Happy 30th Birthday to The Big Gold Belt!

Often imitated, but never duplicated

Original NWA/WCW World Heavyweight Championship (Via @TheBigGoldBelt)

On February 14th, 1986, Ric Flair revealed the newly designed NWA World Heavyweight Championship title around his waist at Battle of the Belts II. The “Ten Pounds of Gold” NWA world title had been replaced with the “Big Gold Belt”, and in his interview before his main event match, Flair made sure to emphasize the fact that the new championship was made up of “$35,000 of gold, silver, diamonds and rubies”:

Ric Flair debuts The Big Gold Belt during an interview with Buddy Colt – Battle of the Belts II [February 14th, 1986]
The NWA World Heavyweight Championship would eventually be recognized as the WCW World Heavyweight Championship once Jim Crockett Promotions was bought out by Ted Turner and over the title’s history, Big Gold would find itself in the hands of many different owners (some less deserving than others). Over the years, Big Gold would be dented, scratched, painted over, re-cast, re-leathered, re-molded, re-branded and eventually retired officially by the WWE, but the design will always be seen as wrestling fans as the true symbol of excellence. The classic design and instantaneous visual connection of Big Gold Belt to a CHAMPION even helped it cross over into other sports where football and basketball stars would pose with replica titles after their biggest victories:

Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews Presents Aaron Rodgers with a Big Gold Belt Replica – SuperBowl XLV [February 6th, 2011]
Detroit Pistons’ Rasheed Wallace with Replica Big Gold Belt [November 2nd, 2004]
Happy 30th birthday, Big Gold Belt. Enjoy your early retirement with the full knowledge that even though you’re no longer on TV, your undeniable reign as the greatest championship title of all time will never be contested or threatened.

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