Friday, July 26, 2019

NWA Title Art: Black Leather and Dented Globe (Part 3)

by Dick Bourne, Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Art by David Williams

Last time in PART 2, we looked at the red velvet domed-globe belt as beautifully and accurately recreated by digital artist David Williams. That version of the belt (Version 1) was in use from July 1973 through sometime in early 1975. More info here.

In 1975, while Jack Brisco was still champion, the NWA did away with the red velvet-wrapped lather strap and had the plates installed on a new black leather strap (Version 2), which gave the belt a more traditional look. The shape of the strap closely followed the shape of the main plate on the belt. The side plates with the flags were arranged differently. A different nameplate showed up on the belt as well, this time with the champion's last name in all caps - - "BRISCO." (Version 2-A)

When Terry Funk defeated Jack Brisco for the NWA World Heavyweight title on December of 1975, the "BRISCO" name plate was removed of course (Version 2-B), but no replacement nameplate for Terry Funk ever appeared on the plate. In fact, no champion following Brisco ever had their name on a nameplate on the belt. The reasons for that remain lost to time.

The rough and tumble Terry Funk treated the belt in a rough and tumble way throughout his 14-month reign, and during that time the round globe on the center of the main plate was badly dented (Version 2-C), and paint began to come off the black panels on either side of the globe (Version 2-D). By the end of Funk's reign, most of the black paint on those side panels was gone. (Late edit: Mark James reminded me that the original dents in the globe actually took place when Brisco had the belt. He's right, as you can you see them in interview footage of Funk after his Miami Beach victory over Brisco, something I had noted before on the Domed Globe website, but failed to correlate here. Regardless, that globe was obviously hollow and relatively fragile.)

Each of the four versions of the belt had their own unique characteristics while also sharing some characteristics to other versions. I'll detail them for the belts covered in the each specific installment of this series.

 Characteristics that made Version 1 of the belt unique:
  • Original strap encased in red velvet.
  • "Jack Brisco" Nameplate
  • Flag configuration on side plates: Japan, Australia, Mexico,  Canada 

Characteristics common to Version 1 and Version 2 of the belt:
  • NWA letters on the globe straight across (curved on versions 3 and 4)
  • Names of countries in white lettering on black background.
  • Black paint on side panels to either side of the globe. (Black onyx used for ver. 3 and 4.)

Characteristics that made Version 2 of the belt unique:
  • "BRISCO" name plate until Jack Brisco lost the title to Terry Funk 
  • Flag configuration on side plates: Mexico, Australia, Canada, Japan

Characteristics common to Version 2 and Version 3 of the belt:
  • Black leather strap cut close to the shape of the center plate. 
  • Cream color backing

The book "Ten Pounds of Gold" that I authored with Dave Millican lays out in great detail all four versions of the NWA "domed-globe" belt. (There is a detailed flow chart summarizing those versions in pp. 70-71 of the book.)

In February of 1977, Harley Race defeated Terry Funk to win the NWA title. Just prior to that, the belt received somewhat of an overhaul. We'll take a look at David William's recreations of that version of the belt (Version 3) in PART FOUR next time.