Big Gold Belt

Big Gold Belt

Overview
The Big Gold Belt is a historic professional wrestling
Professional wrestling
Professional wrestling is a mode of spectacle, combining athletics and theatrical performance.Roland Barthes, "The World of Wrestling", Mythologies, 1957 It takes the form of events, held by touring companies, which mimic a title match combat sport...

 championship belt
Championship belt
A championship belt is a large, extravagantly designed belt used primarily in combat sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling to signify the champions of the promotion or company, much like a cup or trophy in other sports...

 that has represented multiple world championships throughout its history. It was originally designed in 1985 by silversmith
Silversmith
A silversmith is a craftsperson who makes objects from silver or gold. The terms 'silversmith' and 'goldsmith' are not synonyms as the techniques, training, history, and guilds are or were largely the same but the end product varies greatly as does the scale of objects created.Silversmithing is the...

 Charles Crumrine and commissioned by Jim Crockett Promotions
Jim Crockett Promotions
Jim Crockett Promotions was a professional wrestling promotion owned by Jim Crockett, Jr. until the late 1980s. It was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance and was the forerunner to World Championship Wrestling .-Early history:...

 for NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair
Ric Flair
Richard Morgan Fliehr is an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Ric Flair. Also known as "The Nature Boy", Flair is one of the most well-known professional wrestlers in the world....

. The belt has three large gold plates and was the first championship belt to feature a name plate onto which the champion's name was etched.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Big Gold Belt'
Start a new discussion about 'Big Gold Belt'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
The Big Gold Belt is a historic professional wrestling
Professional wrestling
Professional wrestling is a mode of spectacle, combining athletics and theatrical performance.Roland Barthes, "The World of Wrestling", Mythologies, 1957 It takes the form of events, held by touring companies, which mimic a title match combat sport...

 championship belt
Championship belt
A championship belt is a large, extravagantly designed belt used primarily in combat sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling to signify the champions of the promotion or company, much like a cup or trophy in other sports...

 that has represented multiple world championships throughout its history. It was originally designed in 1985 by silversmith
Silversmith
A silversmith is a craftsperson who makes objects from silver or gold. The terms 'silversmith' and 'goldsmith' are not synonyms as the techniques, training, history, and guilds are or were largely the same but the end product varies greatly as does the scale of objects created.Silversmithing is the...

 Charles Crumrine and commissioned by Jim Crockett Promotions
Jim Crockett Promotions
Jim Crockett Promotions was a professional wrestling promotion owned by Jim Crockett, Jr. until the late 1980s. It was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance and was the forerunner to World Championship Wrestling .-Early history:...

 for NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair
Ric Flair
Richard Morgan Fliehr is an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Ric Flair. Also known as "The Nature Boy", Flair is one of the most well-known professional wrestlers in the world....

. The belt has three large gold plates and was the first championship belt to feature a name plate onto which the champion's name was etched. The original belt design was known for being unbranded as it only read "World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion" and bore no initials or trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 of its owning promotion
Professional wrestling promotion
A professional wrestling promotion is a company or business that regularly performs shows involving professional wrestling. Promotion also describes a role which entails management, advertising and logistics of running a wrestling event...

. In 2003, World Wrestling Entertainment
World Wrestling Entertainment
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. is an American publicly traded, privately controlled entertainment company dealing primarily in professional wrestling, with major revenue sources also coming from film, music, product licensing, and direct product sales...

 (WWE) added its logo to the design for copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 purposes. Following the belt's introduction in WWE, the distinctive name plate feature of the Big Gold Belt was swiftly incorporated into the belt designs of other WWE championships
Championship (professional wrestling)
A Championship or "title" in professional wrestling is a recognition promoted by professional wrestling organizations.Championship reigns are determined by professional wrestling matches, in which competitors are involved in scripted rivalries...

.

The NWA World Heavyweight Championship


The Big Gold Belt was first introduced in 1985 to replace the original NWA World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Championship
The National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship is a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship in the National Wrestling Alliance. Its lineage has been traced from the first World Heavyweight Championship, which traces its lineage to Georg Hackenschmidt's 1905 title and...

 belt of the National Wrestling Alliance
National Wrestling Alliance
The National Wrestling Alliance is a wrestling promotion company and sanctions various NWA championships in the United States. The NWA has been in operation since 1948...

 (NWA) that had been used since 1973, historically known as the "domed globe." Jim Crockett Jr. of Jim Crockett Promotions
Jim Crockett Promotions
Jim Crockett Promotions was a professional wrestling promotion owned by Jim Crockett, Jr. until the late 1980s. It was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance and was the forerunner to World Championship Wrestling .-Early history:...

 commissioned Charles Crumrine, a silversmith in Reno, Nevada
Reno, Nevada
Reno is the county seat of Washoe County, Nevada, United States. The city has a population of about 220,500 and is the most populous Nevada city outside of the Las Vegas metropolitan area...

 that specialized in western belt buckles, to produce it. The belt debuted on February 14, 1986 at a Championship Wrestling From Florida card called Battle Of The Belts II where NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair
Ric Flair
Richard Morgan Fliehr is an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Ric Flair. Also known as "The Nature Boy", Flair is one of the most well-known professional wrestlers in the world....

 defended the title against Barry Windham
Barry Windham
Barry Clinton Windham is an American semi-retired professional wrestler and the son of wrestler Blackjack Mulligan. He is best known for his appearances with the National Wrestling Alliance and World Championship Wrestling ....

. The name plate on the belt carried the misspelling "Rick Flair" but the mistake was soon corrected.

In 1988, Jim Crockett Promotions
Jim Crockett Promotions
Jim Crockett Promotions was a professional wrestling promotion owned by Jim Crockett, Jr. until the late 1980s. It was a member of the National Wrestling Alliance and was the forerunner to World Championship Wrestling .-Early history:...

 was purchased by media mogul and TBS founder Ted Turner. He established it as World Championship Wrestling
World Championship Wrestling
World Championship Wrestling, Inc. was an American professional wrestling promotion which existed from 1988 to 2001. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, it began as a regional promotion affiliated with the National Wrestling Alliance , named Jim Crockett Promotions until November 1988, when Ted Turner and...

 (WCW) under partnership with the National Wrestling Alliance and continued promoting the NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair.

The WCW World Heavyweight Championship


In January 1991, WCW officially recognized Ric Flair as their world champion in conjunction with the NWA's recognition. During this time, the Big Gold Belt represented the NWA World Heavyweight Championship as well as the newly established WCW World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Championship
The World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship was a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship in World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation . It existed within WCW between 1991 and 2001. Following the acquisition of WCW by World Wrestling...

. An exception to this arose in the spring of 1991. On March 21, 1991, Tatsumi Fujinami
Tatsumi Fujinami
is a Japanese professional wrestler who is famous for his gimmick as "The Dragon." He is the one who is credited for inventing the Dragon Sleeper and the Dragon Suplex...

 defeated Flair at the WCW/New Japan Supershow
WCW/New Japan Supershow
WCW/New Japan Supershow was an annual professional wrestling pay-per-view jointly promoted by World Championship Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling. It was held from 1991 to 1993, and was known as "Starrcade" in Japan...

. Following this match, the NWA recognized Fujinami as their new champion. However, WCW did not recognize this title change. While Flair would defeat Fujinami at SuperBrawl on May 19, 1991, to reunify the NWA and WCW titles, during Fujinami's approximately two-month reign as NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Flair retained possession of the belt and it only represented the WCW World Heavyweight Champion.

In July 1991, Flair and WCW parted ways while Flair was still champion. The Big Gold Belt left with Flair due to a dispute with WCW Vice President Jim Herd
Jim Herd
Jim Herd is a former professional wrestling executive. Herd was the Executive Vice President of World Championship Wrestling from 1988 to 1992, following Turner Broadcasting's acquisition of the NWA-affiliated Jim Crockett Promotions in 1988. His tenure however received much criticism from...

 in which Herd refused to return Flair's $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

25,000 deposit, a deposit per regulations that was required of reigning NWA World Heavyweight Champions and was to be returned after the conclusion of their reigns. WCW was forced to strip Flair of their recognition of world champion and introduced a new belt design to continue to represent the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The NWA followed suit and also stripped Flair of their recognition of world champion.

Flair soon signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and exhibited the Big Gold Belt there, proclaiming himself the "real World's Champion." Flair stated on the 2008 DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 release of Nature Boy Ric Flair: The Definitive Collection that the $25,000 he initially deposited with additional interest totalling $38,000 was never paid back to him, and as a result, Flair kept the Big Gold Belt until a settlement was finally reached with WCW. With its return to WCW, the Big Gold Belt represented the NWA World Heavyweight Championship once again, while the new WCW World Heavyweight Championship belt design that had been commissioned after Flair's departure also continued to be used.

The WCW International World Heavyweight Championship


In September 1993, WCW formally seceded from the NWA and with that the promotional rights to the NWA World Heavyweight Championship were returned to the National Wrestling Alliance. With the Big Gold Belt remaining property of WCW, World Championship Wrestling established the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship
WCW International World Heavyweight Championship
The World Championship Wrestling International World Heavyweight Championship was a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship in World Championship Wrestling . "WCW International" referred to a fictional international subsidiary of World Championship Wrestling...

, the world championship of a supposed subsidiary of World Championship Wrestling called "WCW International."

The WCW International World Heavyweight Championship was represented by the Big Gold Belt until 1994 when it was unified
Championship unification
Championship unification is the act of combining two or more separate professional wrestling championships into a single title.-History:In professional wrestling, championships may be unified to consolidate the number of championships in a given promotion, or to add legitimacy and prestige to a...

 with the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Following this, the Big Gold Belt represented the WCW World Heavyweight Championship once again and remained within WCW for the next seven years.

The Undisputed WWF Championship


In March 2001, after the long and bitter rivalry of the Monday Night Wars
Monday Night Wars
Monday Night Wars is the common term describing the period of mainstream televised American professional wrestling from September 4, 1995, to March 26, 2001. During this time, the World Wrestling Federation's Monday Night Raw went head-to-head with World Championship Wrestling's Monday Nitro in a...

, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. bought out WCW. The Big Gold Belt became property of the WWF and continued to represent the WCW World Heavyweight Championship within the promotion during the period of the WCW/ECW "Invasion." After the conclusion of Invasion at the 2001 Survivor Series
Survivor Series (2001)
Survivor Series was the fifteenth annual Survivor Series pay-per-view professional wrestling event produced by the World Wrestling Federation...

, the WCW Championship became unbranded (and known merely as "the World Championship") for the month that followed as the WCW name was phased out. The title was finally unified with the WWF Championship
WWE Championship
The WWE Championship is a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship in WWE. It is the world title of the Raw brand and one of two in WWE, complementing the World Heavyweight Championship of the SmackDown brand. It was established under the then WWWF in 1963...

 at Vengeance 2001
Vengeance (2001)
Vengeance was the first annual Vengeance professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation . It took place on December 9, 2001 at the San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego, California....

. Chris Jericho became the final WCW Champion and the subsequent Undisputed Champion as the WWF title became the Undisputed Championship
Undisputed Championship
An Undisputed Championship is a professional wrestling term for a champion who has obtained all of the major individual championships in his field during his era...

 in professional wrestling.

Following the unification of the WCW and WWF Championships, the Big Gold Belt and the WWF Championship belt were collectively used to represent the Undisputed Championship until a single new belt design, which featured some design elements from both belts, was introduced to represent the title in April 2002.

The World Heavyweight Championship


By 2002, the WWF had been divided in what became known as the Brand Extension
WWE Brand Extension
WWE, formerly the World Wrestling Federation and World Wrestling Entertainment , currently promotes its core business of professional wrestling through two "brands" named after their two major television shows Raw and SmackDown...

 and the promotion along with its parent company were renamed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The roster was divided into two franchises or "WWE brands", split between Raw
WWE RAW
WWE Raw ) is a sports entertainment television program for WWE that currently airs on the USA Network in the United States...

 and SmackDown. The Undisputed Champion appeared on both shows and defended against challengers from both brands. After SummerSlam
SummerSlam (2002)
SummerSlam was the fifteenth annual SummerSlam professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment . It took place on August 25, 2002 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York....

, Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar
Brock Edward Lesnar is an American mixed martial artist, actor and a former professional and amateur wrestler. He is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion and is ranked the No.5 Heavyweight in the world by Sherdog...

 announced that he had signed an exclusive contract with SmackDown, ignoring the claim to the title's number-one contendership by RAW's Triple H
Triple H
Paul Michael Levesque is an American professional wrestler, professional wrestling authority figure, WWE Executive Vice President of Talent and actor, better known by his ring name Triple H, an abbreviation of the ring name, Hunter Hearst Helmsley...

. RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff
Eric Bischoff
Eric Aaron Bischoff is an American entrepreneur, and professional wrestling booker and on-screen personality currently signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling...

 said that the Undisputed Title was thus very much disputed, and he awarded the World Heavyweight Championship
World Heavyweight Championship (WWE)
The World Heavyweight Championship is a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship in WWE. It is the world title of the SmackDown brand and one of two in WWE, complementing the WWE Championship of the Raw brand...

, in the form of the Big Gold Belt, to Triple H.

The World Heavyweight Championship moved to the WWE SmackDown brand in 2005, and has since moved between both brands on multiple occasions. As of September 2011, it is on the SmackDown brand.

See also

  • Championship belt
    Championship belt
    A championship belt is a large, extravagantly designed belt used primarily in combat sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling to signify the champions of the promotion or company, much like a cup or trophy in other sports...

  • Championship (professional wrestling)
    Championship (professional wrestling)
    A Championship or "title" in professional wrestling is a recognition promoted by professional wrestling organizations.Championship reigns are determined by professional wrestling matches, in which competitors are involved in scripted rivalries...

  • World Heavyweight Championship

External links