Wrestling Belts And The Fans
Wrestling has a certain drama to it, especially professional wrestling, and wrestling belts are the ultimate symbol of that drama. While every association has their own belt, and some even have different belts for different events, the wrestling belt is considered the mark of a champion, and is worn to not only advertise the worthiness of the fighter but to also act as a rallying post for the fans of that fighter. The belt is the ultimate prize that everyone fights for, and thus it has a value far exceeding its mere financial value.
The first belt was given as a prize by King George III in 1810 to Tom Cribb after his bare-knuckle boxing match with Tom Molineaux. Since then a number of sports, such as boxing, racing, and even golf have had their own belts, but wrestling belts seem to have attracted the most notoriety. The belt makes the most sense for a number of sports as it can be easily worn into the ring, decorated to any degree desired, and removed easily for the event for itself; this gives it a little-added drama, especially when the champion carries his belt over his head for all to see. This makes it as much a rallying point as a flag, and thus excites all that sees it.
While most sports have used the same design for all of their events, the WWE was an exception. For most of its history, the WWE has had a new design created for each of its events, with different belts for men and women. However, in recent years it has started using the same design for all of its events regardless of the gender of the winner. While this does make certification more important, especially for belts from important and/ or popular matches, it does offer a certain uniformity to the belts as well as making the older belts seem a little more important to collectors.
While most wrestling belts are relatively inexpensive to create and replicas can be had for anywhere from $10 to a few under, the original belts can be major investments in their own right; the Million Dollar Belt is arguably the most valuable belt, with a value of $238,000, even though it was never fully sanctioned as a championship belt. It cost $125,000 to create. An individual belt’s value can rise and lower depending on the fame or infamy of its holder, as well as the importance of the event, but that usually applies solely to replicas; the belts themselves are rarely put up for sale.
All told, wrestling belts have become the symbol of the sport itself as much as the drama and excitement. The belts are just a symbol of the physical side of the sport and as such have their own value. Some of them have a long history and the fans have long memories; this makes having even a replica of a belt a big thing, and definitely has the possibility of creating a cherished heirloom for a family of fans.