The original Big Gold Belt

The Big Gold Belt is a nickname given to a historic professional wrestling championship belt. It was originally designed on order by Jim Crockett Promotions to give to NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair. The belt has three gold plates and was the first to have a name plate into which the holder's name was etched. The original belt simply stated World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion without indicating any promotion.

The Big Gold Belt has represented and can refer to one or more of the following championships:

  • NWA World Heavyweight Championship (1986 – 1993)
    • In January 1991, the NWA title belt was extended to also represent the WCW title.
    • From March 21 to May 19, 1991, Tatsumi Fujinami was recognized as NWA Champion following a disputed victory over Ric Flair but Flair retained the belt as WCW Champion.
    • While champion, Flair was fired from World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in July 1991. The belt was "by default" the property of Flair as he had a US$ 25,000 deposit on it and he took the belt with him when Jim Herd refused to pay the deposit back.
    • Flair soon signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and wore the belt as the "Real World Champion".
    • Upon his signing, Flair was stripped of the title in September 1991 by the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). The title remained vacant until August 1992. WCW ultimately bought the belt from Flair and it represented the NWA title again but the belt was now owned by WCW.
  • WCW World Heavyweight Championship (1991)
    • In January 1991, the NWA belt was extended to represent both the NWA title and this newly created title, aside from the two months in which Fujinami was recognized as NWA Champion while Flair was WCW Champion. During this period the belt only represented the WCW title.
    • The belt represented the WCW Champion from the title's formation until Flair was fired in July 1991, when a new belt was created and a new champion was crowned.
  • WCW World Heavyweight Championship (1994 – 2001)
    • The belt represented this title again in 1994 when the WCW International World and WCW World titles were unified. The WCW World title belt and the WCW International World title were dropped.
    • After the WWF purchased WCW in 2001, this continued to serve as WCW's top title during the "Invasion" storyline. After the storyline ended in November the title was unified with the WWF Championship. Its official lineage subsequently ended with Chris Jericho being the final WCW Champion.
  • WWF/WWE "Undisputed" Championship (2001 – 2002)
    • Following the unification of the WWF and WCW World titles, the two belts were collectively used to represent this title until a new, single belt was introduced in April 2002.
  • World Heavyweight Championship (WWE) (2002 – 2013) (title reigns) (2002 – 2014) (physical belt)
    • The Big Gold Belt, which bore the name of no promotion, was originally used when this title was introduced in September 2002. It was replaced in March 2003 with a new, similar belt that incorporates the WWE logo at the top of the center plate. The title is currently retired as it was unified with the WWE Championship on December 15, 2013 to form the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the belt was still used for the unified title until the August 18, 2014 edition of Raw.
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