Which United States President could have been a WWE Superstar?
This parliamentarian traversed the boundary between politics and pro-wrestling
United States presidents are known for many things, but mainly their feats as politicians or military leaders. But these men have lived half their lives or more before they ever take office, so there’s plenty of time to develop facets of their lives that don’t fit one of those categories.
Yet there’s never been a professional wrestler in the White House, although Abraham Lincoln might come close to qualifying.
Born in 1809, Abraham Lincoln the President was known for being one of the greatest leaders the United States has ever known. He worked to free the slaves and fought to bring the United States back together as the Civil War tore the country apart.
Unfortunately, he was killed by an assassin’s bullet before he ever saw the reconstruction of the country.
But all that came well after a wrestling match that took place some time around 1829. As a young man, Lincoln was working at a local general store but was generally known as a reader with an interest in learning.
At the same time, though, he was tall – 6-foot-4 when the average U.S. male was about 5-foot-8 – and also regarded as athletic and good with an axe.
While his thin frame wouldn’t make him a prototype in the WWE, his natural build made him well big enough to stand out in the 1800s.
That led Denton Offutt, the owner of the store where Lincoln worked, to boast about the strength of his employee, which led to a wrestling match between Lincoln and Jack Armstrong.
The leader of a local band of ruffians called the Clary’s Grove Boys, Armstrong would’ve been the biggest heel on the block with Offutt serving as Lincoln’s manager or advocate, to borrow Paul Heyman’s term.
By most accounts, the match was a back-and-forth affair until Lincoln got the upper hand. In some stories, he was angry about dirty tactics by Armstrong, but in any regard, Lincoln began to toss his opponent around enough to enrage the rest of the Clary’s Grove stable.
He offered to fight them all, but the story goes that, impressed by Lincoln’s prowess, Armstrong called them off and complimented his opponent.
The match may have also included Lincoln picking up Armstrong by the neck and shaking him around like a rag doll, something like a cross between Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker, which would be quite the scary combination.
"Boys, Abe Lincoln is the best fellow that ever broke into this settlement,” Armstrong is quoted as saying. “He shall be one of us."
The story became part of the lore surrounding Lincoln as he became president, and that continued long after his death in 1865. Perhaps we never got to see him in action in the ring, but it would’ve been interesting to see how “Honest Abe” would’ve stacked up against the “Dirtiest Player in the Game” Ric Flair or Eddie Guerrero and his lying, cheating ways.
And who knows? Maybe he could’ve put on a little weight and been a world champion.