Winning a title in professional wrestling is a significant accomplishment. When a promotion allows a performer to be the face of a championship that represents their company, it shows how much confidence they have in that individual. However, as wrestling fans know, not all championships are equal in the eyes of the masses.
Over the years, we have seen titles rise to prominence, before ultimately becoming irrelevant – which can happen for a variety of different reasons. Conversely, there are also certain belts that have withstood the test of time, or even experienced a resurgence. To explore this phenomenon further, we’ll take a look at 5 titles that are red hot and 5 that have really lost their luster.
10 Prestigious: WWE Women’s Championship (Both Versions)
One could argue that the WWE Women’s Championships are the two hottest belts in pro wrestling at the moment. The emergences of stars like Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Ronda Rousey has helped make the women’s division one of the few bright spots in WWE. This is the only time in the history of professional wrestling where one could reasonably say that these belts feel as important as the WWE Championship.
As a whole, WWE has struggled creatively in recent months, but the ladies have really stepped up their game and helped make both the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championships seem very significant.
9 Lost Luster: Impact X Division Championship
A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, and Kurt Angle are just a few of the wrestler who have won the X Division Championship in the past. In the late 2000s, this belt was associated with some of the top performers in the sport. At that point in time, holding the X Division strap meant you were one of the best in-ring workers in the world. Sadly, in 2019, this title has been all but forgotten.
In truth, since Impact Wrestling has disappeared from cable, it’s become harder for fans to follow the promotion, which has hurt all their titles to a degree. Moreover, they don’t have the depth right now to build around a secondary title like the X Division strap.
8 Prestigious: AEW World Heavyweight Championship
At press time, the AEW World Heavyweight Championship hasn’t even debuted yet. However, there's so much buzz surrounding the Jacksonville-based promotion that it will instantly become one of the most prestigious straps in the game, as soon as it’s placed around the inaugural title holder’s waist.
The real question here is, can AEW live up to the hype? The answer will ultimately determine whether or not this title continues to stay relevant over the long haul. AEW is the internet wrestling fan’s shiny new toy and can do no wrong at the moment. However, should that narrative change once the show regularly airs, this belt could find itself on the other side of our list.
7 Lost Luster: WWE Intercontinental Championship
Throughout the late 80s and early 90s, the WWE (then WWF) Intercontinental Championship felt almost as important as the world championship. Wrestlers like the Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels used the title to help take their careers to the next level and burst on to the main event scene.
Unfortunately, these days the title is pretty much an afterthought. Over the last decade or so, WWE has awarded the title to seemingly everyone on the roster. They’ve also had a tendency to have the IC title holder lose quite often when the title isn’t on the line, which makes the champ look weak in the eyes of the fans.
6 Prestigious: WWE Championship
The WWE Championship is still the richest prize in the game. Winning this title means that one has obtained the highest possible accolade in the world of professional wrestling. While WWE has been a bit reckless with how they book their secondary titles – with a few notable exceptions – they have been relatively careful with the WWE Championship.
This belt still feels important, even during a period when WWE is struggling to connect with its fan base. Every child who aspires to be a professional wrestler hopes to one day hoist the WWE Championship over their head, and that probably won’t change any time soon.
5 Lost Luster: ROH World Championship
While WWE is the company that most fans think will be adversely affected by the emergence of AEW, another company already has: Ring Of Honor. ROH has already lost many (if not most) of their top stars to the newly found promotion. Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and Marty Scurll are just a few of the former Ring Of Honor stars that are now a part of All Elite Wrestling.
However, this is nothing new for ROH. Other promotions have poached talent from the company for years – like WWE, for example. Ring Of Honor will likely create more stars as they have in the past, but right now, no one’s talking out the organization or its world title.
4 Prestigious: IWGP Heavyweight Championship
In recent years, New Japan Pro-Wrestling has gained a lot of momentum internationally. As a result, the promotions belt, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, has become one of the most prestigious titles in the wrestling world. In recent years, men like A.J. Styles, Kenny Omega, and Kazuchika Okada have held this championship. Past champs also include names like Brock Lesnar, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Big Van Vader.
A little over 6 years ago, most North American fans barely new New Japan existed. In 2019, thanks in part to the popularity of The Bullet Club, the promotion enjoys a significant international following that continues to grow.
3 Lost Luster: WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Back in 1997, the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship was introduced. The title never really got over with wrestling fans, and by 2001 the promotion decided to do away with the belt altogether. In 2016, the WWE decided to create another title for smaller performers: the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
The inaugural tournament to crown the first champion generated a bit of buzz, but it’s been mostly downhill from there. The main problem is that the title is the focal point of 205 Live – a show that not a lot of fans watch. Sadly, the title didn’t even make the main card this past WrestleMania, and was instead defended on the pre-show. The way things are going, this title probably won’t be around 5 years – WWE just can’t seem to get fans invested in it.
2 Prestigious: WWE Universal Championship
It’s essentially Raw’s version of the WWE Championship, so most of the things mentioned in the previous section apply here as well. Some pretty big names have held this title in its relatively short history (it debuted in 2016), including folks like Bill Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, and Seth Rollins, which have helped add to its prestige.
As much as fans didn’t care for Lesnar’s reign as champ, it helped add value to the title. He is one of the few wrestlers on the roster who is a mainstream star, and his first reign in particular (which lasted 503 days) helped add stability and intrigue to this newly-established crown.
1 Lost Luster: WWE United States Championship
The United States Championship is a secondary title that WWE inherited when they took control of WCW back in the early 2000s. This belt was first introduced in 1975 and has been held by all-time greats like Harley Race, Ric Flair, and Dusty Rhodes. Unfortunately, this once-prestigious strap now seems to change hands every couple months and doesn’t really heighten the profile of any performer who wears it.
For example, the last two men to hold the strap, Rey Mysterio and Samoa Joe, don’t feel any more important after winning the title. Does being the US champ in 2019 really mean anything? Sadly, no. Like the IC belt, it’s a title that seemingly half the roster has held and hasn’t mattered in years.