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    Sunday, April 2, 2017

    #SGQ (4/2/17): The New NXT Titles Edition

    It's not too often that we get new title belts championships in wrestling. New designs often herald the arrival of a new era, or play into the personality and/or character of a performer. At this year's pre-Mania NXT: TakeOver, the NXT brass has given the third brand a new set of gold to further raise the brand's profile.

    The good news is that they didn't opt for the main roster title designs with the addition of a predictable yellow strap; NXT decided to go for a more traditional approach to their new belts. Here at the Smark Henry offices, we believe that while the overall intent is a good thing, the designs have their hits and misses. They'll probably grow on you eventually; but while it's the champion who makes the title, the physical belt itself plays an important role in lending credibility and excitement to the titleholder.

    So without further ado: here are NXT's new title belts, and what we think of them.

    NXT Tag Team Titles

    The old NXT Tag Team Title belts looked a bit plain, but crisp; compared to the main roster titles that wouldn't be so out of place in a coin collection, the old belts screamed "small independent promotion" more than anything.

    These new titles, though, speak a lot about how NXT is growing into the WWE's "third brand." The textures and shapes on the face plate give a lot of weight and dimension into the physical belts. This time, it screams "championship title"—the sort of trophy that you would set your eyes on if you were procuring belts in an expedition of gold.

    This sweet piece of hardware is easily a favorite in the offices not only for its very forward-looking design, but its throwback to the traditions of tag team wrestling championships.

    NXT Women's Championship

    It could be argued that the old NXT Women's Championship was not only one of the best-looking belts in the WWE, but it was also a design that evoked a lot of the personality of its first holder, Paige.

    Unlike most other belts, the old NXT Women's Championship was a piece that was meant to be worn, and not thrown into the ring for the sake of shenanigans. The new design of the NXT Women's Championship takes all of that and throws it to the wayside in favor of a traditional belt design usually reserved for male champions. This is a big deal, because it goes to show how much commitment NXT has in cultivating the next generation of women competing in the WWE ring.

    We're a bit dismayed with the huge silver "X" that evokes the old TNA X-Division belt, but this is NXT, after all. The rivets framing the very substantial faceplate are also a nice touch.

    NXT Championship

    The original NXT Championship was unique and charming in its own way: it was a big X on a strap reminiscent of an oversized strip of film. The thing is, the new NXT Championship and the new NXT Women's Championship are very much alike, the difference being that instead of having a silver "X" and trim, the NXT Championship is set in pure gold. We actually like it: it puts the male Champion and Women's Champion at equal footing on the top of the hill, which matters a lot in the discourse of professional wrestling.

    The design, though, leaves much to be desired: it has that "X-Division" feel to it, instead of a unique design espoused by the NXT Tag Team Championship belts. At least the new belt eschews the custom side plates gimmick of the main roster titles; instead of representing the personality of the holder, the NXT titles look back at tradition and maybe see the belts themselves as representatives of the brand.

    Personally, we're on the fence when it comes to these titles. While the design nuances of the tag titles truly uplift the division, the new top titles feel a bit flat. Despite the earnest attempts at making the titles stand out, it's really how the belts scream "TNA" more than "NXT" that makes me a tad disappointed. Still, though, these new belts really elevate NXT: honestly, despite the TNA comparison, these hefty and traditional-looking belts look a heck of a lot better than the 3D-inspired main roster titles.

    So what do you think, readers? Do you think that the new titles really raise the bar for NXT, or do you think that the designers and makers could have done better? What do you think of the new NXT title belts? Sound off in the comments section below!
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    Item Reviewed: #SGQ (4/2/17): The New NXT Titles Edition Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Marck Rimorin
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