Friday, June 23, 2017

The History of the Elite Championship Belt(s)

If the ECCW Championship belt seems familiar to DOA fans, it should – it should remind them of the Elite’s own Elite championship.  Reuse of a belt makes perfect sense to them – until I show them the original belt.

“Wait, there’s TWO of them?”

Yup, there’s two of them.  This is their story.

In October 2010, DOA made the decision to create a secondary championship to go along with the DOA heavyweight championship and DOA tag team championship.  The storyline of the 2011 DOA Rumble was that DOA was adding a new championship, with the winner choosing the type of title and its name.

We originally settled on the DOA Northwest Heritage championship, to honor the wrestling promotions in the past in the Northwest, especially the old Portland Wrestling.  To go along with that, we contacted Dave Millican to create the belt in the style of the old NWA regional championship belts – specifically, the NWA Pacific Northwest heavyweight title also used in Portland Wrestling.  The belt name was later changed to the DOA Pacific Northwest Pure Wrestling championship (now referred to as the DOA Pure Wrestling championship) and was delivered in January 2011, just in time for Aaron Bolo to win the 2011 DOA Rumble.

At the same time, Bolo was feuding with the Elite’s Ethan HD (managed exquisitely and expertly by yours truly) and to continue that feud, we would create a championship for the Elite – the Elite championship.  In October 2010, I contacted Randy Jackson at Top Rope Belts regarding creating the Elite championship belt; Top Rope Belts also designed the DOA heavyweight and tag team title belts.  A brand new design was OKed and delivered in January 2011.  The belt featured a brand new etching process from Top Rope and was unlike any other belt I’ve ever seen.

The Elite championship was a vanity title – not officially recognized by DOA – and was sporadically “defended.”  The belt changed twice between Quiz and Ethan (with the DOA heavyweight title going along with it) and finally to Derek Drexl before the Elite was forced to disband after losing War Games.

At the DOA third anniversary show, Dr. Kliever dropped the belt in the trash to symbolize the end of the Elite, and that was that.

Fastforward to late 2011.  ECCW – Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling – had made the decision to officially separate from their “Extreme” roots and change their name.  Since they wanted to keep the initials, I suggested Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling, and designed a version of the Elite logo to use, along with a Canadian maple leaf in the center.  We originally planned to use the existing Elite title, but a funny thing happened on the way…

In December 2011, we saw a very interesting auction on eBay – a “generic wrestling belt” that’d be “perfect for any promotion.”  I was shocked to find out it was a copy of the Elite championship, but with a red strap!  I contacted Top Rope Belts and got the scoop – the etching process used on the Elite belt was so new that they felt the need to test it first, and created “prototype” plates of the same design.  Those prototypes went well enough that they then created the production plates used on the Elite title, but kept the prototypes.  TRB decided that the plates were too good not to use somehow, and fashioned a new red leather strap to use with them, placing the belt on eBay.

The auction was at an excellent price, and the red strap would be perfect for a Canadian promotion such as ECCW.  Unfortunately, I did not win the auction, but the original buyer backed out and I was able to score the belt on a second chance offer from TRB.  The timing on delivery went down to the wire, with the new belt arriving mere days before the January 7th event, where the new name – and new belt – were unveiled.

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So there you have it, folks.  Two Elite championship belts.  Two promotions.  Two histories.  And even though the Elite is dead, it still lives on in ECCW, every time the ECCW Championship is defended, and every time an Administration member comes to ringside in an Elite t-shirt.

But the original is where it belongs – on my desk at home as a reminder of the eighteen-month run of the Elite, and what I’ve accomplished.  And there’s still more to come.
Michael Sweetser


One Response to “The History of the Elite Championship Belt(s)”
  1. Greedy says:

    CHEA! Nick Price In the thumbnail!