It's been almost a year since the WWE Intercontinental Championship belt that I helped create (along with "The Ace" Dave Millican) debuted on television.
MizTV. Curtis Axel had won the IC title a week earlier on Father's Day, a fitting tribute to his legendary father – and former IC champ – "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig. (Hennig was one of my favorites growing up, so to see his son wearing a belt that has my name stamped into it was a very big deal for me.) After some back-and-forth trash talking, Axel and Miz engaged in fisticuffs, which ultimately resulted in the belt being dropped and a large, sweaty wrestler being slammed onto it. I cringed. With joy. If that's even possible.
Knowing I may never get this opportunity again, I worked meticulously to craft the perfect strap for this prestigious championship. I wasn't thrilled with the way the first one came out, so I made another one, and I saw that it was good. I attached the plates, finished the leather, painted all the little logos and wrestlers and such, and – after taking 4,000 photos – off it went to WWE TV headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.
Since its debut, the belt has also been held by Big E. Langston and Wade "Bad News" Barrett. And I've been fortunate enough to collaborate with Dave on belts for 2K Sports and Bellator MMA, along with some WWE licensed belts for private collectors. I don't know if the opportunity to create a belt for WWE TV will ever come along again, but I'm happy that I was able to at least slip one past the goalie.
Whatever happens, I will always appreciate the opportunity I was given to fulfill this crazy boyhood dream. Thanks again, Ace.
And you too, Lilian.