It seems we live in an age where everything is politicized. From the NFL to the NRA, escaping the political climate nowadays is mission impossible. Some people look to relief from innocuous, apolitical fare such as food channels, home shopping networks and, of course, infomercials.
But if you’re looking to professional wrestling as a political “safe zone,” you can scratch that off your list.
Pro wrestling has joined the political fray. We’re not talking about the WWE (albeit the company’s former CEO Linda McMahon does serve as President Trump’s Small Business Administration head). We’re talking about the independent circuits. That’s where you’ll find real estate developer and pro wrestler Daniel Richards, or as he’s better known, “The Progressive Liberal.”
Richards, a lifelong wrestling fan, debuted his ring name in 2015, but he’s always been progressive.
“I’ve always been liberal or ‘to the left’ as most say … especially on social issues. On those issues, I feel like I am on the right side of history,” Richards told Yahoo Finance.
As “The Progressive Liberal,” Richards chastises politically conservative wrestling fans around the South and Mid-Atlantic wearing Hillary Clinton clad attire and saying things like, “I’m here to take away your guns!”
“The Progressive Liberal” can always strike a nerve with the crowd. But, he says, “My wrestling isn’t all politics; I use the political stuff to get them interested.”
And they do get interested, sometimes too interested. At one show, Richards said a fan actually pulled out a gun just to show him he was carrying. During the lead up to another event, a fan proclaimed, “If that Liberal shows up … I’m gonna shoot him.” This is the type of venom that a great heel (wrestling jargon for the bad guy) can draw. Thankfully, no physical violence has been brought upon Richards.
“The Progressive Liberal” not only captivates fans with his sharp political wit, but he also dazzles with aptly named moves such as his signature “The Liberal Agenda,” a modified delayed hangman’s neck-breaker.
In this corner … The Oracle of Omaha!
But “The Progressive Liberal” isn’t a one trick pony. Aside from being a wrestler, Daniel Harnsberger (his real name) is an avid real estate investor.
So how did a pro wrestler get started in real estate? Warren Buffett.
It all happened when Harnsberger was traveling through Europe during a hiatus from wrestling. He was burning through his savings and knew he needed another source of income. Inspiration came by way of Robert G. Hagstrom’s book, “The Warren Buffett Way,” which outlines the investment principles the Berkshire Hathaway CEO has used throughout his career.
Harnsberger now had the tools, but he still needed a vehicle to use his newly amassed knowledge. He finally settled on real estate. As he puts it, “Real estate was just something that kept coming to mind.”
He bought his first property four years ago. At first, it was tough. “I lived in the first property I ever bought with the intent of flipping it, and it turned out to be harder than I thought. After that, I had to get creative with the ways I acquired properties.”
The Virginia native financed a few properties and got lenders for others. He also started managing other people’s properties to secure more income. Eventually, all that creativity paid off. Now Richards manages over 40 properties in the Central Virginia area.
As for what he likes to do most — wrestle or manage real estate — Harnsberger believes it’s not about picking one over the other.
“My passion is both. I like to be comfortable in what I am doing, and I am comfortable doing both.”
“The Progressive Liberal” has a few words of wisdom for anyone thinking about jumping in the real estate game. “There will always be naysayers — in fact, 90% of people will tell you not to get into it. You just have to jump right in. Ask yourself this: ‘Are there people right now making money in real estate?’ The answer is yes.”
So whether you’re looking for some real estate advice, a political barb or a little help executing the perfect bodyslam, Daniel “The Progressive Liberal” Richards has you covered both inside and outside the ring.
More from Reggie Wade: