Which of the following US presidents is in the Wrestling Hall of Fame?
Considering Gerald Ford, John Adams, William McKinley and Abraham Lincoln, the answer is: Abraham Lincoln.
Before he became the Commander in Chief, Abraham Lincoln commanded in the wrestling ring. Out of his 300 matches, Honest Abe won a whopping 299 of them.
Abraham Lincoln: the 16th president of the United States, the Civil War's Great Emancipator, and, naturally, a legendary wrestler. A little longer than four score and seven years ago, Lincoln took to participating in (and often winning) wrestling competitions across Kentucky and Illinois. Although wrestling was not yet a formalized sport in the 1800s, crowds would gather around the ring to spectate and gamble for the toughest man in the fight. At the time, competitions were mainly local, with usually just one defending champion per town, so Lincoln's wrestling career took off when the owner of the shop he worked at began promoting Lincoln's prowess.
Lincoln quickly began to attract attention, in turn leading to one of his most incredible wrestling feats in the 1830s. In Salem, Illinois, Lincoln took on the aptly-named defending champion Jack Armstrong at just 21 years old. In one of the biggest bouts of the 1800s, Lincoln looked as if he might lose the match when Armstrong began cheating, yet being the Honest Abe he was, Lincoln tossed the man to the ground in an unbeatable K.O.
Lincoln's tall stature (a whopping 6'4", without a top hat) meant that his wrestling style was slightly unique. His long reach was a significant advantage on competitors, and was often met with trash talking in and out of the ring. Yet, the future president was hardly ever scared off, even going so far as to exclaim, once:
“I’m the big buck of this lick. If any of you want to try it, come on and whet your horns!”
During his political career, Lincoln's wrestling background became a selling point. Citizens and even fellow politicians saw his prowess as a mark of integrity and strength, and would later serve him well in winning the White House.
Learn more about Honest Abe's wrestling history here.