The making of the new WWE Title: How the WWE Championship was reinvented in 540 days

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February 19, 2013

The bike shop created a metal “W” that was both lightweight and durable, but it still needed to be turned into a championship. So OCC sent their finished product to Dave Millican, who set about intricately etching WWE logos into the title’s leather strap and carefully affixing 228 gems to its plates. When he was finished with this painstaking process, The Rock had a new WWE Championship — which makes this all sound a lot easier than it was.

More than $50,000 went into the preparation and production of this title as the creative team struggled with Internet leaks, impractical ideas and a proposed WrestleMania XXVIII unveiling that didn’t come true. The renders of far-out ideas and rejected concepts that Stanski revealed to us spoke to both the staggering creativity and unthinkable man hours that went into all this.

Photos of rejected WWE Title concepts

At one point, the championship was meant to feature a massive, three-dimensional eagle grasping onto the central WWE logo with its talons. And those two symmetrical gold bars on the sides of the finished title? Those are inspired by an earlier mockup that was offset by miniature rings — a perfect example of how designs evolve in the most unexpected ways.

Still, the most telling part of this WWE Championship can be found in the only word inscribed upon it. While older versions of the title were curiously labeled with inexact terminology like “World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion” or — in the case of the “spinner” — the verboten “Champ,” the new WWE Title spells things out clearly with the word “Champion” in all caps across the bottom like a declarative, final statement.

And that’s exactly how WWE’s creative department views their finished work. As they see it, this is the definitive version of sports-entertainment’s most revered prize and the last one they will need to produce.

“From an iconic standpoint, we want this to stick around for a while,” production director Liz Montgomery told us. “The people will know this is the WWE Championship.”

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