VIDEO - The Progressive Liberal is the wrestler fans love to hate

If you’re not familiar with professional wrestling terminology, you may not know the terms “face” and “heel.” The former basically means hero — the person fans come to cheer on — and the latter is more or less the villain — the guy the fans love to hate. Faces might get all the adoration, but as in all storytelling, a good heel usually makes for a far more interesting character. Sometimes heels even develop such a following they turn into faces. But something tells me that’s not going to be the case with one of the latest wrestlers to step in the ring in the Kentucky-based Appalachian Mountain Wrestling organization.

When it’s fight time, Dan Richards becomes the “Progressive Liberal,” and if you thought a character with a name like that would be hard-pressed to win over a bunch of Appalachian Kentuckians, you’d be right. In the Progressive Liberal’s promos, he’s often seen wearing “Not My President” T-shirts, or one with thousands of pictures of Hillary Clinton on it.

It’s not so much that the Kentucky audience is completely conservative — in one of the promo videos below, the crowd starts chanting “feel the Bern” when Richards steps up to the mic — it’s that the Progressive Liberal perfectly embodies the smug elitism Democrats on the coasts are stereotyped with. His interviews pretty much consist of him correcting people’s pronunciation and grammar, or questioning the intelligence of the “hill-jacks” who showed up to watch the match. He insults country music, saying fans only like it because it’s “slow and simple… just like you are.”

Like any good heel, he’s completely full of himself, but he complains he can’t get a fair shake because nobody would let “a blue-blooded Democrat like him win” — and if there’s one venn diagram circle where conservatives and wrestling fans definitely overlap, it’s a shared distaste for people whining about things being unfair.

You can tell Richards is a great heel because after listening to him talk for one minute, you want to punch him in the face. And that’s exactly what he’s going for. He’s not the first wrestler to imbue politics into his character, either. In the early ’80s, the Iron Sheik capitalized off the Iranian hostage crisis to become one of the greatest heels of all time. More recently, Sam Adonis joined the Mexican Lucha Libre wrestling circuit and adopted the persona of a flag-waving Donald Trump fan. He’s one of the most popular characters in the league, and according to one sports writer, “might be the most hated man in Mexico.”

[screen shot: Appalachian Mountain Wrestling]