"The Progressive Liberal" Daniel Richards is a much-despised regular on Kentucky's Appalachian Mountain Wrestling circuit

By Lindsay Kimble
June 28, 2017 08:01 PM
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A 36-year-old Virginia real estate agent has earned the hatred of a legion of Kentucky wrestling fans by masquerading in the ring as a character he calls “The Progressive Liberal.”

Daniel Harnsberger – who competes in Kentucky’s independent pro Appalachian Mountain Wrestling circuit under the name Dan Richards – wears Hillary Clinton shirts in the ring, champions Bernie Sanders in pre-match interviews and always finishes with his signature move, the “Liberal Agenda,” Sports Illustrated reported.

“I say ‘character,’ but I do lean far left,” Harnsberger told SI. “So it’s not like I’m pretending to be something I’m not. I’m just turning it up. I hear Trump chants everywhere I go now, as soon as I walk out.”

Kentucky went red in the last election, making Harnsberger’s persona a heel to many local fans. Often, he says, “you don’t even hear one or two people cheer for me.”

“No one is cheering for me in Kentucky,” he adds.

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In fact, Harnsberger claims he’s been threatened with violence: “It got to the point where there was one town where I was set to wrestle —and I did wrestle there — where one guy said, ‘If that guy shows up, I’m bringing a gun.’ ”

Harnsberger told SI that he first conceived of the character three and a half years ago, and that the Liberal Progressive’s gimmicks have come with time.

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Harnsberger will say things like, “You people vote against your own interests,” in pre-match interviews, and even compete in a “Not My President” T-shirt.

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Of his “Liberal Agenda” move, Harnsberger explained, “It’s just a cross-arm neckbreaker, so if I’m standing in front of you, I’m grabbing each of your wrists, crossing your arms, then twisting you for a standard neckbreaker.

“I call that the Liberal Agenda so then the announcer says, ‘Oh, he hit him with his Liberal Agenda!’ “