‘The Progressive Liberal’ gains notoriety as a red-state pro wrestling villain

A man who bills himself as “The Progressive Liberal” is drawing major attention as a villain in the Appalachian pro wrestling scene.

Daniel Harnsberger, who wrestles for Appalachian Mountain Wrestling as “The Progressive Liberal” Daniel Richards, teases fans in Kentucky and nearby states by calling for more gun control, ripping President Trump as “con man” and wearing shirts adorned with photos of Hillary Clinton.

His finishing move is a neckbreaker called the “Liberal Agenda.” And he is known for mocking the region’s accent, mocking country music and yelling at the audience to “Feel the Bern!”

{mosads}His notoriety has earned him coverage in Deadspin and The Washington Post, and an interview with Sports Illustrated.

Harnsberger told SI the character is not too far from the truth.

“I do lean far left. So it’s not like I’m pretending to be something I’m not. I’m just turning it up,” he said.

He added that most fellow pro wrestlers in the region don’t share his political views, calling them “big, country strong dudes who can kick ass.”

Harnsberger noted that one time, as he ranted against the audience from the wrestling ring and threatened to confiscate their guns, one fan motioned at his pistol in an apparent threat.

“I didn’t take anyone’s guns away. That’s probably why I’m still here today.”

But he said he’s not intimidated by the unfriendly audience and is hoping to break through to them.

“I’ve said in many interviews, ‘You people vote against your own interests.’ That’s as whole-hearted as anything I say,” Harnsberger said.

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