It’s been said time and time again that the best pro wrestling characters are the ones where it’s the performer’s personality turned up to 11. It’s why “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and the Rock became such huge stars in the Attitude Era, and why the Undertaker also owns a series of mortuaries throughout Texas .
Daniel Bryan’s current character, the Planet’s Champion, follows that same pattern, taking elements of the performer and pushing them to the extreme. D Bry has long been an advocate for greener initiatives, even creating his own eco-friendly version of the WWE Championship. But you might recall that during his run as WWE champion. D Bry rarely wore his own merchandise to the ring. Speaking with MySanAntonio.com, he explains why:
“In that whole run, while they did make a Daniel Bryan ‘Planet’s Champion’ T-shirt, I never wore one to the ring. One of the things I’ve always felt very guilty about is the amount of stuff that I’ve specifically sold to people, and I’ve never done it with the intention of, ‘Oh, I want to sell all these things.’ It’s just part of what you do. It’s like, OK, you wear your shirt to the ring, so that people see your shirt and buy it. Well, this was a good opportunity for me to be like, ‘Oh, no, I shouldn’t wear a shirt to the ring, because I’m the planet’s champion.’ And that’s one of the things that I can criticize other people for — they’re just out there for other people’s money.”
Now that Bryan’s alignment has shifted, though, he’s become a crowd favorite once more — and since there’s still a desire for WWE to sell Daniel Bryan merch, the future WWE Hall Of Famer was able to leverage that into getting the company to do something they’d never done before: make an eco-friendly T-shirt.
“Now that I’m a good guy again, they’re like, ‘Well, we’d really like you to wear a shirt, and let’s get back to making T-shirts for you again.’ I was like, ‘Well, I don’t really want to do that.’ And so now I’m working with them about that, and the next Daniel Bryan shirts are going to be made out of recycled materials. And I think five plastic water bottles will be used for every shirt. So they’ll be made out of plastic water bottles and recycled materials and that, to me, is cool, and that’s something that’s a good-guy thing that’s also kind of environmentally friendly.”
Bryan’s wish has come true: His new T-shirt is a blend of 60 percent organic cotton and 40 percent recycled plastic bottles, a first for the WWE.
Unfortunately, the women’s and kids’ versions of the shirt are still regular ol’ 100 percent cotton, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. As Bryan explains:
“I’m not doing it so people will like me. I’m doing it because my guilty conscience of having sold X number of shirts yesterday that were made out of inorganic material — which is horrible for the planet — make me think, ‘No, I’m so bad for the planet.’ But that sort of thing is something you can see people getting behind. I think at the end of the day, whether you’re right or left, I don’t think the environment should be a right or left issue. I don’t think it should be like that. When I was doing the environmental thing, they actually told me to stop talking about the environment because they told me it was a political issue and we don’t want to deal with politics. I said, ‘It’s not a political issue. It’s a scientific issue, and the sciences pretty much prove it.’ So rather than looking at it from a right or left point of view, let’s look at it as, ‘Hey, improving the environment is a bulletproof idea to improve all of our children’s lives.’”
I think I can sum up the With Spandex staff’s collective opinion on this with three simple words: Yes! Yes! Yes!