Left-Leaning Pro Wrestler Emerges as Red-State Villain and Literally Hits Foes with Signature 'Liberal Agenda' Move
"The Progressive Liberal" Daniel Richards is a much-despised regular on Kentucky's Appalachian Mountain Wrestling circuit
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.
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.
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!’ “