WWE Night of Champions 2011: The Top 10 Best Looking Belts in WWE History
The 2008 WWE Night of Champions poster, featuring all of the belts in WWE at the time.
While I'm not a superfan of title belts (or "championship titles" as they say in WWE) as some people are, I have no problem with admitting that there have been some awfully nice looking ones over the years.
With Night of Champions being this Sunday, now is as good a time as any to look at the best belts ever to grace WWE...
Since it wasn't designed for WWE (and just about everything else they use was), I'm not going to include the "big gold belt" that WWE purchased from WCW and eventually modified slightly into the World Heavyweight Championship. It's as fantastic belt, but since the rest were specifically commissioned by WWE, I've decided not to compare them.
Also, in the interest of using the best possible photos, some of the pictures included will be of professional quality replicas. Some of those may have modified "FWF" or similar logos in the cases of belts where WWE didn't actually own the design and belt collectors wanted the closest belt possible to the real thing without stepping on WWE trademarks.
Here we go...
#10: WWF Championship Belt 1983-1984
Sure, many may find it ugly, but I like the big green WWF belt worn by Bob Backlund, The Iron Sheik, and Hulk Hogan. It was unique, it was big, the main plate had a nice design, and the side plates were cleverly conceived: Each one was dedicated to a previous (W)WWF Champion.
It didn't last long, and was replaced by a stock design most commonly associated with the NWA/WCW World Television Title belt from the late '80s through 1992.
#9: WWF Championship Belt for Andre the Giant 1988 (Sort Of)
In 1988, leading up to the big match on NBC between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant that a new belt was being made that could fit Andre in the event he won.
The belt was made, but never used on TV, with the famous eagle belt showing up instead.
Yes, I know I'm cheating a little, but it's a really nice looking belt with a lot of detail etched into it.
#8: WWF/E (Undisputed) Championship Belt 2002-2005
Introduced to replace the WCW "big gold" belt and previous WWF/E Championship belt, it was only "undisputed" for a few months, as the "big gold" belt was brought back when WWE decided to have a world champion for each brand.
Seeing it just laying there doesn't do it justice. For whatever reason, this belt looks a lot better when being worn. You get a better idea of just how big it is, and the design looks less generic.
I had to use a close-up, though!
Anyway, this belt is probably most closely associated with Brock Lesnar, Eddy Guerrero, and John Bradshaw Layfield. It was retired after JBL lost it to Cena and it was replaced by the "spinner" belt.
#7: (W)WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship Belt 1978-1985
Rarely defended in the United States, this belt was a product of the working relationship between the WWF and New Japan Pro Wrestling. NJPW was grooming Tatsumi Fujinami to eventually be a top star. To give him something to do until top star and promoter Antonio Inoki got old, Fujinami got his own weight division.
Fujinami and his replacements would defend the title at Madison Square Garden from time to time before moving up to the heavyweight division after a few years. The belt itself was a nice, unique design, as you can see in the unfortunately low-quality photograph. I like the etching and clear lettering.
#6: WWF Championship Belt 1998-2002
This belt saw a few changes (initially it had a blue strap and the block WWF logo), but largely stayed the same during the four years that it represented the WWF Championship.
Inspired by the previous belt, it was a nice design, but WWE got rid of it so the Undisputed Champion only had to carry around one belt instead of this and the "big gold" WCW belt.
Steve Austin wasn't a fan, feeling it didn't suit him and saying it "looked like Bret Hart's belt," so he had a completely different design made. Featuring smoking skulls, it was unique and a few storylines centered around it, but it never looked right when briefly held by anyone who wasn't Austin.
It sort of inspired John Cena's spinner belts in that sense, except one of the spinners (the WWE Championship) was never retired when Cena lost it (the U.S. belt went back to normal).
#5: WWF Championship Belt 1988-1998
Photo via AJsBelts.com
Commonly referred to as the "winged eagle" belt (don't all eagles have wings?), this belt lasted just about a decade. Hulk Hogan debuted it on the live "The Main Event" special on NBC in February 1988 and Steve Austin retired it just after WrestleMania XIV in 1998.
Designed by Reggie Parks, it's one of wrestling's more iconic belts due to the era and wrestlers associated with it. There are few belts as popular as this one.
After it was retired, it re-appeared in modified form. A "broken" copy was taped up and given to Mankind (Mick Foley) as the Hardcore belt, which eventually became a regularly defended championship.
A memorable angle involving the belt saw Mr. Perfect and The Genius steal the belt from Hulk Hogan and destroy it with a hammer, but that was not the belt given to Foley.
#4: The Million Dollar Belt
Photo via WrestlingFigs.com forum.
Yes, it's gaudy, but it's awesome.
After "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase (Sr.) was unsuccessful in buying the WWF Championship, he had his own made, the Million Dollar Belt.
If you can find them online, the vignettes where DiBiase (wearing an EVIL CAPE!) goes to a jeweler to get it made are must-watch videos, some of the best things ever to air on WWF/E programming.
Over the years, there have been a variety of rumors as to the authenticity of "gold and diamonds" that it's made of. When you take into account that WWE kept the original but also be realistic, the answer is probably "more than you'd think but still not really."
DiBiase rarely defended the belt, so the only "champions" were himself, Virgil (he and DiBiase when he regained it were the only ones to win it in a match), Steve Austin (as DiBiase's protege), and Ted DiBiase Jr. (given it by his father).
#3: Tag Team Belts 1986-1998
Photo by Dave Millican.
Possibly the most enduring belt design, as WWE often kept much of it intact even when changing belts over the years.
Before the awful current belts were introduced, traces of this design could still be seen in the newer Raw World Tag Team belt and Smackdown WWE Tag Team belts. They weren't the same, but they were noticeably similar, especially the shape.
#2: Intercontinental Belt 1985-1998
Photo by Mr. KBA
The Intercontinental belt first held by Tito Santana in 1985 and last held by The Rock in 1998 is a favorite of many. Designed by Reggie Parks, it was a simple, enduring design.
It's also taken on more forms than most belts. Between The Ultimate Warrior, Goldust, Shawn Michaels, and others, this belt was seen on many different colored straps. White was probably the most common after black, but there were also light blue, gold (guess who wore that one), and yellow (made famous by Warrior at WrestleMania VI) versions.
It's also a belt that was introduced as a result of something that happened in a storyline. When Santana regained the title from Greg Valentine in Baltimore, Md., Valentine destroyed the belt in use at the time by smashing it against the cage. This belt replaced it.
#1: Platinum ECW Championship Belt 2008-2010
What can I say? I really like it.
This one really hit it out of the park, especially when you consider other belts commissioned more recently by WWE, like the "gladiator helmet on a penny" tag team belts. Huge, perfectly designed, and unique in coloring, the last version of the ECW Championship belt is a favorite of mine.
Everything about it is perfect: It's unique (platinum tint, size, block lettering) but not gaudy. The design is simple and clean but stands out. It's s shame that it was so short-lived.