Exclusive interview: David Arquette on the 'Big Gold Belt'
On the Aug. 18, 2014, edition of Raw, Brock Lesnar was presented with a new version of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which will replace the two titles that champs have been lugging around for the past few months. WWE fans are buzzing about the fresh look, but what does it mean for the classic “Big Gold Belt”?
Introduced in the NWA’s Jim Crockett Promotions by then-champion Ric Flair on Valentine’s Day 1986, the iconic title was designed by western-style rodeo belt buckle specialists Crumline Silversmiths. Across the past three decades, the “Big Gold Belt” has undergone various name changes, crisscrossed promotions and even had a few extended absences from television, but it always symbolized excellence.
With the iconic title’s future in question, WWE.com spoke with one of the men most identifiable with the championship. No, not Ric Flair, not Triple H, not even Goldberg or Hollywood Hogan. We asked a former WCW Champion what he thought about the Big Gold Belt. And that man is Deputy Dewey Riley himself, David Arquette.
WWE.COM: It looks as though the “Big Gold Belt” might be no more. How does that make you feel?
DAVID ARQUETTE: Wow. No. Wait. Why?
WWE.COM: It’s been replaced by the new WWE World Heavyweight Title.
ARQUETTE: Whoa. Hold on. Wait a second. Okay.
WWE.COM: You’re reacting very strongly.
ARQUETTE: Well yeah, ’cause it’s history. It’s heritage we’re talking about.
WWE.COM: What does it mean to you that a title that’s identified with you to some degree is disappearing?
ARQUETTE: It’s a changing of the times. You always gotta update your bling, obviously. But it’ll come back when WWE relaunches WCW as its own thing, right? Is that the idea?
WWE.COM: Not that we’re aware of, no.
ARQUETTE: Alright, I’m gonna call it now. In 10 years, it’ll be like the throwback jerseys that people wear. There’ll be throwback belts comin’ out. It’ll be awesome. They say they’re retiring it, but I have a feeling it’ll come back in the future.
WWE.COM: What are your memories of holding the title?
WWE.COM: Did you have to put a deposit down on it?
ARQUETTE: No, but I couldn’t believe that they left it in my hands, like a knucklehead. What I would do, is before all the shows I’d bring it out to all the fans, and have them be able to put the real title on and take pictures. Some kid threw a mud ball at my face — an actual dirt ball — this little kid.
WWE.COM: You were not very well loved by the fans back then.
ARQUETTE: No, especially this one kid. I think it was in Memphis. He gave me the middle finger, and he was probably 10-years-old. A big chunk of dirt smashed me right in the eye. I look up and there’s this kid.
WWE.COM: Do you have any other memories of carrying the title?
ARQUETTE: After I lost it, I had to give it back, obviously. I had it for about two weeks and gave it back, but I was bummed. I at least thought they’d give me one to keep or something! A couple months after, Goldberg sent me one, but it said “Goldberg” on it, so I popped that off and had an “Arquette” plaque made and put it on there.
WWE.COM: Holding the “Big Gold Belt” really meant a lot to you, huh?
ARQUETTE: It was like being a little kid living a dream just to be backstage and meeting all the wrestlers and heroes I’d watched my whole life. I used to watch Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant wrestle at the LA Sports Arena. So to be part of it and live that experience for a month was incredible.