Pro Wrestling is defined by its categories, main event, mid-card, women and tag teams. From WWE, WCW, ECW, Japan, and TNA there have been a plethora of title belts, some custom, some by company design …most have a unique and very cool look, but the ones here are not so good to look at and in some cases did nothing for any part of the company. Generally, a title belt should be the signal of the best of that given division or area, some of these made the superstars look weak and even worse. From a split title, to one with a license plate on it, to some with spinners included … Yes, spinners. Wrestling companies create belts and some that have been a strange combo of color and things that do not belong in wrestling like butterflies, logos and paintings.
The WWE in particular has had a long history of making unique and sometimes odd looking title belts, in a way I can understand the logic, as some of the more outlandish ones will sell merchandise, but in the context of WWE, the belts should remain pristine and of quality. In 1999, Steve Austin had his Smoking Skull belt, which to me was fine, as it retained the normal colors and kept the WWE logo on it and said Heavyweight Champion. It very nicely incorporated his skull logo. The list below is a look at some of the belts through history, and through multiple companies that may have been meant to look good, but did not come across that way on TV. This article is merely my opinion, I hope you all enjoy reading it.
20. Lay-Cool Split Women’s Title
Let’s start with this one, for starters it went against all logic in having a championship. There has been another case of two people holding one belt, but it was not split in half, literally. That case was Chyna and Jericho being co-holders of the Intercontinental title.
This was Michelle McCool and Layla being a team and sharing the belt, but in order to both have something to show, the belt was actually cut in half. Note sure why this was done, but I am sure at the time WWE had a reason to do it, the Divas have never been of major importance to WWE, so I imagine it was approved fairly quickly.
19. WWE Hardcore Title
Mick Foley was the first ever holder of this belt, and he recently admitted on the Monday Night War DVD, he hated it. It was an old belt, smashed up and literally duct taped back together and the word ‘HARDCORE’ written on the tape. When it was created it was to combat ECW. The belt looked bad, I imagine it was hard to carry around and although the division had its niche in WWE, they could have done it with a better belt.
18. Tommy Dreamer New York Hardcore Title
This one didn’t last long, but it existed, and there is footage of Dreamer wearing it. A belt with a New York license plate on the front of it. License plates belong on cars, not on belts and not in wrestling. These things just do not mesh. The licences plate was in bad condition as well, so it made it look even worse. I imagine there is a reason WWE won’t ever publicly acknowledge this belt, but it does exist and it is as ugly as any other belt on this list.
17. Ultimate Warrior Orange Strap
In the 80s, everything was comic-like, over the top gimmicks, so when Warrior won his multiple titles, I guess they decided to make it fit his colorful outfits. At one point, they made the strap orange. Yes, orange! …. Why? Who knows. It did not fit at all, the plates had no colors that complimented orange. The only thing it matched was Warrior’s trunks. The yellow strap on the Intercontinental title matched a little better, but if you’re going to tinker with the world title, you better get it right.
16. WWE Undisputed Title
The first version of this, which Jericho won by unifying the WWE and WCW titles seemed like jumbled mess of both worlds, kind of like the WCW Invasion storyline. The belt was eventually presented Triple H, and went on for a little while until it was renamed the WWE Title, when Eric Bischoff brought the Gold Belt back to Raw. Regardless of its length, it was not a pretty sight, and was never clearly labelled an undisputed title. It was used to create shocking moments of superstars jumping between shows to try and win it.
15. TNA Knockouts Title
Once again, I go to color on a title belt, it does not work. The strap on this belt was, and still is, white. I realize TNA is trying to be different, but this doesn’t work well. Belt straps in wrestling should be plain black. This same argument could be made for the current strap on the Intercontinental Title, which is ugly, but not as ugly as the ones listed. On second thought, the belt isn’t all bad when it’s around the waist of a beautiful woman.
14. TNA X Division title
A giant X is not creative, and how it passed as a title, I don’t know. I never got the whole X Division, if it’s X, that means anyone can win the belt right? X is not a weight limit and it’s not a gender. Having a belt for an anyone division is kind of strange to me, Kurt Angle held it at one point which proves my point. TNA recently did change it, but it is still an X and is still bad looking.
13. IWGP World Title
This one is not a familiar one to most, but it is a belt used in Japan by Antonio Inoki in his company. Much like the belt listed above , it is literally giant letters and although it gets the message across, the letters don’t stand out, they blend into the background. It makes it hard to see any real definitive detail. You would think that a company headed by such a legend like Inoki would come up with a better title design.
12. WWE’s ECW World Title
WWE attempted to reinvent ECW, and it did not work. Neither did their belt, silver and black, as plain and simple as anything else. It did not represent the spirit of ECW, the old ECW belt had blood and barbed wire on it. This belt was simple and boring, an accurate representation of the WWE version of ECW … simple and boring. Also, since when do you aspire for a silver belt? Perhaps it was representative of the brand being second rate.
11. Taz ECW World Title
When Taz could not get a shot at the real ECW title, due to Sabu being reluctant to face him. Taz went to the next option, make a belt. He took an old belt, some tape and marker. Put tape over the belt and wrote FTW on it. The FTW world title, or Brooklyn Belt was born, and it was butt ugly. Again, the tape thing is not a good choice. It doesn’t look like a title one would aspire to win, or proud to hold.
10. nWo World Title
The nWo, the most famous group in wrestling, it made the 90s what it was for wrestling. For a group that was the IT group, you think WCW would have made a better belt for them, it was the world title with black paint over it. I guess it represented chaos and anarchy, but for something that is a ‘prized possession’ in wrestling, my feeling it, it should always be pristine looking. Even if there was meaning behind it, it sure wasn’t nice to look at.
9. WWE Cruiserweight Title
This one is strange, as the WCW version of this belt was not pretty either, but WWE just took it and modernized it, and it didn’t work. The good part was the quality matches the guys put on. That doesn’t save anything from this horrible belt. WWE beat WCW, I figured they could have improved the titles, but that was not the case. The title would eventually lose its prestige as WWE kept taking the spotlight off their lighter wrestlers.
8. WWE Spinner World Title
This one has made a lot of noise over the years. John Cena was once a thug rapper, and turned the world title into a spinner, the things meant for car rims, not belts in WWE. There came a point when WWE made it stop spinning, but it still looked ugly, all uneven and bulky, awkward to carry. The one interesting fact, Jim Ross said this was the most requested item from WWE shop. It has since been retired.
7. U.S. Spinner Title
Again, a spinner, made for cars, not belts. This one was the entire plate. Not just the middle of the belt. JBL disapproved and so do I. Thankfully it didn’t last, as when Orlando Jordan won it, he tossed it in the trash can, burned it and restored it to its old glory, at least in its design. A non spinning belt. The bottom line is, a belt should look prestigious and not a toy. Let’s hope WWE never reverts to something like this again.
6. Divas Title
WWE has a strange obsession with using items that don’t belong in WWE, or professional wrestling in general, and using them as belts. This one was and still is, a butterfly. I’m not sure what caused this. It is unfortunately still being used, and has the division labelled as ‘Divas’ instead of Women. This belt also includes pink, and again goes back to the color thing. This choice could have been no.1, easily. A good way to signify a Divas Revolution would be to scrap this title.
5. Jeff Hardy Immortal TNA World Title
So let’s start with what’s good about this one, NOTHING. It’s purple, and its plate was not a title, it was a painting done by Jeff Hardy, and it was weird, creepy and confusing. Nowhere on it did it say world champion. Hardy is an enigma, but please don’t make the titles a puzzle. This title belt looked more like a piece of bling bling one might carry for a night on the town, rather than defend in a squared circle.
4. Lightheavyweight Title
Color, color, color … A red strap … Why?. The failed attempt by WWE to match the WCW Cruiserweights. I think at one point it switched from Red to Yellow which was even worse. The common theme here is, I do not like flashy colors being used in title belts. The belt was eventually modified to a basic black strap design, but there was never really much prestige behind this title, as the division was incredibly thin.
3. WCW Hardcore Title
This one was only made to combat WWE, who had taken over the ratings lead in the Monday Night War. Although the WWE had made a terrible looking belt, at least it was crystal clear that it was Hardcore. The WCW Hardcore belt looked like the World title … and the matches were even worse. The company never really seemed to know how to make Hardcore entertaining.
Glad this didn’t last, as it gave Hardcore a bad name.
2. European title
Not sure why this belt ever existed, as it was held by guys who had nothing to do with Europe. At first the concept made sense, when the British Bulldog defeated Owen Hart in a tournament final in England to win the newly created title. The title basically lost anything ‘European’ about it when HBK beat Bulldog for it.
If you call a belt the European title , make sure it is that. The design was strange, it had a big red banner on, and once again… WHY ALL THE COLOR?
1. Edge Rated R WWE World Title
Finally we come to no.1, and who better to be no.1 than Edge and his Rated R Spinner World Title. Let’s list the errors with this … spinner, Edges logo instead of the WWE logo, the color, and it was as large and bulky as the Cena Spinner title. As bad as Cena’s spinner title was, at least the WWE logo was on it. This one eventually went away and it sure wasn’t the prettiest title Edge ever held.
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