Dan K is a 34 year old fan of professional wrestling, Minecraft, and fitness.
Who Is Danhausen and Why Should You Care?
I know what you're thinking: "what the hell is a Danhausen, and why should I care?" I know that you're thinking this, because this is what I thought before deciding to give this character a chance. I say character because, while Danhausen is a professional wrestler contracted to All Elite Wrestling, his rise to superstardom will one day take him far beyond the ring. At first glance, you can tell that this isn't your typical boots-and-tights wrestler, but what you may not realize is the immense potential hidden within Danhausen.
So what is this character? In his own words, Danhausen is "Conan O'Brien, if he was possessed by a demon." That is a very accurate assessment, even if it only scratches the surface of the Danhausen character. To get to the reason to love Danhausen, you have to dig deep into what drives this character and the man behind it.
Danhausen: The Character
If someone were to ask me to describe the Danhausen character, I would say that he is a demonic, inter-dimensional entity who is very rich, very powerful, very evil. He uses comedy to draw people in and distract them from his nefarious intents. He seeks world domination and celebrity status. He will infect your mind and bend your will to fit his needs. And while this all sounds quite sinister, it is all in good fun. He is a cartoon character in a human world, brought to life by a Detroit native who really isn't that different from his fans. Similar to the Elvira, Mistress of the Night, character, Danhausen is inspired by horror but is not a horror character. He has successfully blended genres to create something unique.
Donovan Danhausen: The Man
If you truly want to learn about Danhausen, the place to start is his YouTube channel: Love that Danhausen. There, you will find videos showcasing Danhausen's love of horror, superheroes, 90's pop culture, comedy, and pro wrestling (of course). Watching some of these videos, you come to learn that Danhausen is not so different to many of us who grew up on Nickelodeon, MTV, Cartoon Network, and Attitude Era WWF wrestling. He is a product of the 90's, of the generation raised by cable television. Danhausen embodies the very ethos of Millenials everywhere: believe in yourself and pursue passion, above all else.
Of course, the character of Danhausen seeks money, power, and fame. He is pure evil, though he also has a very nice side, as well. His motto tells you everything you need to know about Danhausen: "Very nice, very evil." The man, himself, has said it best, "nobody wants to like someone who is too evil." This is a lesson he learned through grafting on the independent wrestling scene. Originally, Danhausen was only evil, and while his appearance was unique enough to draw some eyes, it was only when he began exploring his very nice side that he was able to really gain traction.
The Rise of Danhausen
I first heard of Danhausen in the early days of Covid lockdowns and event closures. I am a huge fan of pro wrestling, but I typically like my wrestling to remain serious and sports-like, so I was not interested in Danhausen, in the slightest. To me, he looked like a comedic wrestler that might peak on the independent scene and never reach the highest levels in wrestling. A guy who shows up for October wrestling shows, then disappears for the rest of the year. I never bothered to look into the character, because I just thought that it wasn't for me. Over the next couple of years, I kept hearing about this guy, and I started to become curious about the character. Moments in Danhausen's matches were going viral, such as the "Tequilla Dance," and he started to penetrate the wider wrestling conversations. Signing for Ring of Honor in late 2020, Danhausen was beginning to show up on more and more people's radar.
Throughout 2021, Danhausen was being featured on bigger and bigger platforms, including an appearance in human-form on the Conan O'Brien Needs a Fan podcast. Interviews with Chris Van Vliet and Renee' Pacquette followed, and pretty soon it became difficult for anyone with an interest in wrestling to ignore Danhausen. Finally, in January 2022, at AEW's Beach Break Danhausen emerged from under the ring during an Orange Cassidy match, launching into the mainstream. This is just the beginning of Danhausen's success, as he is destined for greater things.
What's Next for Danhausen?
Now that Danhausen has arrived in AEW, much larger audiences are going to be exposed to his comedic genius, and he will become quite popular. This is an entity that combines multiple genres into one package, and he will appeal to a very wide audience. While wrestling has been the vehicle to get Danhausen into the public eye, there will come a time that he outgrows the ring. He is simply too talented, too funny, too driven, and too relatable to be held back. Danhausen the character likes to say that he is motivated by money, fame, and power; that he wants TV shows, cartoons, action figures, and comic books dedicated to his likeness. I only hope that when these things come to fruition, and Danhausen is a world-wide celebrity, that he retains that relatability and humility he has shown during his rise. Very nice, very evil, indeed.