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    Tuesday, January 5, 2016

    #SGQ (1/5/16): Five Championship Concepts We'd Love To See In The WWE

    One of the coolest things about being a professional wrestler is that you get a big shiny belt to tell everyone around you that you're the best in the world at something.

    Now this doesn't mean that the belts always look great; in fact, some championship belts have been downright hated by fans of the wrestling game.

    John Cena knows what we're talkin' 'bout.
    One of our favorite sites as all-around wrestling fans is BeltTalk.com, a forum devoted to conversations on championship belts between all kinds of people—enthusiasts, collectors, hobbyists, and even designers and makers. It's a remarkable place to get into the interesting stories and analysis of belts. But even more excitingly, it's a great source of fan-generated ideas on where the art of championship belt creation can go in the future.

    We've picked up five different ideas from them we'd love to see adopted by the WWE in the future. We promise these will blow your minds.

    1. Up The Color-Coordination Game

    Remember how the IWC exploded when Cody Rhodes reintroduced the classic Intercontinental Championship on a rockin' white strap?

    Now that is a dashing championship!
    We think the WWE should do something similar with the much-maligned "Big Penny" Tag Team Championships currently held by the New Day.

    Some say the design is uninspired, like someone slapped some loose change onto a leather strap, hence the unflattering monicker. Others say the bronze alloy makes them look like third-rate championships, far less valuable than the regal gold worn by other champions in the company.

    We saw a great idea to fix this. We think it isn't the bronze pennies per se that are the problem, but the fact that they're mounted on black leather. That's way too close to breaking the sacred rule of never pairing brown and black on an outfit. iQue barbaridad! 

    What we need to do is give these bronze beauties the proper setting to accentuate their warmer, more reserved hue. Like maybe, say, a nice chocolate brown.

    Tell us that doesn't make you think of some sophisticated, luxurious elegance, almost like a fine leather watch.

    Just do it, WWE. You can thank us later.

    2. Go Nuts With Leather, Not Just The Plates

    And while we're at it, how about this courageous tri-tone championship used by Great American Wrestling?

    That's some ingenious use of color to liven up the part of a championship belt most people don't really obsess on while making it instantly recognizable in a slew of other indie belts. There's more to a belt than its plates, after all. We've seen belts come in a million different colors, but this is the first we can recall that mixes it up in such daring fashion. Ballsy move, but ultra interesting.

    We'd love to see the same execution on the WWE's United States Championship, just to really leverage the identity of the belt. After all, when the main plate itself hams it up with its American flag motif, there's really no place for minimalist restraint, is there?

    Alberto Del Rio would absolutely own this look.

    How can this not be an immediate go? A belt that represents America deserves to be as American as it can get in all its aspects. Let's just get this done, WWE!

    3. 21st Century Technology For 21st Century Talent

    Anyone remember Jeff Hardy's custom Immortal Championship during his run as TNA Heavyweight Champion?

    This belt, which reputedly cost over $25,000 to make, was almost universally hated among wresting purists. Granted, it helped establish Hardy's character as an unconventional non-conformist who refused to be weighed down by the tradition (such that it was) of TNA's Championship, but it's hard to take seriously when all you can think of is what stoned Lisa Frank designer he hired to make it.

    Hardy did have some good ideas though, such as this one-of-a-kind prototype he commissioned from Top Rope Belts.

    The design is only slightly less hideous than that purple monstrosity above, but it had the advantage of a unique bit of technology built into it: sound-activated LED lights. According to the source, the eye and mouth cavities actually house color-changing lights that not just slowly pulse across the spectrum, but respond to the intensity of ambient sound.

    How would this have been useful, you ask? The Charismatic Enigma apparently envisioned this as a belt that would throb along to the beat of his entrance music as he made his way to the ring.

    The tackiness level would undoubtedly be high, but could you imagine Adam Rose, for example, in his "party time all the time" persona prancing his way to the ring as his belt kept time with his infectious theme?

    Flashing lights are always cool. In the right place, in the right time, on the right character, this technology would be incredibly cool on a belt.

    4. Truly Personal Belts

    "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's custom Smoking Skull belt was a truly sweet piece of gear, as fans of the Attitude Era would all attest.

    While past World Champions like the Ultimate Warrior or Bob Backlund had attempted to put their own personal flavor on the belt through varying shades of leather, and today's WWE World Heavyweight Championship allows for the sideplates to be swapped out and customized, this was the first belt that took personalization to this extreme.

    That's why we were struck by the clean simplicity of this custom nWo belt developed by a particularly talented designer which features the likenesses of Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall as the main plate artwork.

    If only the nWo had used this instead of sloppily tagging the WCW World Heavyweight Championship with the nWo initials.

    And the awardee for Best in Penmanship is... not Hulk Hogan.
    We were equally impressed by this impeccably detailed custom Kazuchika Okada championship belt, which does a great job in proclaiming the wearer as best at being the Rainmaker.

    We figured this would be a great idea to apply for any future champions who are so vain—Tyler Breeze, perhaps?—that the only belt they can bear to have strapped around their waists is one with their own face etched into it.

    Any belt that follows in the footsteps of The Fabulous Moolah's legendary "picture frame" Women's Championship can't be that bad, can it?

    5. Commemorative Belts For Things That Don't Involve Being Champ

    Some fans believe that facing the Undertaker at WrestleMania is a bigger deal than competing for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. We don't necessarily agree with the sentiment, but it got us thinking—for things this imporant, wouldn't a belt be a nice way to cement the achievement as something worth celebrating in its own right?

    This custom belt for The Streak underscores that point nicely, coming up with a neat way to capture the lengthy history of Taker at 'Mania.

    We love the thoughtful touches, like the gentle gold sheen that mirrors precisely the finish of the Deadman's famous urn, and the purple accents that look surprisingly dignified in their application, while nicely calling out what was his trademark palette from the mid-90s.

    Equally nice are small touches like using the sideplates to mark out Taker's list of victims through the years.

    And we especially loved the touching little tribute to Paul Bearer in another sideplate.

    While seeing Brock Lesnar decimate Undertaker back at WrestleMania XXX was one of the most iconic wrestling moments ever, perhaps the one thing that could have made it cooler would have been the visual of Lesnar holding this belt over the Deadman's beaten carcass, gloating as he took The Streak, both literally and metaphorically.

    Roman Reigns throws out a record number of men at the Royal Rumble? Commemorate than with a belt. Dolph Ziggler wins yet another Survivor Series elimination match as his team's sole survivor? That damn well deserves a belt. Nikki Bella becomes the longest-reigning Divas Champion in history? Goddammit, that deserves a belt.

    It's easier for people to value achievements when there's an artifact to grasp. This would be a simple way to make every milestone count—not to mention give the WWE more merch to shill on WWE Shop.


    What do you think of these belt concepts, Henrinites? Do you think the WWE should adopt some of these for their own championships? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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    Item Reviewed: #SGQ (1/5/16): Five Championship Concepts We'd Love To See In The WWE Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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