There’s something I realized about Wrestlemania 37 I think no one’s really talked about. This is the only Wrestlemania in recent memory wherein most of the champions walking out of the Show of Shows are heels. The only faces who walked out with titles are Bianca Belair, who beat Sasha Banks for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, and Rhea Ripley, who took out Asuka to become the newest RAW Women’s Champion. It’s kind of odd the WWE closed out the show with the heelish Roman Reigns retaining and raising his WWE Universal Championship belt high at the end of the program.
This did get me thinking about all of the past WWE Championship belts the company has ever had and how some of them look really good and how some look really bad. I’ve narrowed them down to 5 each and even managed to put them in individual categories to give the list a good sense of it all. So, without further ado, here are the 5 best and worst WWE title belts in the company’s history.
The Best: the “White Strap” Intercontinental Heavyweight Belt
The Intercontinental Championship may be considered a “mid-card” title but there’s a certain prestige to carrying the strap as it can lead to a future WWE Heavyweight or Universal Championship down the road. When it comes to the Intercontinental Championship belt, the “white strap” version is the best looking one out there.
The first time I really saw the belt was when Cody Rhodes became the IC Champion and chose to return the look of the belt to its roots, giving it the classic and clean design as well as a “white strap” instead of the usual black. The “white strap” gave it a distinct look as most WWE championship belts at the time had black straps. Also, this was the strap color during Shawn Michaels tenure as IC Champion, giving it an iconic and timeless look.
The Worst: The Divas “Butterfly” Belt
I will give credit where credit is due. The WWE Divas Championship came at a transitional time when women’s wrestling needed a boost. It allowed the Smackdown Divas as they were called to actually have a belt to chase after as only the RAW side of things had the Women’s Championship. I do have to question why did they make it look like something a tween would design?
I have several problems with the Divas Championship belt. First, they put a freaking pink “butterfly” right on the front because girls like butterflies, right? They also made the “butterfly” pink because girls like pink, right? I get the sentiment but it just doesn’t look all that grand when you compare it to the titles the men were carrying around. Also, the “butterfly” wings just out from the top ever so slightly, which makes me think it could cause a laceration on the abdomen if anyone was wearing it and they had to bend down. Not only is it gaudy, it’s a safety hazard, too!
The Best: The “Winged Eagle” WWF Heavyweight Championship Belt
When it comes to the top prize of the WWE, the “winged eagle” belt was probably the hottest contested belts out there. This design lasted for a good decade or two as, if my research is correct, it was carried by the likes of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior during the Hulkamania years and carried all through the Attitude Era with Stone Cold Steve Austin winning the belt from Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 14.
The “winged eagle” Heavyweight Championship belt’s design is beautiful because of how grand yet simplistic it looks at its core. There no complicated designs or anything to distract you from the big, honking golden eagle spreading its wings while a blue globe in the background signifies that this belt is only for the World champion.
The Worst: The Current WWE Universal Championship Belt
If I’m being honest, I would like to give a 4-way tie to the current WWE top-prize belts. This would include the WWE Universal, World Heavyweight, RAW Women’s and Smackdown Women’s Championship belts because they all have the same problem. It’s just a big WWE logo on the front with tiny little text telling you what the belt signifies! They then have different colored backgrounds to signify if it’s for the RAW or Smackdown side of things. It’s super lazy!
However, the current WWE Universal Championship just edges out the other 3 ugly belts because, well, it’s blue! It’s not that I hate the color blue. It’s not that at all. My issue with the blue is that it just doesn’t look regal and grand. At least the Smackdown Women’s Championship has a white strap… and I’ve already mentioned how good a white strap looks on a championship belt! Having the entire belt, including the strap, blue looks boring and not something a “universal” champion deserves to carry.
Belts Introduced by a WWE Superstar
The Best: The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase’s Million Dollar Championship belt
Okay, okay. Technically, the Million Dollar Belt isn’t an actual title recognized by the WWE. Created out of spite as he couldn’t but the actual WWE Heavyweight Championship, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase did the next best thing a million dollar man could do: make his own belt! What a belt it was, indeed!
The Million Dollar Belt certainly looks expensive. It certainly looked different than all the other belts the WWE had at the time. Instead of a strap, it had a gold plated metal band. It didn’t have a large gold plate in the front but had 3 large diamond encrusted dollar symbols in its place. It looked grand, to say the least.
The Worst: Bret Hart’s “Gladiator” Tag Team Championship belts
Bret Hart may be a wrestling legend but he certainly has no business designing belts if the WWE Tag Team Championship belts are any indication! The design choices for the belts are just weird. For one thing, the face plates have 2 gladiator helmet dudes. That’s already weird because what do Roman gladiators have to do with wrestling? What’s even stranger is the gladiators aren’t even facing each other but facing away from each other! It makes them look like they’re having a pouting contest!
The worst thing about the Tag Team Championship belts Bret Hart put out, however, is the choice of material for the metal bits. Instead of something shiny like gold, brass of even chrome, the metal parts look like they’re made from either bronze or copper! Picking bronze is kind of an insult as bronze, in the Olympics, signifies 3rd place, not the best, which is what the tag team champions are supposed to be!
The Best: The WWE Hardcore Championship Belt
Originally given to Mankind as some kind of consolation prize and a way for Vince McMahon to manipulate Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy into doing his bidding. However, thanks to the popularity of Mankind and Mick Foley in general, the Hardcore Championship Belt became iconic in its own right.
It may look like a piece of crap but that was kind of the point of the Hardcore Championship. It’s basically a smashed “winged eagle” WWE Heavyweight Championship belt held together with tape and a scraggly word “Hardcore” written over it. However, the reason why this belt is “beautiful” is because of its imperfection and how well it represents the idea of hardcore wrestling. Its battered and bruised appearance is the best representation of what the title means.
The Worst: The WWE 24/7 Championship
The original Hardcore Championship was created to allow the WWE to insert comedy segments into both RAW and Smackdown with Superstars gunning for the belt at any time thanks to the 24/7 defense rule. Since the WWE retired the Hardcore Championship, its spiritual successor, the 24/7 Championship was created. It’s done wonders for Superstars like R-Truth and has allowed the WWE’s mid-tier and low-tier performers some time to shine in the spotlight. Mick Foley, the first ever Hardcore Champion, even was the one to present the belt to the public, which is only fitting.
Unfortunately, the actual 24/7 Championship belt, while looking much cleaner and less disease-riddled than the Hardcore Championship, looks really dumb and boring. The design of the face plate looks like it was done in 3 minutes by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon’s youngest daughter when she celebrated her 4th birthday. Considering that daughter is around 10 years old now, it also shows how dated the 24/7 Championship belt looks like! It looks like a giant arcade token glued onto a green leather strap. Oh, and who thought green was a good looking color for a belt strap? Yech!
Special Custom Championship Belts
The Best: Daniel Bryan’s Eco-Friendly Wood Belt
Special custom belts designed for champions isn’t a new thing as Superstars like Stone Cold Steve Austin had his “smoking skull” belt and The Rock had his “brahma bull” belt. Daniel Bryan, during his heelish eco-warrior persona, designed his own version of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. However, instead of using metals and leather, his belt was made of wood and hemp!
Now, you might be calling me a hypocrite as Daniel Bryan’s Eco-Friendly Championship belt uses the same design of the WWE Universal Championship, a design I already mentioned as one of the worst belt designs ever. The Eco-Friendly Championship belt Daniel Bryan is the exception to the rule as it’s the antithesis of most belt designs ever created! No shiny bits nor fancy gemstones. It’s just wood, colored pebbled and hemp cloth! What carries it over the top is it looked exactly like what a die-hard eco-warrior would wear to the ring! It fit the title holder perfectly.
The Worst: The Fiend’s WTF Face Belt
Look, I definitely wasn’t expecting The Fiend to carry a normal looking belt to the ring once he became the WWE Universal Champion. His character would look weird if he strapped on something normal around his waist when he arrived at ringside. However, putting your own face on the belt is a rather garish move, no matter how to slice it.
As a Halloween designed prop deliberately made to cause nightmares to little children, I can get behind it. What I can’t get behind is how weirdly uninspiring it is. It’s basically The Fiend strapping his face onto something else. That’s all there is to The Fiend’s WTF Face belt. It may look creative but it really isn’t. Additionally, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I get The Fiend carrying a lantern shaped like his old cult leader Bray Wyatt’s head to the ring. A belt shaped like your current face? Why?
BONUS: Both The Best and Worst Design at the Same Time
The Best and Worst: John Cena’s WWE “Spinner” Heavyweight Championship Belt
I have a love-hate relationship with John Cena’s “spinner” WWE World Championship belt. I love it because it’s really crass and childish to put something akin to a fidget spinner on something that’s supposed to be grand like a championship belt. The belt itself is also totally blinged out with super shiny gold. It totally fits with the rapper John Cena’s personality.
However, for the life of me, these are the very same reasons why I dislike the “spinner” belt! It’s very childish and makes me feel like I’m watching a children’s program rather than rough-and-tough wrasslin’. I still wouldn’t mind getting a replica but, at the same time, I’ll know how childish it would be of me when I spin the WWE logo in the middle.
What’s your favorite and least favorite WWE Championship belt? Let me know in the comments section below!