isn’t a joke. The new belt looks battle-worn, a scar of war, only to be worn around the waist or slung over the shoulder.
Wrestlers go through hell to get a title shot, even more to get the WWE championship around their waist. Only an elite few survive the battles, inside the ring and behind the scenes, to climb the top of the mountain.
It’s about time the title looks like the ultimate prize once again.