Last year, the world was introduced to The Progressive Liberal, a pro wrestler working in Appalachia who proudly wore a Hilary Clinton-adorned vest and shouted down the conservative values of some (perhaps many) in the crowd. Because in the world of pro wrestling, the guy denouncing Donald Trump and everything he stands for is the bad guy. He’s the guy you boo.

So it’s no surprise that Daniel Bryan’s new gimmick, The New Daniel Bryan, in which he chastises the audience and WWE itself for its baby boomer mentalities and wasteful ethos, is supposed to be the heel. And he certainly puts enough energy into making his opinions and beliefs come off as dickish and smug that even the people who might agree with him will boo out of respect. But however you feel, Bryan is currently working a masterclass on how to be a heel in modern professional wrestling.

The best heels are always the ones who have a good point. The ones you actually have a reasonable gripe behind all that yelling and cheating. The ones who appear to have been pushed past their breaking point over injustices, perceived or real. Bryan is doing all of that. An actual vegan with an interest in the environment, Bryan very well could espouse those beliefs as a good guy and it’d work fine. But by tweaking the message to remind everyone what terrible human beings they are by not being like him, he’s become a weaponized walking version of PETA, Greenpeace, and what baby boomers think millennials are like all rolled into one.

After spending the weekend shaming Chase Field over it’s Royal Rumble burger (in what was actually the kind of promotion that most franken-burgers would kill for), Bryan celebrated his latest victory over A.J. Styles on Smackdown this week by taking things up a notch. He threw the WWE Title, which is made of leather, in the trash and unveiled a “100% organic hemp” WWE Title.

As he explained, the new WWE Title is made of hemp and also carved out of oak. All things considered, it looks pretty good for a carved belt made out of wood. Impressive, actually.

It’s just the latest in a fantastic run for a guy who’d already cemented his legacy as one of the biggest fan favorites in WWE history. The question is, where does Bryan go from here? With his new runnin’ buddy, Erik Rowan, it appears that Daniel is starting some kind of “green party” or “union,” which would be very in line with mirroring what’s going in America right now.

The troubling part is where Vince McMahon might end up taking this storyline eventually. As the heel, Bryan is going to have to get his comeuppance eventually. The idea of Vince, whose wife is a member of Donald Trump’s cabinet, organizing some kind of “good old boys” network to teach Bryan a lesson about “how the world works” seems inevitable and disappointing.

But, in the meantime, if Bryan keeps doing stuff like this, WWE fans are going to enjoy the ride. And if there was anyone who could sell a hemp & wood WWE belt to children, it’s Daniel Bryan.

[TDE]

About Sean Keeley

A graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse related things for SB Nation, Neighborhoods.com, 55places.com, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Chicago.