When real sports and simulated ones mix, things can get messy. The NFL and WWE announced Monday that they were collaborating to create and sell wrestling-style championship belts featuring the logos and colors of all 32 NFL football teams.
Make that 31. After launching on both the WWE and NFL online stores, the Jaguars belts were no longer for sale just hours later. The prior link to the Jacksonville Jaguars WWE Legacy Title Belt on WWE Shop now just displays the site’s homepage.
The Jaguars also happen to be owned by the family of Tony Khan, who also owns WWE’s top wrestling rivals, All Elite Wrestling. Khan has been a public face for both AEW and the Jaguars.
WWE and the NFL’s partner Fanatics, which sells official merch from the top pro sports leagues, replied on social media that these belts “sold faster than we could have ever imagined” and that fans should “keep your peeled for a restock in the next few days.”
Hey there! Those sold faster than we could have ever imagined! I would keep your eyes peeled for a restock in the next few days! #DUUUUUUUVAL
— Fanatics Support (@FanaticsSupport) August 28, 2023
But fans quickly expressed skepticism of that explanation for the title belt no longer being available for pre-order and citing AEW and Khan as what most felt was the obvious reason for the belt being pulled.
A recurring theme among social media comments was also how unlikely it was that the Jaguars belts would sell out when even the reigning NFL champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, still had titles available. The Jaguars lost in the divisional playoffs this past January to the Chiefs, who would go on to win both the conference and the Super Bowl.
“Say the real reason. You really think ppl gon believe the f–king jaguars sold out of belts???? Be real with us,” wrote one user — also including a GIF of a confused-looking Tony Khan.
AEW laid claim to the paid attendance record for a pro wrestling show Sunday evening in London with their show “All In” at Wembley Stadium for 81,035 spectators who bought tickets, according to the promotion. One fan made a joking reference to both AEW and the Jaguars’ popularity, writing “Real popular, those Jags. Guess you’re gonna have to make another 81,035 belts.”
Some fans on social media also asserted that they’d managed to preorder the belt when it was still available, but that their orders had been canceled.
Most of the rest of those WWE-inspired NFL belts are available for $549.99, though as of press time, the Detroit Lions belt was also missing from WWE’s site. Belts for the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans were among those still available, but listed as “almost gone.”
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