Tales of the Virgil Pt. 4: How Much Did The Million Dollar Belt Cost?

So there we were in Stosh's basement. Stosh, myself, Michael Sorg our cameraman, and WWE Legend Virgil had just finished shooting our first music video for Kayfabe (check it out here). We proceeded to shoot the shit, and by shooting the shit I mean listen to Virgil tell epic stories from the 80's. Well, after a third round of hearing about shitty pay days in Memphis, I finally got a word in edgewise, and asked the one question that had been on my mind since we met this morning...

"Thanks Virgil, can I ask you a question man?" I asked knowing it might be a good time to change the subject.

"Anything brother"

"So, did the million dollar belt really cost a million dollars?"

"It cost $968,000.00, and in the 80's that was a lot of money. You know how much that would be in today's money?"

"No idea man, probably a shit ton"

"$20 MILLION dollars"


"Well it would have been $20 million If the gold market hadn't gone to shit last year.  They keep it at the WWE towers in the lobby, a pair of armed security guards lock it up every night in a safe when they close.  The safe lives in the basement, its too heavy to be anywhere else, and instead of key cards they use fingerprints to get in and out.  The only way to steal it is to cut a hand off of either Vince McMahon or one of the security guards."


"Any other questions, brother"

"Naw man, that's all need to know."

Fact Checking


Let's address the elephant in the room: how much is $968,000.00 adjusted for inflation?  Here is the math:

FutureValue = Principle (1 + Interest / CompoundingFrequency) ^ CompoundingFrequency*Time

Naturally, this doesn’t take into account possible fluctuations in gold and diamond prices that could cause the overall value of the belt to increase or decrease dramatically above or below the inflation rate, but assuming a reasonable inflation rate of 5%, the value of the belt today would be (Virgil drum roll):

$3,794,685.01. Hey that is still a lot of money, but not quite $20 million.  

Then there is this Wikipedia entry; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Million_Dollar_Championship which completely refutes the $968K million dollar belt and puts the value of the belt in 1988 at around $125K. This lower cost is because wikipedia alleges the belt was only gold plated and the diamonds were all cubic zirconia. Still, this CZ gold plated behemoth of a belt built today would run you about $490,016.14, and hey, that’s still a lot of money. But the $490,016.14 dollar man doesn't quite have the same ring as the MILLION DOLLAR MAN, now does it?