The wonderful sport of pro wrestling is built upon flamboyancy, showmanship, and sportsmanship, and these three values are displayed perfectly in the many beautifully designed and often ridiculous pieces of silverware handed out to champions and victors in promotions around the world. Over the years, we’ve seen many pro wrestling tournament winners presented with extravagant and oversized awards for their achievements, but which of those many cups are the most physically appealing? Let’s find out, here are the Top 10 Best Pro Wrestling Trophies.
For this list, I am basing my rankings purely on visual appeal, as well as how the trophy relates to the tournament it is attributed to. The trophy’s ranking will be in no way reflective of the prestige of the tournament it is associated to, and only one iteration of each tournament’s main prize can be eligible. With that being said, let’s get started.
10. CZW’s Tournament of Death Trophy (2017 Version)
The Tournament of Death is an annual event held by CZW which pits some of the world’s craziest deathmatch wrestlers against each other in a series of truly gruesome, gory and downright ridiculous hardcore match stipulations.
Now, although I’m not particularly interested in seeing a Barbed Wire Trampoline Match or watching men put themselves through multiple sheets of glass, I was intrigued back in 2017 when one of my favourite wrestlers on the British independent scene, Jimmy Havoc, achieved a dream by entering, and winning, the TOD. Presented to Havoc for his winning efforts was a truly awesome looking trophy with a hardcore flair, a total contrast to the traditional cups and polished silver we’re used to in pro wrestling.
With the standard trophy pillars bent and covered in skull and cross bones, with a sawblade dripping in blood acting as the centrepiece, this violent trophy is the perfect representation of the tournament it owes its name to. (Also, this one gets extra points for reminding me of one of the trophies featured in Robot Wars: Arenas of Destruction for Playstation 2.)
9. NJPW’s G1 Climax Trophy
Although it is probably the most prestigious and meaningful tournament featured on this list, the G1 Climax doesn’t also have the most beautiful prize of them all, however it is still a gorgeous and unique piece of gold awarded to the victor of this gruelling round robin series. With a well-detailed wrestler surrounded in a golden, super saiyan-esque glow, it stands out amongst all other prizes in modern pro wrestling, and is a good representation of how seriously New Japan takes its tournaments, as well as the awards they hand out.
8. JCP’s Crockett Memorial Cup
Southern wrestling in the 1980s was simple, held in high regard, and oddly beautiful, much like the Crockett Cup. Created to honour of the founder of JCP, Jim Crockett Sr., the Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament ran for three consecutive years, boasting some of the greatest teams of the decade as entrants, including The Road Warriors and The Rock n’ Roll Express.
To show the importance of this tag team tournament, JCP handed out a gigantic, beautifully engraved trophy to the victors, the pride of any grappler’s silverware collection.
7. New Japan’s BOSJ Trophy (Previous Version)
Just look at it – it’s bloody massive.
These days, the Best of Super Juniors trophy is a much smaller, much more unique looking award, yet the previous iteration of the trophy was unnecessarily big, and all the more captivating for it. Although slightly spoilt by the word “victory” written along the bottom in big gold letters, for the shire size of this absolute unit, and for the bowl and jewel-encrusted covering at the top, this has got to be one of my favourite New Japan trophies.
6. Fight Club Pro’s Dream Tag Team Invitational Trophy
And now for a trophy I’ve witnessed for myself in person.
Whilst it’s certainly not as big as our last entry, the DTTI trophy has such gorgeous, traditional engravings along the top and bottom of the cup, with a solid wooden base, so reminiscent of classic British sports trophies. The simplicity of this cup is what makes it so visually appealing, and although it is a small detail, those Suplex Apparel ribbons give it a lovely final touch and a feeling of genuine sporting competition.
5. WCW’s European Cup
Perhaps this is the most forgettable and overall worthless trophy on this list, it was created in WCW during 2000 after all, but the European Cup was an absolutely stunning piece of silverware. Going for a far wider cup than most companies tend to favour, the WCW European Cup is instantly set apart from all other grappling silverware. It’s a shame this one wasn’t created far earlier back in WCW’s heyday, as then it could possibly be held in the high regard I think a trophy this gorgeous deserves to be.
4. NJPW’s MSG Tag League
What is now known as the World Tag League in New Japan, it began as the MSG Tag League back in 1980, and had one hell of a trophy. Even compared to the mammoth Andre the Giant, this award is still visibly huge, and visibly beautiful. This gigantic cup was topped by a majestic lion (the symbol of NJPW), sitting on an engraved globe. As the trophy is from the early 80s, clear photos of it sadly don’t exist, however New Japan did create an almost identical replica trophy a few years ago, which you can see in the photo below.
3. NXT’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
To honour a fallen legend, NXT created one hell of a stunningly beautiful trophy. A gorgeous yet simply designed cup sits atop a this gigantic award, but what sets this silverware apart from everything else is the metallic mould of Dream’s boots which stand within the centre. It’s an absolutely gorgeous trophy that Dusty himself would be very proud of.
2. AJPW’s Champion Carnival Trophy
Held by some of the greatest and most famous Japanese wrestlers in history, Champion Carnival has been a tournament held annually by All Japan Pro Wrestling since 1973. When the likes of Misawa, Suzuki, Kawada and Kobashi created some truly beautiful pro wrestling to win this prestigious tourney, they were presented with an equally appealing trophy for their winning efforts.
Tall in stature with a firm base surrounded by plaques, a traditional, appealing cup in the middle, with an additional globe above it, topped by two grapplers going at it. It’s a huge, complex, detailed, and most of all gorgeous award, so it’s only appropriate that it has been held by some of the greatest to have ever graced a ring.
Pro Wrestling World Cup
WWF’s King of the Ring 2001 Trophy
WCW’s Hardcore Champion Trophy
WXW’s 16 Carat
NJPW’s Tag League
- New Japan Cup
Just look at it – New Japan clearly robbed Queen Elizabeth to create the crown jewel of pro wrestling trophies.
What I adore about the New Japan Cup is that it is so grand, so royal, and so in-your-face with its complex yet beautiful design. The rich red and gold tones just scream out monarchy, which show that whoever holds this regal award is the king in NJPW. With diamonds, gold, Lions, a sceptor, a little blue ball thing, and a big red freaking crown, it’s as monarchical and magnificent as this wonderful sport gets. All hail the king of pro wrestling trophies, the New Japan Cup.
Which is your favourite pro wrestling trophy? Let me know in a comment below or over on Twitter @HairyWrestling