Wednesday, July 31, 2019

NWA Title Art: New Globe, Refurbished Plates (Part 4)

David Williams's spot-on artistic depiction of the new globe on Version 3 of the belt in 1977.CLICK HERE for a larger detailed image in a new browser window.

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

We pick up where we left off in Pt. 3:

By the time Harley Race defeated Terry Funk for the NWA World Championship on February 6, 1977 in Toronto, the belt had been completely refurbished. The base of the center plate appeared to be the same, but several key features had been replaced. All of the plates had been repainted. The plates, however, were mounted on the same black leather strap that had replaced the red velvet strap in 1974.

This refurbished belt would be the third version of four of the domed-globe belt.

Version 3 of the Domed-Globe belt, featuring a new globe design, alternate color lettering for the flags, and more.
 In video of Race putting the belt on after the victory, the belt looked magnificent, almost brand new. The only sign of wear was on the back of the leather strap. As Race holds the belt over his head moments after the victory, you can see the creme colored backing loose and coming apart. It isn't clear why they wouldn't have gone ahead and had new leather cut of these newly painted and refurbished plates, but that was yet to come.

There were several noticeable changes this time around.  The color of lettering over the flags on the side plates as well as over the U.S. flag on the main plate was now black on a white background. It was the opposite on the first two versions of the belt. The globe was also new, with a slightly different map outline. The most noticeable difference though was the large red "NWA" letters were now curved on the globe rather than straight across. (See David Williams's incredible detail of the globe in a large image that will open in a new window.)

The flag side plates were also arranged in a different order, making it the third different configuration of the flags for the third belt. This time they were (L-R) Mexico, Canada, Australia, Japan.

The final significant change was the installation of black onyx panels to either side of the globe. These areas had previously been painted black, but the paint continued to flake off the gold plate. The black onyx was somewhat reflective when new, and you can see it sparkle as Race straps it on in Toronto.

The following chart illustrates the progression of the belt through three of the four versions, from red-velvet to new globe. 

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.)

Next in Part Five, we will take a look at David Williams' incredibly detailed rendering of the 4th and final version of the belt on it's new leather strap.