It’s no secret that I am a big fan of professional wrestling. I can still remember watching my first event (SummerSlam) back in 1988 and have been hooked ever since. The characters, storylines, action – it was everything a kid could ask for. Hogan, Savage, Andre, Mr Perfect, Rick Rude, Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior – the list goes on and on. Though there have been times when my viewership decreased over the years, I still follow the product regularly. Over the decades of being a WWF/WWE fan I have been very fortunate to acquire many rare wrestling treasures, many you have already seen and a lot more that will be shared soon. All of these belts are heavy duty and made of leather & thick metal plates (minus the spinner).
But when it comes to iconic wrestling items there is something that often stands out to collectors of all ages – WWE Championship Belts. As a fan growing up I had several of the “foam” kids belts that you would buy from a local toy store and smash to bits playing with your brothers/cousins/friends. So once I was a bit older I decided it was time to finally get the real deal and go after professionally made belts that stood out to me the most. Today at Action Pak’d we are taking a look at some of my favorite belts of all time that I am proud to say are in my personal collection. Let’s go! (these are not in any specific order).
WWF Winged Eagle Championship
One word comes to mind when looking at this beauty of a belt – ICONIC. There perhaps is no other belt that is as synonymous with the golden era champions of WWF then the coveted Winged Eagle. If you were a wrestling fan at this time then you no doubt remember this classic belt, and perhaps my favorite in my collection, held by some of the most iconic champions of all time.
Introduced in 1988, the “winged eagle” is arguably the most popular variation of the WWE Championship. Debuting on The Main Event during the WrestleMania III rematch between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, the classic design represented the most coveted prize in sports-entertainment for nearly a decade. In addition to The Hulkster, a number of WWE Hall of Famers proudly carried the “winged eagle” into battle, including Bret “Hit Man” Hart, Shawn Michaels, Macho Man Randy Savage, Diesel, Ric Flair, Ultimate Warrior, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
Although iconic, the “winged eagle” was not completely free from having its own variations. The majestic gold plates never changed, the title’s leather strap was altered to match the colorful personality of Ultimate Warrior. During his reign as WWE Champion, the manic Superstar wore white, purple and blue variations of the championship.
To me this will always be the real championship belt and one that will be held in higher regard with the history and legacy of former champions it carries.
The “Attitude Era” WWE Championship
The Attitude Era. A time in wrestling that many consider the greatest collective makeup of performers at any period in WWF’s history.
After nearly 10 years, the “winged eagle” design was retired and the WWE Title of The Attitude Era was presented to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin by Mr. McMahon on the March 30, 1998, edition of Raw. The design was similar to the previous version, but the title’s centerpiece was now fully rounded and the side plates were updated. This title originally featured a blue leather strap, but the color was eventually changed to black. The only other variation to this design during its tenure was the updating of the WWE logo in 1998.
Through 2001, Austin, The Undertaker, The Rock, Mankind, Kurt Angle, Triple H, Big Show and even Mr. McMahon were the proud owners of this WWE Championship. Six of The Great One’s eight WWE Title reigns featured The Attitude Era championship, making this particular variation the one most closely associated with The People’s Champ.
The size of this belt definitely stood out with its large circular plate at the center compared to the previous design. The classic blue colored globe on the front face & champion plate below can be seen on the greatest wrestlers of this era. If you were a Stone Cold, HHH, Undertaker, Kane, Mankind, or Rock fan at this time then this is the belt you always saw them carrying.
A classic belt design that is fitting for one of or perhaps the greatest era in sports entertainment.
WWF “White Strap” Intercontinental Championship
When I look at this belt one performer comes to mind immediately – Mr. WrestleMania HBK Shawn Michaels. With HBK being one of my all time favorites and this belt being featured in so many classic bouts from my childhood, it was one that I could not pass up.
Though previous versions of this belt existed, in 1986, the Intercontinental title belt was replaced by probably the most memorable version of the belt ever used. Made using the acid etching process, the belt was made by Reggie Parks who had taken over making the belts for all the major promotions in North America. It was a gold plated belt, 5 plates on hand-tooled black leather. More commonly referred to as the ‘Reggie IC’ among collectors and belt enthusiasts, this belt is likely the 2nd most popular belt of all time behind the WWF ‘Winged Eagle’ title belt.
This belt was used during the “Hulkamania golden age” of the World Wrestling Federation and this was when it enjoyed its most success, classed as the ‘workers title’, many great matches were fought over this championship. Holding the Intercontinental title at that time really meant something unlike what we have seen over the last decade. This belt made stars, it was a stepping store towards the main championship.
Though the original belt design is with a black leather strap, there were a few variations of this belt for specific wrestlers who helped catapult it into stardom. Honky Tonk Man, Ultimate Warrior, and of course Shawn Michaels all had specific strap colors matching their persona/ring attire look.
WWE “Spinner” Championship Belt
This is perhaps the most polarizing belt in WWE history. Some love it, many hate it, but to me it symbolizes one of the greatest climbs in WWE history by one of its greatest champions ever – John Cena. Love or hate Cena you can not deny his importance in the history of the business, right up there with the likes of Hogan, Austin, & The Rock. He was the guy for decades, carrying the company with match after match with the top stars of the time.
A whole generation has grown up with Cena’s “spinner” title as the championship they most associate with WWE. Cena’s time atop WWE had just begun. After defeating John “Bradshaw” Layfield for the WWE title, Cena presented a new version of it. Cartoon letters spelled out “champ.” It was glittery and huge, a gaudy spectacle that Cena and several others would battle over for years. The title symbolized WWE’s move away from the Attitude Era, entering a safer, glitzier and more family-friendly period. It made for the perfect title to sell to kids with its bright and shiny colors. This is the one belt in my collection that does not have metal plates as it is a commemorative belt from WWE.
With Cenas character at the time being the Dr. of Thuganonmics, they WWE were going after a “urban” type of style. During that period in time spinning rims on cars were a big deal and synonymous with rappers and flashy excess. Therefor, the spinner belt as its known today was born. Featuring a large central plate that spins in a circle, the belt was much flashier than anything seen before. The Spinner Belt remained the standard title belt from 2005–2013. During Edge‘s second reign (2006), he introduced his own variation, the “Rated R Spinner” design, replacing the WWE scratch logo with his “Rated R Superstar” logo. Edge was going to have a completely new custom belt designed, but due to time constraints, it did not get made.
Many fans have considered this the worst belt design in history but judging by recent belts (bronze tag team I am looking at you, yuck) that is definitely not the case.
This belt in particular is singed by John Cena, HBK, The Great Khali, & the Miz. If you want to read how I got these signatures click here for some fun short stories.
Current WWE Championship Belt
If you have been watching the WWE product recently and for the last several years then this is the belt you see on TV all the time, the redesigned WWE Championship belt which made its debut in 2014. Compared to other versions, this style is definitely one of the best. Almost a modern take on the classic, clean look of the title, the belt features a black leather strap with large WWE logo at the center and tons of “jewels” to make it shine (some have come off but I have replacements, just need to glue them on).
On the August 18, 2014 episode of Raw, reigning champion Brock Lesnar, who had won the title the night before at SummerSlam, was presented with a single championship belt, retiring the Big Gold Belt in the process. The current belt has a slightly updated design from the belt introduced by The Rock in 2013 as a result of WWE changing their corporate logo which was originally used for the WWE Network.
It includes a large center plate dominated by a cut out of the current WWE logo inside an irregular heptagon with the capital words “World Heavyweight Champion” along the bottom edges, in very small print.
The belt retains the gold divider bars introduced in the previous design. The large side plates, like the previous design, include removable round center sections, allowing the holder’s personal logo to be added to the championship belt; the default plates show gold and red world maps with the WWE logo over them but without the crown from the previous design.
Customizable side plates have now become a prominent feature with the majority of WWE’s championship belts.
I have a couple other belts in my collection but these 5 are definitely my favorites overall and represent the greatest eras and champions in the history of the business. There is one belt in particular that I will cover later on as I think it deservers its own post – you may say its worth its weight in gold… Did you enjoy this post? Great! I unbox and share items every few days so keep following actionpakd.com for all of our updates. If you are a fellow collector in Pakistan of action figures, collectibles, and more then join our community on Facebook by clicking here for regular unboxings, giveaways, reviews, and more.