The Evolution of WWE Wrestling Belts: How They Have Changed Over the Years
We often take it for granted, but the shape of a championship belt often has a huge impact on the collective imagination. WWE is no exception and since its first iteration in the 60s, the WWE World Championship has seen several metamorphoses.
Stable since 2014, aside from the ring, the WWE Championship is probably the most prestigious in the industry (despite the presence of the Universal Championship) and has been associated with big names such as Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock, Ric Flair and more. is from The Undertaker, Bret Hart, John Cena and dozens more.
To make up your mind and determine your favorite version of this prestigious award, a little background on the history of this championship and its variations.
1963 and 1986
Before we begin the list, let’s take a moment to talk about the championships between 1963 and 1986. There were at least 7 versions of the championship during those years and documents as well as photographs are rare.
Bruno Sammartino in particular won championships in this golden age. You can see a good timeline here, but we won’t go into detail about these releases. Our starting point will be Hulk Hogan’s victory and a new belt presentation for him in 1986.
1986 to 1988
From 1986 to 1988, Hulk Hogan wore this world championship with the flags of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia, Soviet Union and Italy. Hogan never lost that version of the championship he carried until presenting the next history-making belt.
1988 to 1998
From 1988 to 1998, the famous “Winged Eagle” was featured just before the end of Hulk Hogan’s reign. Thus, new faces would dominate the WWF at the time, notably, Macho Man Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Diesel, Yokozuna and a few others.
The Winged Eagle Championship is the longest-running championship and dates back to the early years of the WrestleMania era, as well as the start of the Monday Night Wars and the introduction of the Attitude Era. This is the championship of our childhood, a reference belt of sorts.
In 1998, “Big Eagle” appeared and coincided with the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin. The blue version was short-lived and was soon replaced by a black belt.
Also, this championship has seen changes such as the “Smoking Skull” worn by Steve Austin.
This version, on the other hand, is more “unofficial” because it only belonged to Steve Austin.
Then, the purchase of WCW came as a game changer and WWE added a little twist to its championship: unification with the WCW Championship. Thus was born the Undisputed Championship which was first presented to Triple H in 2002 (but Chris Jericho is the first unified champion except that he held both belts).
From 2002 to 2005
From 2002 to 2005, Triple H’s years of dominance were associated with the unified belt that had a tighter format. A transition period for WWE to something that will mark a new generation of fans…
From 2005 to 2013
Spinning Belt (Spinner) From 2005 to 2013, John Cena’s championship was the hallmark of WWE and a reflection of the organization’s leadership. Obviously Cena isn’t the only champion, but these are clearly “his” years.
CM Punk also wore the title with great success, notably, and the spinning aspect was dropped along the way, but the streak lived on almost as well as the legendary “Winged Eagle”.
It has to be given some respect despite its shady variations, like Edge’s “Rated-R” one.
Then, in 2013, The Rock came to triumph against CM Punk in a brief comeback and, with it, a new belt with a very short life.
For about a year, in 2013 and 2014, a very large WWE logo and the words “champion” appeared on the organization’s main belt. A step into the future for WWE which has since made only minor changes to the championship.
Since 2014, the look has remained the same and the championship has even found variations for the universal title as well as the two women’s championships.
Like it or not, the current look looks red and blue for a while. So, we have to wait for the next life of the WWE Championship.
Now that that’s said: What’s your favorite look from the story?
Our vote, not surprisingly, goes to our youth…
The glorious Winged Eagle, timeless, perfect; We miss her. Even his “destroyed” version in the Hardcore Championship was interesting, that’s saying something.