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Are Belts Just Props?

I Draw Wrestlers – Are Belts Just Props?

“I Draw Wrestlers – Are Belts Just Props?” is contributed by Chris Guest. Each week Chris will discuss a topic, and do a drawing that represents that subject matter. This is all posted to his You Tube channel (embedded video below), but we’ve reproduced it here in written form. He would love to hear your reviews on the artwork he produces. If you draw, send him a link through the comments on his You Tube Channel .  The best way to support him is by subscribing to his You Tube channel and connecting with him on Instagram at @IdrawWrestlers

Let’s Talk about Whether Belts are Just Props?

Certainly if you look at titles and their redesign it’s easy to see that they are a giant merchandising opportunity. From faithful reproductions to child’s play belts and figure accessories, they do make money. It stands to reason that the more changes made, the more children and die hard fans will want the newest versions.

Vince Russo

Belts for me though, are more than that. They signify meaning and that meaning has varied wildly in importance depending on the booking. Vince Russo may be blamed for killing WCW, which could be an overgeneralisation, but his view that “Belts are props” backed up by his booking certainly killed the importance of them in the WCW.

Sadly it’s no where near the most stupid thing Russo has come out with; but in 1999 he certainly backed up his theory with over 10 title changes and a whopping total of 19 champions in 2000! That also included Vince Russo and David Arquette as champions, so not only was it passed around like a hot potato, but by putting it on people who have no business being anywhere near it, devalued the belt and tarnished what it represented.

WWE Tag Titels

It’s not just WCW who have a penchant for driving titles into the ground, the WWE is equally as skilled. Look at the tag team belts. FTR (formerly the revival) left WWE because the tag team division was treated so poorly. When they told HHH their intention to leave, they were offered a title run which they said they weren’t even interested in. So poor was reputation of the WWE tag titles that FTR didn’t even want them! Surely the belt should signify the highest honour within a specific division? Clearly not.

The new day have beaten Demolition’s record title run, but do you really consider them to be the same tier as that legendary team? No and why?  Because Demolition were champions when the belts meant more. New Day could win them 10 times and you wouldn’t consider them better champions than the Steiners, Legion of Doom, the Hart Foundation and why? Because the title  currently means nothing and the competition for such titles is non existent.

Like I said, the belts have meaning attached, treat the division with little respect or worth, and it rubs off on the title belts.

Booking Can Easily Fix the Issues

The real shame is you can turn it around quickly, look at when John Cena defended the United States title week in week out – it suddenly became more important- It’s no wonder that AEW are copying this with their own mid card belt the TNT championship. Cody’s got a knack for bringing back titles into importance as he did exactly the same when he was intercontinental champion.

That time though he did it differently, he brought the design of the 80s early 90s belt back and guess what – nostalgia kicked in. Fans thought of Perfect, Michaels Bret Hart; even Stone Cold and the Rock. When fans saw that belt they  instantly forgot the dross of those interim years.

Look of the Belts

You see it’s not only the way they are booked, but the overall look  of the belt which creates the semantics for that belt. Spinner belt and Cena’s not too far away, but the spinner belt on CM punk? There’s a disconnect. It doesn’t fit. The big gold World championship belt – you think of Flair, the NwO, Hogan. They are far more than props as they symbolise eras in wrestling history.

NWA World HeavyWeight Championship

For me there is no better example than the NWA championship or as the current holder of the belt calls it Sweet Charlotte. So valuable was the belt that Flair had to put down a $25,000 deposit so that he didn’t abandon the belt, take it over to another company or just decide to keep the 10 pounds of gold on his mantlepiece. Can you imagine paying that sort of deposit and losing it? No wonder Flair carried it around everywhere with him! The NWA belt represents everything I’m talking about. It symbolised tradition and legitimacy.


It’s for that very same reason that a young Shane Douglas trashed it in favour of the Eastern Championship Wrestling title which of course led to Extreme Championship Wrestling. Douglas was trashing the belt, precisely because it wasn’t a prop, because it meant a lot more, to a lot of people and by doing that he positioned ECW as everything that was against tradition. If the belt had not meant anything, if it was just a prop, ECW would have not even got going!

The NWA belt then dwindled into near obscurity, but now is making a comeback. How is it doing that? By having a strong champion who has had a long run with the belt and when they talk about it on Power it’s discussed like it is the championship to have in all of wrestling!

What a Belt Means

What a belt means and what it’s worth amongst their peers is exactly why wrestlers want to win it in the first place, and why some are so keen not to lose it. Look at the Montreal screw job, I did a video all about it on I Draw Wrestlers Youtube page, but had McMahon not cared about that title, had Bret not cared about being screwed out of it then there wouldn’t have been an issue. Nobody would have ever been screwed; which is exactly why Russo is wrong when he refers to belts as props.

For some wrestlers the title can be a prop, for some companies they are used like props, but in those companies, those wrestlers aren’t well regarded, they aren’t well respected and it’s not those wrestlers you think of when you remember champions.

I’d love to know your thoughts on titles, and how they are positioned in wrestling. If you haven’t already be sure to subscribe to I Draw Wrestlers YouTube page and I’ll see you next week!

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