When it comes to promotions, there’s a lot to be said for investing in an attractive and unique championship belt. Women Superstars Uncensored unveiled its new World Title strap on Saturday at Queen and King of the Ring and made a big deal about how everybody would like to hold it – and quite rightly, as it was very pretty. In the end, it left in the hands of LuFisto, who will make a big deal of how important it is to her. It’s a bit more difficult to do that when the belt you’re holding is a bit of an ugly duckling.
The old WSU World Title belt was a cumbersome lump. It looked like it was picked off the rack and had the letters “WSU” put in the central disc – and it wasn’t even the company logo. The belt which came before it was much nicer and was properly branded, while its replacement had the word “heavyweight” in it, which just made it feel like it was a men’s title belt. Hopefully the other WSU belts are changed in the future, as they aren’t very attractive either.
Another belt which has undergone a makeover in 2014 is the NWA World Women’s Championship, currently held by Barbi Hayden. The new one is the appropriate size for the average size of a woman who will be wearing it, is a nice design and feels like a quality piece of hardware. It is about a third of the size of the old strap, which was utterly gigantic and could barely be worn by its previous titleholders.
The previous two examples are a strong argument that bigger is not necessarily always better. It also highlights the importance of getting a belt custom designed to make it more exclusive and valuable for your promotion – or body, in the case of the NWA. It’s why a specially-created belt will always feel more special than a replica belt which has been customised or a title which you can pick out of a list on offer.
I remember when I got the chance to hold the SHIMMER Championship. It felt like a special moment because of the design of the title, and also because of how much it weighed. It felt like there was some serious money invested into it.
The great thing about all the main women’s promotions in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia is that they all have very nice-looking belts. SHIMMER, NCW Femmes Fatales, SHINE, WSU, Absolute Intense Wrestling (who also recently replaced their title for the better), Fierce Females, Stardom, JWP, Ice Ribbon, Diana, Pro Wrestling EVE… the list goes on and on. The next to upgrade their design could possibly be Bellatrix – as while their belt is a traditional design for Britain, the promotion has expanded into more of a European (or possibly global) brand.
This might all seem like it’s superfluous stuff and it should just be the wrestling that matters but the wrestling business is a show and there is more to it than that in-ring aspect. That’s why we have lights, video walls, entrance music and wrestlers investing in custom gear – as we discussed with designer Vicky Bell last week. Considering that a title belt will likely feature on posters and flyers designed to tempt people into coming to your show, why not make it look like you have some money in the coffers, even if you may not?
That’s why I have to voice my support for promotions investing in the aesthetic aspect of their production. Perception is reality – if it purports itself to be important, people will grow to believe that it is.
– Lee Burton
– Photos by WSU, Gilda Pasquil
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