wrestling / Columns

Magnificent Seven: Top 7 Personalized Title Belts

February 13, 2019 | Posted by Steve Cook

Wrestling fans love talking about championship belts. It’s something we’ve been hung up on for as long as I can remember. I know that I’m personally attached to the version of the WWE Championship I saw Bret Hart defending on WWF Superstars. The Winged Eagle championship, if you will. Every other belt representing WWE’s top prize has paled in comparison. I don’t know if it’s because it was the best looking version of the Championship or if i’m an old traditionalist, or if it’s a combination of both.

Either way, I find myself drawn to title belts that wrestlers make for themselves. Or they have other people make for them. Either way, I love belts that stand out. Just two weeks ago, Daniel Bryan had a new version of the WWE Championship made for him, as the belt he won represented the excesses that America has produced over the past years with representatives that don’t care about harming the earth.

The 10 Pounds of Hemp is an awesome championship. It makes me hope that Daniel Bryan is never defeated. Well, I hoped for that anyway, but this new belt just enhances that feeling. I’m a fan of wrestlers that mark their territory & claim their championships as their own.

Here are the Magnificent Seven Personalized Wrestling Championships. Bryan’s title is not on this list simply because we haven’t had enough time to take in its impact.

7. Jeff Hardy’s Immortal TNA Championship

If you were reading 411 around the time Jeff Hardy was riding high in TNA high on whatever he was high on, you know I wasn’t a big fan of Jeff, Matt or anybody else carrying the Hardy name. I’ve grown past that, but don’t ask their people about me. They hold some grudges! Anywho, Jeff made his way to TNA for the second time after some drug problems in WWE for the second time, and he wound up on the right side of Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Ric Flair & the Immortal faction. This led to Hardy winning the TNA Championship, and getting to make his own version of it.

I didn’t really care for it, but it was certainly unique, and deserves mention here.

6. LayCool’s Split WWE Women’s Championship

Back in the days when Michelle McCool & Layla were dominating the women’s division, there weren’t Women’s Tag Team Championships to fight for. Which makes it kind of awkward when you’re BFFs. You both want to be on top, but how can you do that without making your friend mad? Layla & Michelle figured it out. Like King Solomon, they would split the belt in half. Makes perfect sense, right? I think the Riott Squad should split the Raw Women’s Championship into thirds if Ruby Riott can beat Ronda Rousey.

5. Ultimate Warrior’s multi-colored championship straps

I don’t know why Warrior insisted on having multiple belt straps on every championship he held. What I do know is that it did help the title stand out. There’s a reason that Cody Rhodes (or somebody, I assume it was Cody but I don’t want to short anybody else credit) insisted the belt strap be white when he brought back the classic Intercontinental Championship belt plates. We’re all used to black belt straps, so when a different color enters the mix we’re intrigued.

4. Lance Storm’s WCW Canadian Championships

I loved Storm making the WCW United States Championship the WCW Canadian Championship. A simple sticker was all it took for Storm to change the meaning of the title, and it was a really easy way to get heat. A good looking title too. Then we had the Canadian 100 Kilos & Under Championship, and the Saskatchewan Hardcore International Title to spread the heat.

Which was kinda fun. Until Lance and his other Canadian cohorts lost the titles in short order. You need to build the heat up over time, but it got no time. Then they decided to work a Canadian Title match in Canada where Lance got way too many favors from the officiating, which was a rookie mistake. Fans don’t buy into referees being favored towards their favorite. You have to work the Canadian Rules match in the United States to get the right reaction & result. This is why WCW went out of business. Among many other reasons.

3. John Cena’s Spinner WWE Championship

I really don’t like this belt. I never liked it. Back when Cena brought it to life, I was shocked & appalled. I actually liked his Spinner US Championship at the time, which I almost put on this list until I looked at it again with my 2019 eyes. Then I realized that it was a bad idea to have two John Cena belts on this list.

I can not express my distaste for this belt enough, but I seem to be in the minority. People loved this thing. It apparently still sells well with people that buy title belts even today. I don’t get it. I never will. It is what it is. I’m sure people reading will complain about this belt making the list…I invite them to direct their diatribes towards their friend that goes to indy shows with the Spinner belt over their shoulder.

2. Steve Austin’s Smoking Skull Belt

I’m not sure it really fit Stone Cold Steve Austin’s character to have a customized title belt. Sure, he needed to be rebellious. I can understand the idea he didn’t need to have the regular championship belt. But man…this belt was too good looking to be something that Stone Cold would come up with. It’s a fantastic piece of work, and I totally understood Vince McMahon wanting to keep it on his mantle.

Hell, it’s probably still on his mantle. If I was Vince McMahon it would be on my mantle as my finest creation. A snake-skin belt with a smoking skull on the front? Yeah, sounds good to me.

1. Hollywood Hogan’s NWO spray-painted WCW Championship

At the end of the day, I think the simplest adjustments are the best. Everybody wants to reinvent the wheel, but it’s when you make the slightest adjustment that you get the most reaction. When Hogan beat the Giant for the WCW Championship, the New World Order decided right away that they needed to leave their mark. They spray painted a title belt that went back to the glory days of Ric Flair defending against Dusty Rhodes across the circuit. It got heat. WCW traditionalists were pissed the hell off about it. Fans were sitting at home thinking “How dare that man defile the belt.”…or they were thinking it was awesome.

I mean, it’s the Big Gold Belt defiled. What else would send the message that the NWO wanted to send?