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What happened with Chris Jericho’s lost AEW championship belt?

This is one of the weirdest stories in a while.

Chris Jericho became AEW’s first world champion on Saturday night. Then he lost the belt. Not to a challengee, but to a limo and a Longhorn Steakhouse.

Jericho, who won the belt after winning at AEW All Out, lost the belt on Sunday. Police then allegedly found it on Wednesday morning — then it wasn’t clear if they had it. Now it’s back in Jericho’s possession.

Jericho filed a police report for the missing belt Sunday, claiming he left it in the limo while eating at a Longhorn Steakhouse. He even called for a worldwide manhunt to find the belt, saying he hired private investigators to track it down.

Then, on Wednesday morning police posted on Facebook that they had found the belt — even including a photo.

This being a story related to wrestling, naturally there was another twist.

Then, late on Wednesday he announced that the belt was in his possession and that he, not police, had found it.

What is happening?!

AEW shared the post by Tallahassee Police, which was active on their Twitter account — but the police department deleted theirs, but kept the case active. It’s unclear why at this time.

There’s a chance this was simply a procedural error and the department’s social media account jumped the gun in sharing the photo of the belt, but it’s also possible something else happened which hasn’t been shared with the public.

This was all fake, right?

No, it really wasn’t. Jericho might be using the theft of the belt to play it all up in character, but the belt really was missing per a police report filed in Tallahassee, Florida. Wrestling writer David Bixenspan confirmed with police that the report was accurate.

Essentially Jericho left the belt in his hired limo while he went to eat, and the driver returned to the Million Air (a private charter flight company) terminal in Tallahassee to exchange luggage after Jericho had accidentally grabbed the wrong bag. At some point during this round trip, the belt went missing.

You might be thinking “well, this could still all be fake as part of a story,” which is technically possible, though it would mean risking charges for filing a fake police report — which really wouldn’t be worth all the hassle.

Was it the AEW Championship belt?

It appears so, but it all depends on how AEW organized their belts.

In WWE, each champion is given two belts when they win a title. The “TV belt” is kept in the possession of WWE and it’s what you see during broadcasts. The company keeps it so it will be pristine and look perfect on camera.

Wrestlers are given a “travel belt,” which is nearly indistinguishable to the untrained eye. This allows performers to bring the belt with them to shows and appearances to maintain their mystique.

It’s unclear if AEW chose to adopt the same “TV belt, travel belt” structure. AEW’s TV programming doesn’t start until Oct. 2, so the assumption currently is the belt Jericho lost was the real, one-of-a-kind AEW belt.

What is the belt worth?

This is a closely guarded secret. We know the belt was constructed by legendary designer Dave Millican, who designs the majority of the belts in professional wrestling, as well as championship belts for the UFC. In a 2014 interview with CNN he explained that basic replica belts cost roughly $1,000, with top-end WWE replicas selling for as much as $10,000 — however, he declined to comment on how much real WWE belts cost.

It’s been speculated that true, real championship belts can be worth upwards of $300,000.

A redacted police report lists the belt as being worth between $20,000 and $100,000.

What happens now?

It’s clearly a very big bullet dodged by AEW that Jericho got the belt back. It’s likely they will now adopt a “TV belt, travel belt” structure moving forward if it wasn’t in place already.

If someone had the belt in their possession, it was going to be impossible to move it without raising suspicions. This was the first and only AEW belt ever made (the company hasn’t even started replica construction), meaning it would have needed to be fenced through the black market like a piece of art.

What did Arby’s have to say about all this?