From The Garden to an attic: How the original WWE Title was lost for 50 years — and found

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May 17, 2013

WWECLASSICS.COM: How did you initially go about acquiring the title?

BROWN: The fact that it was coming together at the 50th anniversary of the WWE Title’s inception and Bruno Sammartino’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, it was just too important to pass up. I forwarded the story to Triple H and he said, “Go and get it.” That turned out to be a little more complicated than it initially seemed.

Read a conversation with The Game and Bruno

WWECLASSICS.COM: It had already changed hands by the time that article was published, right?

BROWN: The title was in the ownership of Dave Millican, who designs a lot of our championships. I got in touch with him and he let out a sigh, knowing that it was inevitable that someone from WWE would call him. It was made clear fairly quickly that it wasn’t going to be exchanged monetarily.

WWECLASSICS.COM: How did you get him to give it up?

BROWN: We had to give him one-of-a-kind WWE memorabilia.

WWECLASSICS.COM: This was all happening literally days before WrestleMania. Were you nervous you weren’t going to pull it off?

BROWN: We were cutting it very close, because we wanted to have it at both WrestleMania Axxess and at the WWE Hall of Fame to show Bruno. So I took the memorabilia items from Washington, D.C., took a couple of different planes into Memphis [Tenn.], traded the memorabilia for the title with Dave Millican in the airport and got back on the same plane, which led me to New Jersey to set up for Axxess.

WWECLASSICS.COM: Being able to actually hand the title to Bruno must have been a thrill.

BROWN: It was a great moment. Bruno said, “Make no mistake about it — this is definitely the real thing.” I think one of the most interesting things that came out of the conversation was Bruno saying when he won the title 50 years ago he looked at it and said, “How old is this title?” Just to know that it had that history before becoming the first WWE Title was fascinating.

Watch Triple H discussing the title with Bruno

WWECLASSICS.COM: It looks good for something that’s been around since Eisenhower was in office.

BROWN: It has actually held up really well. The construction is nice, the jewels are pretty much all still in there. There’s a certain type of rust on the back that indicates that it is well more than 50 years old. It’s a beautiful thing and it’s a great piece of history to show the WWE Universe.

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