“This is a championship title. This is not a belt.” –CM Punk on Jimmy Kimmel Live
It’s human nature to want to be the best. #1. Top dog. Big man. You know what I mean. Whether it is at a simple game of checkers or something complex like performing open-heart surgery, the competitive nature is in all of us and can never be taken away. However, in the world these days, you have to show that you are the best. You just can’t tell people that you are the best. You have to possess some important object to show people and rub in their faces that you are the best. Whether it be a ribbon, certificate, or even a trophy, everyone loves the fact that they have something that says in words that they are the one on top. Nowadays, instead of just a dinky ribbon or a small trophy, some people have done this by buying wrestling championship title belts. It seems like every day, more and more people are walking around with these belts because you can’t wear a trophy unless you put it on a chain. Even then, that’s stretching it.
Here’s the problem, though. The championship title belt craze has gotten so out of hand, many people just buy them for the hell of it just to fulfill that need inside. But what are they signifying they are the best of? Life? Sorry, not buying it. Being cool? Not buying that either. In the end, these people buy them just so they can stand out in a crowd or just because they want it. And to me, that is simply not good enough. You are going to take these beautiful pieces of greatness and make a mockery of them? You are going to take the most coveted prizes in sports entertainment and cheapen them? Not on my watch. Therefore, in order to put a stop to this problem for good, I have devised 5 simple rules to determine who is qualified to have one of these special title belts and who is not. So, if you don’t meet these rules and you have one, I hope you saved the receipt.
Rule #1: Only CHAMPIONS deserve to have a championship title belt.
This is a given rule, obviously and it is something that has garnered steam in the past couple of years. The first team to embrace this concept was the Detroit Pistons when they won the NBA Championship in 2004. Rasheed Wallace bought all of the players replica World Heavyweight Championship title belts with nameplates. That must have cost a pretty penny. But the man to really bring the belt back into the limelight was Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. After he won the Super Bowl, Clay Matthews presented him with the same title belt when he received the Super Bowl trophy up there on the stage. It is fitting since, throughout the whole season, Rodgers was motioning the title belt around his waist after big plays. He did it so much, even ESPN had to get Triple H to comment on it. Even David Letterman gave him a WWE Championship title belt! And, after the Dallas Mavericks won their first NBA Championship in 2011, Shawn Marion got on the bandwagon by making a custom WWE Championship title belt with the Mavericks logo on the inside. It goes without saying that only champions deserve a belt like that. And that doesn’t include you, Clinton Portis. I know you got one in 2003 after scoring five touchdowns in one game. Not good enough, buddy. Take it back.
Rule #2: Only DEVOTED WRESTLING FANS deserve to have a championship title belt.
Again, another given. If you are a devoted wrestling fan like the rest of the Swoggle Squad and me, you know that having a championship title belt is the ultimate memorabilia to have. Whether it is the large, golden World Heavyweight Championship title or the creative John Cena spinning United States Championship title (which I actually have), when you have the title belt around your waist or on your shoulder, for that instant, you are one of them. You are a champion. It’s like a hidden dream, and whenever we can act like it came true, we can’t help but smile. And I don’t know about anyone else, but when I see someone sporting the same belt and they are not even a big enough fan of wrestling to tell me who Cody Rhodes, Dusty Rhodes, or who any Rhodes is for that matter, that just pisses me off. I mean, I am not a big soccer fan. So it’s not like I am going to buy a AC Milan jersey when I can’t even pronounce the name on the back of it. You catch my drift? So unless you can tell me who “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeated at Wrestlemania 14 to win his first WWF Championship, even if you need a freaking hint, you don’t deserve a championship title belt. By the way, it was Shawn Michaels, stupid.
Rule #3: If you have a championship title belt, make sure it is for a reason that NO ONE ELSE utilizes.
Now, if you don’t fit into the first two rules, here is your loophole. If you purchase a championship title belt, you don’t even have to purchase it for those first two reasons as long as you have a creative idea to go along with it. Like I said, having a belt like that signifies being a champion. So, why not have a championship title belt to signify just what type of champion you are? There is no greater example right now than Long Island Iced Z himself, Zack Ryder. I mean, the toy Internet Championship title was creative and then he blew everyone out of the water with the authentic one. That’s the best example. Don’t buy a WWF Intercontinental Championship title and call yourself the “People’s Champ,” Paul Wall. It has been done before (if you smell what I am cooking). I mean, I even took a toy WWE Championship title spinner belt and decked it out with Florida Gator stuff for a football game. What was the result? Everyone loved it. I was on “College Gameday.” And Erin Andrews wanted a picture with it. Yep.. Erin Andrews. And if you don’t know who she is, what the hell are you waiting for?
Rule #4: If you put a NAMEPLATE on your championship title belt, you better utilize that belt.
This rule has some reasoning behind it. While actually purchasing a wrestling championship title belt is enough, spending the extra twenty dollars to purchase the customized nameplate to add to it takes it a step further. When you do this, you are showing the whole world that you are taking pride and ownership. You LOVE it and, if you could, you would wear it everywhere. With that being said, if you have a championship title belt with a customized nameplate and you do not utilize it to the fullest extent, you are doing it wrong. And the one example that comes to my mind is sports columnist Bomani Jones. On the ESPN television show “Around the Horn,” he features a belt when he wins that has the customized name plate “Bo Jones.” There’s only one problem. He rarely wins! He only has a winning percentage of 25%! Plus, he’s not even on the show every day! If he would just have the belt with him and show it every time he is on the show, it would do a lot better in justifying that horrible nameplate. Hell, if he wore it to any interviews or press conferences he would take part in, I’m sure it would give him an edge. Bo? Please. Sir, I know Bo and you are no Bo. And I’m talking Bo Jackson. Who the fuck else?! Now HE deserves a championship title belt.
Rule #5: If you can’t handle the HEAT, don’t buy a championship title belt.
However, with the joy of having a championship title belt on your shoulder comes the ridicule. It’s like one cannot exist without the other. People will be wanting to know why you spent so much money on something so stupid. People will be wanting to know just why you wanted to have something that looks so fake and something that is not important to basic everyday life. And you’ll just say, “You don’t understand.” And they won’t because it is a passion. It is what we love to watch and do. It’s why football fanatics wear their favorite team’s jersey with their name on the back. It’s why baseball lovers purchase top-quality baseball hats of their favorite team. Because in the end, it’s what they love and they wish that, in some alternate universe, they could be a part of it. They dream that if the cards played out right, they could be the football player or baseball All-Star. And we dream we could be WWE Champion. So, in the end, even though the wrestling championship title belt craze is all about being the best, the true reason why we loyal fans purchase them is to be more of a part of our passion. Our love. Our boyhood dream.