Top 15 Most Unusual Championships In Wrestling History
The crowning moment in the career of any wrestler is when he or she achieves championship gold. That shiny, sparkling title represents years of hard work. Forever, that wrestler will appear in history books, as well as thousands of photos holding their newly-won prize.
In the months or years preceding the event, that precious championship grail has been crafted meticulously. It goes from blueprint to belt under the watchful eye of its creator, who strives for perfection. Because in many ways, the iconic image of champions features titles that are just as recognizable as the men who wore them.
In some cases, however, the gift of gold doesn’t always glitter the same way. Here’s a list of titles that were too strange, unique, or complicated… even for the squared circle. It’s time to test your will to be weird, by taking a look at the 15 Most Unusual Championships in Wrestling History.
- Another Man’s Treasure
The most famous belt on this list is also the ugliest. Part prop, part trainwreck, the Hardcore Championship was basically just a shellacked version of the WWE’s famous winged eagle World title belt.
Originally awarded to Mick Foley as a sort of odd gift from Vince McMahon, the trashy looking belt has a similarly strange history. While it originally fit Foley’s odd, boiler-dwelling Mankind character, it inevitably became a joke. Always up for grabs thanks to it’s “24/7 rule,” the title was hot-potatoed to everyone from women to giants to senior citizens.
The belt was eventually- and thankfully- retired in But that’s not before it was tossed around the company like common trash. And quite frankly, that’s exactly what it looked like.
- More Than A Mouthful
The Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship featured some of the finest wrestling ever witnessed in North America. It’s champions were typically mat technicians, with the title itself essentially created for the legendary Dynamite Kid.
Following in Kid’s lead were superstars like Bret and Owen Hart, so there’s no doubt the list of alumni for the championship is impressive. There’s only one real problem: It’s name was way too long.
The very complicated moniker for the title often left fans, journalists and even the own company’s employees confused. Many times it would be referred to as the ‘jr. heavyweight title’, or people would leave out the word ‘Commonwealth’… suggesting that the title originated from the UK, instead of Western Canada. And, let’s not even talk about how many wrestlers fumbled over it during interviews.
In the case of this tricky title, it may have been better for promoter Stu Hart if he had picked a name that actually fit on viewer’s television screens.
- The Wonder Twins Title
This is another example of a dark time in WWE history. At a time when female wrestlers were still considered ‘Divas,’ many of the intertwining storylines were involving the personal relationships of the roster’s women.
Michelle McCool and Layla were teaming as LayCool when they shared the title. But, unlike co-titleholders or defending by using The Freebird Rule, the two ladies split the championship in half, physically. Not only did they butcher the belt, but they fashioned it in the shape of a BFF charm, FURTHER degrading its value.
Today, the WWE’s female roster is given an opportunity to showcase their talents and the Womens’ championships are given as much respect as their male counterparts. But in the time of the literally split title, it was merely nothing more than a prop for a joke.
- The North American Foldout
Mid-South wrestling promoter Bill Watts always liked to pit big guys against each other in the ring. He loved to pit two grapplers who looked like they could legitimately hold their own. Bold and bad names like Dick Slater, Paul Orndorff and The Junkyard Dog all captured the crown, which was considered a steppingstone for many wrestlers’ careers.
Winning the title might be one thing, but holding it was another. That wasn’t necessarily because of the rugged competition, but also because the belt itself was gigantic. In what can only be described as diorama of metal and leather, the physical championship itself resembled a foldout of the Sunday paper.
When a smaller wrestler, like Terry Taylor, held the belt, he looked like a midget trying ti drive a Buick. The cartoonish size of the title made it seem very important, but in the end, it’s awkward appearance didn’t stack up with the more stylized belts of other federations.
Changes in Watts’ organization led to the North American Championship being renamed (and streamlined) as the UWF Heavyweight title in 1986.
- What Money CAN Buy
The WWE of the 1980s was a universe where just about anything can happen, so why wouldn’t a frustrated contender just claim a championship of their own? It doesn’t seem that far-fetched does it?
That’s precisely what Ted DiBiase did when he ‘purchased’ the Million Dollar Belt in 1989. At the time, the move was unprecedented. There had bounties and even an instance where a wrestler tried to sell his championship to another wrestler. But, DiBiase actually went out, and in storyline, got one that was custom-made to order.
But that wasn’t what really caught fans’ attention. It was the stunning appearance and gaudy-but-beautiful arrangement of sparkling stones that forced the audience to take notice.
The Million Dollar Belt would lay the foundation for prop belts and gimmick championships that would follow. It was even defended as a sort of unsanctioned title in the company. It even resurfaced 20 years later, when DiBiase’s son, Ted Jr, began wearing it for a time on WWE television.