WWE just unveiled the new United States Championship on last week’s episode of Monday Night Raw, which was a long time coming. Finally, the 17-year-old design was upgraded to include the modern changeable side plates and received a center plate overhaul to go along with it.
Apparently, a new NXT Championship had already been in the works that is the same design, but just physically larger. Now, we know why that must have been the case. Keith Lee is considerably bigger than Adam Cole and it will suit his stature much better.
But @BeltFanDan spoke of a third, as well as possibly fourth belt redesign that haven’t yet debuted: the tag team titles.
They've had new SD tags since WM35 they haven't used.
NXT belt is being replaced with a larger version of the same design.
— Dan Beltzer (@BeltFanDan) July 8, 2020
This in itself is interesting, but it gets even more intriguing when you look back to last year, as BeltFanDan had some more to say about what he had heard. It’s oddly confusing:
I'm being told Smackdown is same as current with removable team sideplate modification. Raw tags are a new design.
I have not seen them, just reporting from a long time, trusted source.
— Dan Beltzer (@BeltFanDan) April 5, 2019
The Smackdown belts are the same as they were with the removable side plate modification.
The Raw belts are supposedly a new design all together.
— Dan Beltzer (@BeltFanDan) April 5, 2019
If we work under these assumptions, that means WWE has waited over a year—for whatever reason—to get rid of those God awful tag team titles. However, despite the logic behind having both belts look the same minus some sort of color difference, the SmackDown belts may stay the ugly nickels, just with side plates.
I recently went ahead and ranked all the current belt designs WWE has today, with those being my absolute least favorites. They’re absolutely terrible and I can’t wait for them to be replaced, especially when the women’s tag titles look so much better.
But if WWE’s waited this long, there’s no telling when those new belts will pop up. At the very least, they’re waiting for something. What could that be?
The NXT title has likely waited for the biggest athlete on the roster to win it. The United States title was brought around July 4th. We have nothing that screams “new tag team titles should come around this time” on the horizon that I’m aware of.
Without knowing any oddball plans WWE has that we’re completely unaware of, like doing the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and involving the main roster instead of just NXT, I’ve racked my brain trying to think of opportunities where these belts may be able to make their premiere.
I’ve only thought of two. However, both could be something to watch out for.
Option 1: Clash of Champions
While this year has proven there’s no guarantee any event is certain for the calendar, WWE has remained relatively consistent with the names of its pay-per-views from its Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber graphics.
Even if it’s just at the WWE Performance Center, we can assume Clash of Champions is still set for September 20th after SummerSlam.
With a focus on all the titles, this would be the perfect opportunity to unveil new tag team title designs. It would make those bouts feel more special, as the tag division is often overlooked.
Ideally, in that scenario, one of the teams retains at the show and new champions are crowned for the other belts. That way, it’s not just a blatantly obvious “switching things for the sake of it” situation, but it does offer some change beyond the visual.
Of course, we don’t know who will be holding these belts come September. There’s a solid chance Andrade and Angel Garza or The Street Profits are holding the Raw belts, at least. For SmackDown, it could still be The New Day, or Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro might be the next in line (but I don’t think so). Maybe The Usos will be back in action by then or a new, exciting team will form.
In any case, Clash of Champions is a simple way to debut new designs. There doesn’t need to be anything more to it than WWE saying a lot of attention is being put on titles at the moment and to commemorate that, here are some new belts.
Option 2: Survivor Series
If not Clash of Champions, the only other time I could see both belts being replaced is Survivor Series.
That also includes a built-in focus on champions with the brand warfare competition.
Assuming the pandemic doesn’t prevent the crossovers from taking place, I’d venture a guess we’re getting Raw vs. NXT vs. SmackDown again as the theme of the show. That should include the world champions against each other, the midcard champions, women’s champions and tag team champions.
While it would make more sense for the NXT tag titles to be redesigned at the same time to complete the trifecta, I don’t think that will be the case. Not even a peep has been said about those belts being changed. Plus, I doubt anyone would really consider it a downside to see the awful Raw and SmackDown belts replaced and not have the same thing happen for NXT, as that design isn’t hated.
This doesn’t work as well as Clash of Champions, though, in my opinion. It should be more about the rosters fighting for supremacy, rather than “look at my new belt.” The titles aren’t up for grabs, so there’s no incentive for someone to want to win the shiny new prize.
Still, I’d even opt for the “sooner, the better” approach and even be fine with them premiering next week. As long as we can get rid of the terrible sentinel heads, that’s the biggest thing I’m looking forward to—not necessarily how they’re shown off to the world for the first time.
When do you think WWE should bring these new titles out and what would you like the designs to look like? Keep the discussion going in the comments below!