Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Danhausen: We’re All Weirdos (In A Good Way), And Fans Connect With That

Danhausen has a unique connection with fans.

The very nice, very evil Danhausen was profiled by Dan Brooks for The New York Times Magazine and he spoke about the evolution of his persona in wrestling. Donovan Danhausen got his start in Michigan and later found regular work on the Florida indie scene. Dissatisfied with how things were going, Danhausen knew a change was needed because he wasn’t having fun anymore.

Danhausen climbed the ladder from hand to known amateur, then local headliner and traveling feature talent, but he remained firmly within the world of day jobs and inconsistently reimbursed expenses. By 2017, he had moved to Florida and was plying the local indie circuit as Kid Gorgeous, surviving on a job at Starbucks and what little he earned wrestling at shows within driving distance of Miami. It was not working. Most weeks he would clock in to Starbucks at 5 a.m., clock out at 1 and then travel to an event. One night, after what was supposed to be a chest kick caught him in the throat — a painful injury that briefly made him worry he might lose his ability to speak — he sat in his car and thought, I am not having fun. He was driving a lot, getting hurt and not getting paid. The struggle to sell himself to audiences as a physical specimen felt like skating uphill.

“I was just a bearded guy with the tattoos, trying to be a tough guy, and I’m not a tough guy naturally,” he told The New York Times’ Dan Brooks. “But I can be weird and charismatic, goofy. That’s easy. That’s also a role that most people don’t want to fill.”

Danhuasen has always been open about his affinity for Conan O’Brien and The Simpsonssomething he told Brooks was a bigger part of his background than any kind of formal fighting or improv skills.

“I have no background in anything. I don’t have a wrestling background. I’m not into sports. I don’t have an improv background,” Danhausen said. “I watched wrestling, and I watched ‘The Simpsons.’”

Asked about weaving pop culture references into his gimmick and realizing fans might not “get it” at first, Danhausen noted the connection is still there.

“I think we’re all weirdos, and they can connect with that,” Danhausen said. “In a good way. Good weird.”

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