The face plate is huge, wide. Wear it around your waist and it covers up much of your torso. Rock it on your shoulder and it means you mean business. It’s found a home near Pastor Troy, Rasheed Wallace but dined and went to bed with Ric Flair the most. It was split and made into it’s own thing and for a while was legitimized more than the belt which made its new company “that” important.

And now the World Heavyweight Title, considered in recent memory as the B-title, the belt given to the guys on the other show as a reward for hard work and sacrifice – is back in the hands of Ric Flair, now retired. John Cena effectively gave Flair back his initial legacy to the WWE last night on RAW and told him to “keep it”. Not in terms of disrespect but there’s a lot of history that ties into that.


Wrestling gets its rap for being about stars, about champions and “types” and gladiators and gifted Gods. It’s history becomes its own kind of mythology, matches for titles becoming more important than actual events. You want to close the show with a belt on the line because being “the man” is the ultimate summit in the sport. As long as the old iteration of the NWA existed, before Jim Crockett Promotions splintered into WCW, that belt was the standard bearer for every title in wrestling. The WWE Title had changed designs often, its winged edition probably its most recognizable and revered. No belt in wrestling however, is as recognizable as the Big Gold Belt.

It’s a belt, with a lineage that dips and weaves through two companies, WCW and the WWE where anyone of importance has held it. Sting, Vader, Flair, Hogan, Luger & Goldberg in WCW to The Rock, Jericho, Triple H, Booker T, Cena, Undertaker, Edge, CM Punk, Bryan in the E. The moment Cena grabbed hold of it for the final time after wrestling it away from Alberto Del Rio, the writing seemed to be on the wall.

Did he even need it? Wasn’t this Dolph Ziggler’s belt that wound up back with Del Rio thanks to a concussion? The E tried its best to maintain the legacy of the belt when they combined both of their titles to form one super title but even that seemed hokey. The last great moment for the belt, even under the duality of being worn along with the WWE title was Bryan, lifting it above his head amongst raining confetti at WrestleMania 30. It still remains the best visual the company has produced outside of those facial reactions to the Undertaker’s fabled “streak” ending on the same night.

When it was given to Triple H in 2002, after the WWE Undisputed Title was just made into being the WWE Title, it immediately gained a jump in importance. It may have not closed every major PPV but it was given credence to do so. It closed WrestleMania XX as part of the greatest three-way match ever witnessed, was defending and treated with more importance, almost as if we were back watching Flair and Steamboat duke it out for it. How Dusty Rhodes never seemed to overcome the Horsemen to actually win it or how every man, woman and child erupted in the Baltimore Arena when Sting won his first.

It didn’t seem that way near its end, an also ran belt that kept the underdogs satisfied and happy. It’s last solo moment of glory came with Ziggler cashing in his Money In The Bank contract to defeat Ziggler — to the joy of the crowd in New Jersey who thought he’d do it the night before at WrestleMania XXIX.

The WWE didn’t need two titles for both shows, the idea of an undisputed champion was passe the moment the brand extension died and things went back to a pre-Invasion era. The WWE title no longer has its cartoonish spinner identity, a far more stronger face plate and the identifiable wWE logo larger than ever on any belt before it. In a weird way, it had to be Cena to pass the belt back to Flair, seeing that Cena has been champion 15 times over, one less than Flair’s mythical 16 reigns as World Champion.

We have to say goodbye to arguably the prettiest and most intimidating belt in all of professional wrestling, because it’s back with the man who legitimized it and made it a thing, not only in the South but in the sport all together.