The top five championship belt designs in wrestling

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 13: WWE Champion John Cena attends the WWE SummerSlam press conference at Beverly Hills Hotel on August 13, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 13: WWE Champion John Cena attends the WWE SummerSlam press conference at Beverly Hills Hotel on August 13, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images) /

Championship belts are the prize, and most look beautiful but these stand out as the best-looking of all time.

As wrestling fans when we talk about championships and titles, we normally have discussions about who were the best wrestlers to hold specific titles.  But one discussion that hardly ever gets brought up is which titles are the best looking. Some designs make your eyes pop open every time you see them.

In this article, I am giving my choices for the top five championship title designs of all time.  Before I begin, I want to note that no gimmicks to championships will be on my list.  So, if you’re looking for any spinning titles or titles specifically designed for a wrestler, I’m sorry but they won’t be on the list.

5. WCW United States Heavyweight Title

When you have a championship that is called the United States Heavyweight title you need to have a belt that looks like it is representing the United States.  The WCW United States Heavyweight title, which debuted in 1991, is one of the best secondary titles in history.

With a small United States flag behind a bald eagle spreading his wings, the title really meant something when wrestlers would compete for it.  Men such as Lex Luger, Rick Rude, Steve Austin, and Sting would wear this championship with pride and dignity.

Of all the championships that WCW ever made this one might be the best-looking.  It’s original, creative and gets the point across about what the title is and that is the United States Heavyweight Title.

4. WWF Intercontinental Title

This is a belt I remember from growing up.  As a kid, I thought it was a cool-looking belt.  This is also the first replica championship that I ever bought with my own money.

Debuting in 1985 and being on television until 1998, the Intercontinental Title has a great design with three tiers on the belt and the top tier showing the globe and the words “Intercontinental Heavyweight Wrestling Champion”.  Whatever color strap you had to go with it, either black, white, yellow, or blue, this title had a great design.

A belt of my childhood that really meant a lot to wrestlers who competed for this championship, it was a fantastic-looking championship.  Will we ever see this design again?  Only time has the answer.

3. Ring of Honor World Title

One of the things that made Ring of Honor so unique was its world title.  The championship, which debuted in 2002, was used for almost a decade.  With the three letters in big, bold red letters spelling ROH, this was the dream independent wrestling championship.

While the list isn’t big for those who have held this title, men like Low Ki, Bryan Danielson, Nigel McGuinness, and Samoa Joe can lay claim to this prestigious title.  Towards the end of Sinclair Broadcasting Group owning Ring of Honor, this title made a comeback and was used until just a few weeks ago at Supercard of Honor.

A personal favorite of mine, the Ring of Honor World Title was a championship that I loved seeing when I was in college and had a great design.  No matter who held the title, the legacy lived on.

2. NWA World Heavyweight Title

Not too many championships in pro wrestling have nicknames that go with titles.  The NWA World Heavyweight Title is one of those belts.  Most famously known as “The Ten Pounds of Gold”, this belt first debuted in 1973 and was used for thirteen years before the “Big Gold Belt” took its place.

However, the championship made a return in 1994 before being infamously thrown to the ground by Shane Douglas and has been the title for the NWA ever since.  Men such as Harley Race, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and Terry Funk all the way up to recent times such as Nick Aldis, Trevor Murdoch, Matt Cardona, and Tyrus have competed for this championship belt.

This title was THE belt I wanted to get as a replica and I’m proud to say I have this title in my house.  With its beautiful dome globe in the top part of the title and the different countries around the title, this is one of the greatest designed championships in the history of wrestling.  It has traveled all over the world and is a real eye-catching championship that has an appeal all to itself.

1. WWF Heavyweight Title

The wing-eagled belt, the one title I remember the most as a kid, epitomized what being the top wrestler is all about.  Debuting in 1988 and going all the way until 1998, this title was the title of my childhood.  Winning this championship showed a lot of people that you were the very best in your profession.

For wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Randy Savage, and Shawn Michaels wearing this championship really made them feel like a big deal.  It meant you were the top guy in the WWF, and you were going to be on top for a long time.

Just like with the WCW United States Heavyweight Title, this belt has an eagle spreading its wings but what makes this title so different is the eagle looks huge and looks like it is the dominating species.  I had the foam version of this title when I was a kid and still have it to this day.  The title reminds me of a time when we all were innocent and loved the things we loved.  This title represents one of my favorite things growing up as a child and that is professional wrestling.

There are other great championship designs all over the world, but these are the five that represent what a championship should look like.  It’s beautiful and gracious, rugged, and tough but most important of all, it makes the individual holding the title important.

So, the next time you look at today’s championship titles in pro wrestling and you go to a quick conclusion on the looks, just remember that not every title has to look fantastic.  It just has to look great in the eye of the beholder.

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