27. Badass Abe
Abraham Lincoln is well known for many things. As The Great Emancipator; as the president who successfully navigated the US through the Civil War; and as the author of the Gettysburg Address, recited by kids on school stages to this day. Less known is that in his youth, Lincoln was a lean, mean, wrestling machine, who performed feats of strength that became part of local legend and frontier lore.
His most famous fight took place shortly after Lincoln, in his early 20s, moved to Salem, Illinois, and was challenged by a local bully named Jack Armstrong. The bout was inconclusive for some time, but when Armstrong resorted to dirty tricks, an enraged Lincoln grabbed him by the neck, and extending his arms, “shook him like a rag doll“, before tossing him to the ground. Standing over his rival, Lincoln then challenged Armstrong’s followers: “I’m the big buck of this lick. If any of you want to try it, come and whet your horns!” Armstrong admitted he’d been fairly beaten, and proclaimed Lincoln “the best feller that ever broke into this settlement“. The duo shook hands, and became friends.