Ever since a flyer for Appalachian Mountain Wrestling began circulating on social media this summer, Daniel Richards career has soared to unforeseen heights. The image made its rounds, and garnered tons of humorous responses, because of a wrestler featured in the lower right-hand corner named “the Progressive Liberal.”
The gimmick, played by Richards, struck a chord with the general public, and soon, “the Progressive Liberal” was featured in a Deadspin article. Then in late July, he appeared on Fox News. Richards was recently interviewed on the Tarfu Report on WFMU. Excerpts from this interview were released by Rolling Stone this week. The interview covered a lot of ground, most notably providing Richards with a platform to explain his character.
Richards usually plays a heel but says the crowd has a hand in determining that:
“Especially in Appalachia, they say a lot of ignorant stuff my way. I don’t know that they know how ignorant it is, but it is nonetheless. So I can play off that. Yeah, it’s amped up a little bit, but I’m speaking my mind, and that doesn’t sit well in Appalachia.
“I’m just the ultimate liberal troll I guess. I knew Hillary Clinton was the lightning rod over there, that’s one thing, but when you’re like, ‘I’d like you all to get jobs in clean energy,’ ‘Boo!’ I mean, that’s truly the reaction. You can’t make this stuff up.
“But what makes a good heel is, first of all, it’s someone who believes they’re justified in what they’re saying. But usually, it’s a situation where the majority of the crowd thinks otherwise. The heel’s job is to get heat and make people want to buy tickets to see a babyface kick their ass.
“There’s definitely lines I can’t cross. I want people to hate me enough to see me get my butt kicked by my adversary, but I don’t want them to say, ‘You know what, screw this guy, and the hell with this. I’m not coming to see this.’ It’s a fine line to walk sometimes.
“I’ve wrestled a couple of times in Northern Virginia, so just south of D.C., where I’m going to be traveling to in a little bit, and I am cheered there. So August of this year was the first time where I was cheered as “Progressive Liberal,” and that was a pretty cool experience. It was kind of like a culmination of the popularity that I’d been getting. The promotion I wrestled for there, NOVA Pro Wrestling, they were one of the first groups to reach out to me when all the viral-ness started. So then to come out there and get the standing ovation at the entrance and at the end of my match, that was pretty cool.”
The article also features a lengthy discussion about Donald Trump, and whether Richards has the desire to one day run for office. Check it out at RollingStone.com
It’s embarrassing and contributes to the negative stereotype of wrestling fans all being conservative rednecks. I had some friends who don’t follow wrestling at all ask me about him, it’s cringe worthy.