Since 1988 the WWE has only debuted five different WWE Championship belts. That’s roughly one every five years.
Following The Rock debuting the new WWE Championship belt recently on Raw, I felt this was the perfect time to look back on the history of the WWE Championship belt and see how the design has progressed and how each belt was debuted.
The Winged Eagle Belt Debuts: 1988
The first appearance of the famed Winged Eagle design was on Feb. 5, 1988 on WWF’s The Main Event at Indianapolis’ Market Square Arena. That night’s main event match was a rematch of the WrestleMania III Main Event between WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant.
Following a distraction by Virgil, Andre was able to pull out an improbable victory over the champion Hogan in a shocking moment. Andre only held the belt for around 45 seconds before presented his newly won belt to The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase.
Dibiase would have the belt taken from him, as he was not the true victor of the belt and the title was vacated which set up the WWF Championship tournament at WrestleMania IV, which Macho Man Randy Savage would go on to win.
The belt would later be held by WWE Legends such as Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Yokozuna, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, The Undertaker and The Ultimate Warrior.
The Big Eagle Has Landed: 1998
The Winged Eagle design lasted a decade until Stone Cold Steve Austin won his first WWF Championship at WrestleMania XIV against Shawn Michaels on March 29, 1998. The following night on Raw, Vince McMahon presented the new champion with my personal favorite belt, the Big Eagle.
The Big Eagle, or the Attitude Era belt, was one of the more prestigious of all-time. This belt was also held by the likes of The Rock, HHH, Mick Foley, The Undertaker, Vince McMahon, The Big Show and Chris Jericho.
This belt was a defining icon of the most popular era in professional wrestling and instantly captures that moment for me when I see it. Other than Stone Cold’s Smoking Skull belt, the Big Eagle was around the waist of every Attitude Era champion.
The Undisputed Belt Finds a Home Around the Waist of HHH: 2002
The Big Eagle belt’s reign only last from 1998-2002. Following the influx of WCW stars during the invasion angle, the two company’s belts were unified by Chris Jericho after defeating both Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock on the same night. During Jericho’s reign as the first-ever Undisputed WWF Champion he carried both the WCW World Heavyweight Championship belt and the WWF Championship belt to the ring.
Following HHH’s WrestleMania XVIII defeat of Jericho, Ric Flair and the Undertaker presented HHH with the Version 1 Undisputed WWF Championship belt in April of 2002.
This belt would see a multitude of versions and sizes but the overall design stayed similar. Following the brand separation the Big Gold Belt was returned as Raw’s belt and the Undisputed Belt was now simply the WWE Championship belt.
This title design would be held by the likes of The Rock, Hollywood Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Kurt Angle, The Big Show, Eddie Guerrero, JBL, John Cena and Brock Lesnar.
John Cena Debuts the Spinner Belt: 2005
The Undisputed WWE Championship belt design had a short shelf life from only 2002-2005. This was when John Cena defeated JBL at WrestleMania XXI to win his first WWE Championship. Shortly after on April 11, 2005, Cena debuted the infamous Spinner Belt to usher in a new era of WWE.
The Spinner Belt would eventually be made not to spin, but the name stuck. There were different versions of the belt; Edge had a custom Rated-R belt made and The Miz modified the belt during his reign as WWE Champion to have the WWE logo upside down so it looked like an M.
The Spinner Belt’s reign lasted eight years and was held by Edge, RVD, Randy Orton, HHH, Jeff Hardy, Batista, Sheamus, The Miz, Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio, CM Punk and lastly, The Rock.
The Big Logo Debuted by the Rock: 2013
The Spinner belt had a long reign and was only recently replaced on the Feb. 18, 2013 edition of Monday Night Raw.
Following The Rock’s title defense against CM Punk at the 2013 Elimination Chamber, The Rock debuted the new “Big Logo” belt, saying that the Spinner Belt looked like a toy.
The new belt has been compared to a Super Bowl ring due to its look, and I can’t say that I disagree. There hasn’t been a name that has stuck to the new belt yet, but I like the “Big Logo” name. Has a certain ring to it.
The Rock will defend the “Big Logo” belt at WrestleMania XXIX on April 7 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey against the 2013 Royal Rumble winner, John Cena.