5 Badass Nicknames That Were Well-Earned
Nicknames are an incredibly powerful thing to be saddled with. A good one could further cement your place as one of the great cool guys of history, and a bad one could ensure that the rest of your high-school life was about to be an unending terror. Of course, none of this was up to you. There are only two constant rules when it comes to nicknames: everybody secretly wants one, and no one’s allowed to choose their own.
Still, that doesn’t mean that everybody who was lucky enough to draw a sufficiently sick nom de plume was as badass as they seemed. Throughout history, there were certainly a couple people whose nicknames may have exaggerated their traits, or was more of an ironic play. On the other hand were the people you would have been wise to avoid based on first impressions.
Here are five bad-ass nicknames that were more than duly earned…
Aleksandr ‘The Experiment’ Karelin
Flattering, it might not be, but intimidating? Undeniably. If you hear about someone named “The Experiment,” you’d probably assume they were a secret character in the new Mortal Kombat. You’re getting ready to face off with somebody who’s half-man, half-something-else. Luckily for opponents of Aleksandr Karelin, he was, indeed, a human. Unluckily for them, they were still about to get their shit absolutely rocked.
Karelin is considered the greatest heavyweight wrestler in the history of the world. You can’t even catch a break with him being that great but in a lower weight class. Nope, he was 6-foot-4, 289 pounds, and every ounce and centimeter seemed tailor-made to ensure you would not move anymore, hence, “The Experiment.” The only thing scarier than his 13-year undefeated streak was that 10 of those years went by without anyone managing to put up a single point against him.
Chuck ‘Concrete Charlie’ Bednarik
Chuck Bednarik, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and namesake of the award given to the best defensive player in college football every year, was pretty goddamn good at football. This is part of why a lot of people believe his nickname, Concrete Charlie, comes from the brutal hits he would dish out. But in fact, it came from the fact that when he wasn’t playing in the NFL, he had a part-time job literally selling concrete, which is somehow even tougher. The bones of the people he laid out, though, probably didn’t see much difference in the etymology.
Ask a football fan who the toughest guys on the field are by position, and you’ll probably get a debate between offensive line and linebacker. Bednarik played both. Not in different parts of his career either — in the same game. He’d hustle off after playing center with the offense, probably take a shot of whiskey, blast a cigarette and then head out to linebacker. He’s maybe one of the only guys in history who can credibly talk shit on other NFL players who play on both sides of the ball, telling Sports Illustrated with noted disdain about one player, “The guy would catch passes and then go in on the Cardinals’ umbrella defense, and I tell him, ‘Don’t give me that B.S. You’ve got to play every down.”
Simo ‘The White Death’ Hayha
Simo Hayha is somebody you really wouldn’t want to see out on the battlefield. Luckily for you, you never would, as your head would be wet confetti before you even knew he was there. Hayha, known as “The White Death,” was a Finnish sniper in World War II with 505 confirmed kills. Yes, as in he killed 500 people, and then five more. The dude was putting up Call of Duty numbers in real life.
His kill count is right around where any similarities to yoked-out video game operatives end, though. Before becoming the deadliest sniper in history, he was a 5-foot tall farmer. You’d think there’s no possible way Hayha could get more badass, but you’re wrong, for one final, (literally) mind-blowing detail: He did it all with iron sights. He didn’t like the glint of scopes, and thought iron sights were more precise. That is correct, Simo Hayha no-scoped 505 fucking Soviets. The man was a real-life Halo 2 YouTube frag vid.
Jimmy ‘The Ghost with the Hammer in His Hand’ Wilde
If you’re about to square up opposite someone in a boxing ring, and the guy who shrugged off a robe in the other corner stood 5-foot-2 and 150 pounds sopping wet, you’d probably breathe a sigh of relief. It might be only minutes later, returning to the land of the living via smelling salts, that you’d find out that the diminutive man who just sent you to the shadow realm was Welsh boxer Jimmy Wilde.
Even knowing from context here that Wilde is clearly a famously great boxer, you might still make some size-based assumptions. You might be imagining a guy flitting around the ring, using conditioning and stamina to wear his opponents down over time in an evasive masterclass. Again, you’d be wrong, because the man hit like an absolute truck. He won 131 fights in his career, and 99 of those were by knockout. If you got in the ring with Wilde, there was slightly more than a three in four chance it was ending with you unconscious or injured.
And, what, exactly can you do with the enigma that is a 5-foot-2 knockout artist but give him a nickname like “The Ghost with the Hammer in His Hand”?
One of the most iconic nicknames in history doesn’t belong to a human at all, but a ship. One that was certainly imposing in its own right, and still something you wouldn’t want to see bearing down on you at speed. The boat whose given name was the USS Constitution picked up the nickname during the War of 1812, when tales of its impenetrable, iron-like hull made the rounds. Shots fired at the ship were said to bounce off its wooden sides, and continued to do so long enough for the ship to be retired from service in 1855 without ever being sunk. Not only does Old Ironsides have a badass nickname as a legacy, but it racked up its own poem as well.