Credit goes to "A wrestling page that doesn't treat itself too seriously" on Facebook for that one. Now onto the topic.
Ever since they replaced the Power to PG Era John Cena spinner belt, which was just about universally hated outsidr of kids, half of teens and some select adults, it seems they've had a bad habit of just blatantly rehashing the current old class fiitball ring inspired belt whenever they make a new title. All while trying to get you excited for the same old shit over and over regardless of how disappointing, gaudy and underwhelming it looks. Like The WWE itself!
First came it's 2013 incarnation. It had the old 2002-2013 WWE logo and the word "Champion" in bold font. (which really that logo should have been discontinued by 2006.) Nothing special, not that pretty, but hey it doesn't spin right? Spinnng was the only thing you hated about it right? Right...?
For as much as I got sick of and started to hate the spinner belt and it's over all ugliness even when they made it stop spinning for some champions, (the spinner gimmick was actually it's saving grace and the only cool thing about it personally, though I liked the spinning US title better,) I remember not liking this gaudy old football championship ring inspired belt at all. The gold was too stained to the point of looking copper, the gaudy color scheme reminded me of my dad's old Masonic Freemason Lodge awards and tobacco pipes, I disliked the lack of gold on the center plate, it's just not that good. If anything it makes Cena's belt look better it's that ugly. But the custom current title holder rounds on the side plates were nice.
But when the belt was re-unified with the "big gold belt" World Heavyweight Championship, (which should have happened in 2008,) they unveiled it's brand new look in 2014! As the same old shit with the new logo in a bigger size and way smaller font saying "World Heavyweight Championship." Exciting right...? T_T
Basically less gold, more stones, even more exposed strap, just look at the pretty logo. Kinda sucks the magic out of that "big historic reveal" from the previous year when they would change the logo within that time and have to update the belt the following year huh? I kinda like seeing the leather exposed in the center plate, I'd just like to see far less of it and see much more gold for the center plate like a proper world title. Who cares about leather when you can have a big golden shield screaming to the world "I am THE champion" right? Just an odd design choice.
This belt remains today as your standard WWE championship, but unlike any belt in company history, the belt has layed eggs. And they've hatched in 2016. Because on Wrestlemania, they unveiled the newly reborn WWE Women's Championship! ...As a palate swap of the world title... Oh boy how exciting... D:
I was underwhelmed when I saw this title. I kind if found the belt to be lazy and kinda disrespectful at first with the notion that they didn't want to design an original title, just palate swap the boy's toy and give it to the girls. Like the sexist as fuck Queezy Bake version of the Easy Bake back in the early to mid 2000's. But the real reason why they made the Women's title a palate swap of the World title, gave this a free pass when the eye rolling disappointment stopped. They made it a women's version if the men's title, because they wanted to book the women on the same level as the men (eventually) and that I can respect. That they're finally gonna start honoring women's wrestling. I actually think the belt looks better on a white strap than a blackish brown bible cover colored strap, and the sparkly red in center makes the logo pop out more as long as it's just the center. I'll take an homage to another belt over a pink and silver Bratz doll butterfly belt and seeing the more honorable title literally comically torn in two and held by a green sloppy copy of The Beautiful People any day of the week. I'm still just not a fan of the current world title design at all though.
But little did we expect the hilarity of what was to come. At Summer Slam 2016, they unveiled the red headed one legged bald headed step child with a kickstand, known as the WWE Universal Championship. Excited yet...? *facepalm*
If the Women's Championship and unified World Heavyweight Championship weren't lazy rehashes enough, this one takes the cake. At least the last two had reasons. The world title had to be a rehash of the last WWE title, because they were banking on it being THE title to strive for. The women's belt was a palate swap, because they wanted to sell the idea that maybe women's wrestling isn't gonna be a comical, no effort, sexy spank material side show made to reel in the frat boys and horny tweens anymore, and maybe they'll start to respect women's wrestling as a just as viable product as men's wrestling. Those belts had excuses. This? This is just a joke in comparison. I usually like red strap titles. The red strap NWA titled looked great.
But this WWE Universal title is ugly! It looks like a fruit roll up with gold and diamonds stuck to it! What did someone spill some cherry Kool Aid in the white dye? It's like some kid made this in the WWE 2K Creatoon Suite. Even in storyline it's a joke, because it's meant to be a wannabe world title so the Raw guys have a reason to compete beyond a paycheck. Which may be brilliant in kayfabe but it's still an assault on the senses. Daniel Bryan was mocking it unscripted on that Smackdown Live post show thing for the name "WWE Universal Champion." The name "Universal Champion" may not be too bad since CMLL has had a Universal title for years, it's their premier belt to strive for and carry, but at least it looks good In fact it's one of the most gorgeous things you'll ever see.
The WWE Universal title however? Good lord it's ugly! How can the best part about the Women's title be the worst part of this one? I dub the WWE Universal Championship, the Ronald McDonnald Participation Championship. This will be a black eye on the company they're sure to laugh at on a countdown special when they inevitably unify the titles sooner or later. I can't see this lasting that long because god this is laughably fugly.
So what's next WWE? Will the tag titles just become green and blue strap palate swaps of the world title? Will the Intercontinental belt become just the world title on a yellow strap? Will the US title become a star spangled banner skinned strap edition of the world title with silver instead of gold? Will all of NXT's titles eventually just be palate swaps of the NXT championship? This is ridiculous! You're better than this.
I will admit the Smackdown Tag Team Titles do look better in silver than Raw's copper, but oy vey this is lazy! Especially the Smackdown Women's belt. It's a rehash of a rehash! How laaazy can you get? Oooo yeah. How laazy can you get? Yeaah yeah.
The irony about the fact they're rehashing the same two belt designs over and over, is that with the first incarnation of the cureent WWE title, The Rock came out and said "The WWE championship should never look like a toy." But now that all the main roster titles are palate swapped copies if each other, it looks like a toy line! What with the minimalist so easy a kid could draw it design and the interchangeable rounds (the only good part about it) on the side plates. They're basically Power Rangers in belt form. I've seen more creativity out of fan made Sonic original characters on deviantArt.
I'm not entirely opposed to a toy like gimmick on a title, in fact I have liked some. Like the spinner on Cena's US belt, (though most of you might strongly disagree with me)
the license plate on the WWE New York Hardcore championship,
the real working doors on the Dragongate Open The Dream Gate title,
and in fact the specialty Hardcore titles, the Open The Dream Gate title and Cena's US title are personal favorite gimmick titles of mine. But what gives them a free pass is the all around design and purpose. Cena's US belt was meant to be a cool gimmick on a belt that let's face facts here, is a joke in the WWE. And it looked good. JBL's hardcore title, was a spin on a joke title. And the Open The Dream Gate title isn't a joke belt what so ever, but it's freaking gorgeous and it's gimmick is centered around showcasing the current champion, and it's from a company that doesn't always take itself too seriously until the bigger more serious main angles anyway. When the whole belt looks completely like a toy and it isn't recognized as a joke title however, like the WWE Diva's title and each of these palate swaps, it doesn't look honorable. Just cheap and borderline lazy.
It makes sense for an upstart indie company to do this. Or even make edits and palate swaps of other past companies. For example, ROH in it's virgining years.
From 2002-2008, ROH had to copy paste the same titles over and over, because that was all they could afford. They had as shoestring a budget as you could imagine for a fastly growing third party. It took them a while to travel to more areas outside the tri-state area besides Chicago Ridge IL (which I frequented as a teen and young adult) or Dayton OH, because Cary Silkin and Gabe Sapolsky were penny pinchers. They wanted to make sure the talent and crew could feed their families and pay rent. That and I guess the founders really liked the mold. So of course, their early titles were identical.
And hell that mold was inspired by the old UWF title!
In fact UWA Hardcore up in Canada (great promotion by the way) had their own mock title carried by the old Cleaveland All-Pro Wrestling and PWO tag partner to "M Dogg 20" Matt Cross, (AKA Son Of Havoc from Lucha Underground,) and the PWO and Prime Wrestling mentor and tag partner turned rival of Johnny Gargano, Josh Prohibition! I couldn't find a clean enough picture but here he is goofing off with it.
And it makes sense for small town, rarely travelling outside of their home city local indies do to it, because they can barely afford to pay their own talent much less look presentable. Let's not forget how many promotions have copied the "big gold belt" late 90's WCW to 2000's WWE World Heavyweight title. From blatantly carrying the replica with nothing added or replaced, like again PWO,
(with Matt Cross being it's first ever winner,) to taking most of it's mold but altering it slightly like Billy Corgan's first experiment as a promoter, Resistance Pro.
Even TNA has copied certain aspects of the WCW/WWE "big gold."
More so with the current design.
But the reason why the indies get a free pass at identical belts and rehashes, is that they eventually save up and evolve with brand new belts. Like again, ROH. Their belts are unique now! Ever since their HDNet days. With that era having my favorite titles in ROH history.
(despite using altered versions of classic WWF molds for the tag championships and altered generic molds Chikara used themselves. I still love them though.)
And ROH was able to update them into something completely different again, after selling to Sinclair! Even if the current belts are kinda gaudy too in some ways. I'm honestly surprised they didn't rehash. All they needed to do is update the logos on the HDNet titles. They can be worse though, and I do plan in getting the replicas.
Even ROH's ex rival CZW can afford elaborate titles. They went from dishonorable replica titles like this,
to beautiful original titles like this!
So if all of these indie to number two tier leagues can be creative enough to make elaborate easily distinguishable titles, why can't WWE?
Those promotions had legitimate reasons to rehash or even steal designs. They were cheap. The WWE has no excuse. The WWE, is a multi billion dollar global empire! You have dozens of belt designers, and all you can do is copy paste the same gaudy post-spinner design over and over again? This is bad design. For the replica belts, it makes it harder for parents who aren't wrestling fans to buy their kids the right belts as gifts. They likely won't read the bottom of the belt or pay attention to the strap color, they'll just look at the logo and say "Eh fuck it it's the WWE title that'll shut 'em up" and likely buy their kid the wrong title unless the kid is with them. Now little jimmy's gonna be walking around dressed as Roman Reigns carrying the Women's belt for Halloween, and get teased by passers by who watch WWE and at school by his friends and bullies. Lazy poor design. Unless they'll make the straps mix and matchable which would be a pretty cool toy gimmick.
Instead of rehashing the same belt ad nausem with a different name and strap color, why not go for more unique designs, but with a similar signature design loosely tying them together like a family? For example, (and I can't believe I'm gonna give credit to this over hyped joke that if it never airs will be destined to be another XWF) Global Force Wrestling?
They may not be pretty either, but what they do have is a form of unity. They all have the logo. They all have dragons and eagles on them. But they're of different sizes, and of different sizes and mostly different designs and shapes. Even different grades of metal! They are linked by theme and company, but are largely still as different as can be in terms of design. You can tell them apart. Do that!
Unify the World and Universal titles as just the World Heavywight Championship. Redesign it to have a big elaborate face plate the size of Brock Lesnar's belly, with a medium sized WWE logo near the top, a round spot in the center for those awesome interchangeable rounds, a king's crown on top of the WWE logo, an eagle clutching the round, it's head staring at you below the WWE logo, it's wings extending the far top corners with a small globe below each wing, world flags rimming the left and right edges of the plate, men grappling below those globes, and the bottom edge taken straight from the current belt with the words "World Heavyweight Champion" on it. Make this a mash up between the Undisputed title of 2002, the beloved eagle belt of the late 80's through mid 90's and the big green and gold belt that Hulk Hogan took off of The Iron Shiek. If all else fails, take inspiration from the IWGP Heavyweight and CMLL Universal titles.
For the Women's Championship, make it sort similar even down to size roughly, but closer to the Fabulous Moola's original women's title. Replace the king's crown with a queen's crown if course, squish the whole center plate a little to be more of an oval than a circle to pay homage to the old WWF Women's title, shrink most of the eagle but the wings and make them extend a little beyond the plate to make the shape a bit different almost like the TNA Knockouts title, replace the men grappling with women grappling of course, give the bottom a more elegant gold ribbon design saying "Women's Champion" in elegant font, and to evolve from the current design, paint most of it sparkly red except for the eagle, crown, globes, logo etc. Whatever isn't a central feature if the center plate will be red, while everything else on and about it will be bright gold with diamonds. This way it itn't a complete rehash, just an homage with the same message as the current Women's title. When all else fails, take more inspiration from Fabulous Moolah's belt
Give these belts three areas for those cool interchangeable rounds telling you who the current champs are. The middle of the center plate, and the middle of the side plates. And for some wrestlers, give them a certain gimmick. Like John Cena gets spinners, The Undertaker gets glow in the dark T cross symbols, Ember Moon gets a glowing blood moon, Sasha Banks gets extra shiny bling with a mirror coat job, No Way Jose gets disco balls and laser lights, I'm just giving examples here. Something cute for the kids and toy collectors to play with on the replica belts. Everything else is up to you.
For the Tag Team titles, base the design mainly off the old tag titles you had until 2002, but with a small roman helmet on either title, looking different ways for both belts, (one has it on the right looking left, the other has it on the left looking right,) and with the three interchangeable rounds like the Women's and World titles. And with the eagles also looking different directions. Maybe interchange the paint job too like on the NXT Tag Team Championships.
Also, make a Woman's Tag Team Title rendition of that for the Women's division, but without being a complete rehash. Just a spin on them that isn't a palate swap.
As for US, eh... Just unify it with the Intercontinental title.
And the Intercontinental title, do not change it. It's perfect.
For the Cruiserweight title, just bring out the old design from when you last had it. Easy on the eyes.
And make every main roster WWE title a pass port between brands. That way you can build up angles for both rosters to drive up Network views and PPV buyrates for PPV events.
This will really inspire people to wanna become WWE Superstars and compete for these belts. Because the elaborate belts are the best remembered and most honored among fans, talent and even promoters what with all the Undisputed and "big gold" pretenders. It's what you promised in 2013 right? Belts that inspire people and don't look like toys?