AJ Styles & Ric Flair
When Ric Flair showed up in TNA in January 2010, no one was quite sure what his role would be. However, Flair quickly aligned himself with TNA World Champion AJ Styles, with both men becoming heels. Flair managed to mold Styles after his iconic persona, giving him the moniker "The New Nature Boy".
Although they aren't nearly as prominent as they were 20 or 30 years ago, managers have always added a certain something to the wrestlers they represent.
Managers are more than just the brains behind the brawn: they're mouthpieces; they're advocates; they're agitators, and they can run interference when the situation calls for it.
Last year, we ranked the Top 50 Wrestling Managers in a piece that had quite a bit of debate afterwards. But the top managers have had clients that didn't quite work out for them: Bobby Heenan had The Missing Link, Paul Heyman had Curtis Axel; Jimmy Hart had Hugh Morrus.
But what about some of the better pairings in the industry? In ranking the Top 50 Wrestler-Manager Combinations, we looked at the following criteria:
How successful was the partnership at its peak?
Did the wrestler and manager have common goals?
How beneficial was it to the wrestler that they had that particular manager at that particular time in their career?
One last note: we purposely excuded bodyguard, "heaters" and the like from this because they really aren't proper managers but more"hired muscle". So if can't find Virgil or Chyna here despite them being in different people's corners over the years, that's why.
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!
Captain Lou Albano managed some 15 tag teams to success during his legendary career, but few fit the Captain's slovenly persona better than The Moondogs. In the early 1980's, Albano managed Moondogs Rex, King and Spot to the WWF Tag Team Championship, as the savages defended the gold against all comers.
The Moondogs & Captain Lou Albano
This particular pairing was a contrast in styles: Jimmy Hart was a skinny troublemaker that squeaked instructions out through his megaphone, while Earthquake was a giant wall of a man that liked to crush other wrestlers. This proved to be a great combination when combating the likes of Hulk Hogan.