World Heavyweight Championship (Vegas Big Gold) (1991)
When Ric Flair finally made his way to the WWF in 1991, it was a big deal for the wrestling world, made all the more significant by the fact that he brought the NWA Championship with him.
After weeks of build-up with Bobby Heenan parading the “Big Gold Belt” around on WWF TV, ‘The Nature Boy’ made his WWF debut on Prime Time Wrestling in September 1991. Flair would wear the WCW gold on WWF TV for several weeks, claiming to be “The Real World’s Champion”, in one of the most unique WWF storylines ever.
Sadly, this angle was brought to a screeching halt when Turner sued the WWF for using the belt onscreen. To avoid any legal ramifications, the WWF started pixelating the title on TV and Flair began using a modified WWF Tag Team Championship on shows for the live audience.
Meanwhile, Vince was busy getting a lookalike title made with subtle changes, such as the word placing, moving the crown and removal of the name plate. They even filmed promos in Las Vegas with their modified version – hence the ‘Vegas Big Gold Belt” nickname.
Sadly, the lawsuit meant anything resembling the “Real World’s Heavyweight belt” could not be shown on WWF TV. The angle was dropped when Ric Flair captured the WWF Heavyweight title at Royal Rumble ’92.