BY ABRAHAM KLINE
It had been a hard-fought match that night at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. For nearly 40 grueling minutes, six NXT wrestlers laid everything on the line to win the prize that was hanging high above the ring. Then a moment came for one contestant. All the others had been incapacitated, and there stood that one with a look of anticipation in his eye. He then would make the climb up the ladder, and grab the belt, and become the winner. At that moment, the crowd, who had already been on their feet throughout the match, let out a thunderous cheer as Adam Cole became the first ever NXT North American Champion for World Wrestling Entertainment.
Several new championship belts have been introduced in the WWE recently. These include the Universal Championship, Raw and Smackdown Tag Team titles, Raw and Smackdown Women’s titles, NXT UK Women’s title, NXT UK Tag Team titles, and, of course, the new Eco-friendly WWE Championship title. For the past ten years, these championship belts have come from Wildcat Championship Belts, owned and operated by Andrew Lazarchik.
This unique business, located in Lazarchik’s hometown of Latrobe, has been a go-to location for several wrestling promotions that include Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, and World Wrestling Entertainment. Aside from wrestling promotions, Lazarchik works with corporations to create awards and prizes, such as Salesperson of the month. Fantasy sports leagues such as Draft Kings often order belts from Wildcat. Lazarchik has also had the opportunity to provide the winning championship award for Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in New York City.
Prior to being “the belt guy,” Lazarchik always had a desire and love for making championship belts. As a kid, Andrew would make them out of paper or whatever material was available. For several years, it was just a hobby. With his artistic talent, Lazarchik sought a degree in graphic design and spent several years in the printing business.
Eventually, Andrew’s passion for creating the belts became his career. In 2005, Andrew decided he would learn how to create and design belts correctly and made it his mission to develop his craft.
His opportunity with the WWE came in 2007 at a live event in Johnstown. During intermission, Lazarchik spoke briefly to the ring announcer, Howard Finkle, about who to contact about the possibility of making belts for their organization. Soon, Lazarchik was on his way to Stamford, Connecticut, where he was given ten minutes to pitch his championship belts to the largest sports entertainment brand in North America! Since then, Lazarchik has been the producer of many championship belts seen on WWE programs, affirming his successful presentation that day.
Thanks to Andrew Lazarchik, anyone can be a champion in any skill. The belts he makes weigh anywhere from 12-13 pounds and comes in three different styles: Premium for $1,300, Mid-level for $800, and Economy for $375.
Anyone interested in learning more about Wildcat Championship Belts, or to place an order, can go to his website www.wildcatbelts.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Instagram as @wildcatbelts.