Without innovation, professional wrestling (much like pretty much any other industry you can think of) would still be stuck in the dark ages. Just think of how different the business is from the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, and even the 2000s.
Of course, this innovation can come in many different forms. Some competitors created a moveset that is unlike anything people have seen for, while others have meshed existing styles to create a unique subset.
But this isn't just about work rate - in fact, some of the people on this list aren't considered technical wrestling innovators by any stretch. Some of them re-defined how promos are delivered. Some of them had a unique look that made them an attraction (and as a result, made their opponents more money, too). Some of them came to the business with a different approach.
Because of all these variables, this was a really fun list to put together. How does someone who re-defines the traditional wrestling interview compare with someone who has a fantastic series of moves and holds? And because we're going back 40-plus years in the criteria, what worked for one particular wrestler in their era wouldn't work for another in another era.
In compiling a list of the Top 50 Innovators, Wrestling Merchandise and Memories looked at the following criteria:
What was truly unique about them?
How influential were they on wrestlers that came after them?
How historically memorable were their personas or contributions?
Granted, this is a highly subjective list, so there's TONS of room for debate. If you'd like to be a part of this conversation, Tweet us at @canadianbulldog using the hashtag #Top50, or leave a comment below.
Ready? Here we go!