As It Happens

Wrestling villain The Liberal Progressive says he'd get 'a hero's welcome' in Canada

Indie wrestling's newest villain sports a Hillary Clinton T-shirt and condescendingly tells audience members in Republican states that they're voting against their own interests.
The Liberal Progressive is a wrestling heel, a.k.a. bad guy, in Appalachian Mountain Wrestling. (Facebook )

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Indie wrestling's newest villain sports a Hillary Clinton T-shirt and condescendingly tells audience members in Republican states that they're voting against their own interests.

Daniel Harnsberger is The Liberal Progressive, a wrestling heel, a.k.a. "bad guy," in the Appalachian Mountain Wrestling league. His signature move is called "The Liberal Agenda."

Harnsberger spoke to As It Happens guest host Laura Lynch about his timely wrestling persona, which he says is really just an exaggerated version of his own personal politics. Here is part of their conversation.

Laura Lynch: Can you describe what The Progressive Liberal is like in the wrestling ring?

Daniel Harnsberger: In the ring? Well, I mean, my wrestling style is very ground-based. I mean, I'm 6'5" and there's no need for me to be flying around. I throw a mean drop-kick, but otherwise I focus on a body part and break down my right-wing opponent that way.

LL: Do you tend to move to the left more than to the right?

DH: [laughs] I move to wherever I can ultimately pin my guy, 1-2-3.

LL: What makes you The Progressive Liberal to the crowd besides the trunks and the Hillary Clinton collage?

DH: My message is a, you know, progressive message. 

Unfortunately, it doesn't resonate in front of a lot of the audience I perform in front of. But let's move beyond coal and move to solar and wind. Climate change is real. You know, let's not try and turn health care into a tax cut for the rich. Hey, while we're at it, why don't we quit voting against our own interest, red states, because Republican politics have not worked for you so well.

LL: What are you doing bringing politics into the wrestling ring?

DH: I'm a real-life liberal and I recognize that that would play with people's emotions, and so I'm happy to troll people and get out my point of view across the way.

LL: Now I understand that you once provoked a crowd by saying you would take their guns away. How did they take that?

DH: Well, one gentlemen in particular was packing because, unfortunately, people can just open carry here, and so he didn't pull out his gun, but he had it on his right hip in the holster and grabbed it, pointed it to me, and well, let's just say we didn't take his gun.

LL: But you built yourself up to be the bad guy, right? You want them to hate you.

DH: Yeah, but I don't want them to shoot me. But their boos are my cheers.

LL: Right now you're winning more than you're losing in the ring, and that's more than the Democratic Party can say. So do you have any advice for them?

DH: Yes I do. Yes I do. I wish Democrats would be absolutely unapologetic for what they believe in and who they are and what their policies are. 

Because Republicans are not apologetic for who they are. And I think that subconsciously creates the aura of confidence that people are attracted to. 

LL: Would you ever consider bringing The Progressive Liberal to come and wrestle here in Canada?

DH: Any Canadian promoter, booker, that is listening right now, I would love to. You know, Canada has a great tradition of wrestling. Everyone knows about the Hart brothers, the Maritimes, all that.

I would be honoured to wrestle in Canada.

LL: What kind of reception do you think you would get here?

DH: I think I would get a hero's welcome. You know, Canadians got it right. Good people. One of my favourite artists of all times is Alanis Morissette, who's a Toronto native.

Alanis Morissette is one of The Liberal Progressive's favourite artists. ( Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

LL: She's actually an Ottawa native, but that's just between you and me. Maybe you could get in the ring with our prime minister. He tried boxing somebody once.

DH: Hey, I'm happy to do that. Let's put the money to a good cause and maybe we could both make an extra buck as well. 

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