Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016 Cavey Awards: Promotions

Welcome to the third and final day of the 2016 Cavey Awards.

I've named my favorite wrestlers of 2016. And I've named my favorite matches. Now, it's time to recognize the producers. These are the guys who make it all happen. The wrestlers might still be off wrestling, but we wouldn't be able to see it. They really put their blood, sweat and tears into these companies. It's not easy and even though I don't like everything, I respect their entrepreneurial spirit and drive.

These were really tough. Not because of the choices, but to identify the categories. So instead of force-fitting back into roster or action or gear, I’ve decided to give out four Cavey Awards in ranked order - Gold, Silver, Bronze and Honorable Mention. I took into account the wrestling, the roster, and ease of doing business with them.

I spent money with nine producers, so the eligible options are:


#1 Favorite Promotion: UCW

UCW did great things this year and wins the Gold Promotion Cavey. They excelled in talent, action and value.

Let's start with the guys. Lean, athletic and sexy, the talent is better than ever. Top tier talent like Axel, Tyson, Diesel, Quinn and Max were busy all year. Even better, they brought in great new guys like Chase Michaels, Nero Angelo, Kenny Star and Derrick Cole. I don't want to insult anyone, but to me, the new crop of guys is an upgrade.

More importantly, the hot roster gave us some awesome action. They expertly balanced rough, tough chaos and fun, sexy play. Both styles were on fire with some exceptional matches. And they even re-ignited the UCW belt in dramatic fashion with Chase's sandbagging heel turn then a hard-hitting title defense against uber-heel Derrick.

The fact that they did it all with regular, easily downloadable updates at the best price in wrestling makes them winners in my book.

UCW added awesome new talent ...

... and kept the best of their classic stars.

The action stayed fun and sexy ...

... and brutal and hard-hitting.

It all makes UCW a repeat winner for fave promotion.

#2 Favorite Promotion: BGEast

I'm giving my Silver Promotion Cavey to BGEast. The granddaddy of underground wrestling had an excellent year, as well. I liked a ton of their guys and action, as evidenced by the fact that they won more Wrestler and Match Caveys than anyone else. I do wish I could see more, but their distribution system is still the worst in the business. I'm working around it as best as I can, but it counts as a strike against them and dropped them to #2.

BGEast features the most diverse roster of any company. They have a great mix of gay and straight, mature and youthful, amateurs and pros, models and hot regular guys, muscle and lean … you name it. The one knock is that some guys seem to get pigeon-holed into a role (e.g., jobber), but usually it’s because they’re so good at it.

I’d also argue that they also feature the best action. I like the mix of looks, styles and locations, but what really matters is that the wrestling is remarkably seamless. Whether it's due to their training, production or recruitment, BGEast puts out good matches. It feels like they’re wrestling-first and you all know I am, too.

It’s great to see BGEast continuing to deliver year after year. Now if only they'd make it easier for me to enjoy their product.

BGEast has a hot roster with amazing studs ...

... who can tell a sexy story ...

... that grabs you and won't let go.

They've got wrestlers with smooth moves ...

... delivering professional-quality action. Bravo.

#3 Favorite Promotion: Wrestler4Hire

And the Bronze Cavey Award for Favorite Promotion goes to a newcomer to my awards, Wrestler4Hire. W4H forced their way into consideration with a free preview that convinced me to become a paying customer. I’d liked and reviewed numerous matches before they were W4H, but the streaming-only format kept me away post-update. In the end, I joined for three more months at $75 and am really liking the experience.

While I like a lot of the guys on the roster, it’s the pro wrestlers that are the most unique to them. They are so freaking hot and so skilled. Will Favero is a winner, along with Garrett Thomas, Karn, Maverick and more.

Action-wise, there are definitely hits and misses, but I like most of it. It’s a little heavy towards squashes, but with 18 options at any given time, there’s enough to keep me busy. I enjoy many of the scenarios and stories and appreciate W4H trying something different. For example, the superhero costumes are fun and the guys really get into it.

Welcome to the podium, W4H!

W4H came on with a flurry at the end.

The pros are real and they're spectacular.

W4H's pros like to have fun.

And being professionals, they get into their roles. 

The best parts are the big moves from big guys.

#4 Favorite Promotion: Thunders Arena

And lastly, Thunders Arena wins an Honorable Mention Cavey this year. I want to recognize them, because of their exceptional talent and customer-centric distribution (Apple Pay? Yay!). However, the inconsistency in the quality of the actual videos - storyline, wrestling, camerawork - makes them the riskiest of any promotion.

Thunders talent is still the hottest overall. If looks matter most to you, this could be your top promotion. They recruit better than anyone and continue to have an endless supply of beautiful musclemen. In addition to Cavey Award winners like Steel, Tak and Billy the Kid, guys like Bolt, Eagle and Talon earned my money. Thunders also introduced us to hot pros like Joey King and Bucky, bodybuilders Dolf and Tank, and cuties like Scrappy and Jet. And, of course, they brought back Jake Jenkins. I know that there are studs I’ve left out, the list is just that long.

While the guys are universally great looking, the action this year was really hit-or-miss. Some of the wrestling is amazing, but some of it, well, isn't. There were stretches where I bought tons and stretches where I bought nothing. And even good matches are hampered by nonsense and non-endings (e.g., Steel/Eagle, Steel/Tank, Tank/Vinny). Even with sales, they remain the most expensive option, so a miss hurts a little more. I will say that the pros, especially Billy the Kid, delivered outstanding ring matches.

Thunders does seem to really think about us in distribution. The reviews are skewed positive, but they help me avoid mistakes. Even the raves often tell you what kind of match you're getting (when all they praise is the posing, I pass). They mitigate their high prices with frequent sales, which I appreciate. And they introduced Apple Pay, which immediately wins them points in my book (although it didn't work for me on Small Business Saturday).

It all added up to me wanting to give them something, but being unable to go higher than fourth place.

You have to give Thunders kudos ...

... for always finding eager, young muscle.

The pros added a nice element.

So while the action isn't always the best ...

... the highs make me willing to risk the lows.

Summary of 2016 Cavey Awards

Favorite Promotions:
Favorite Matches:
  • Match + Ring Match: Christian/Charlie vs. Ty/Chase (BGEast
  • Mat Match: Duke Russo vs. Case CT Thornton (Movimus
  • Outdoor Match: Kid Karisma vs. Carter Alexander (BGEast
  • Pro vs. Pro Match: Billy the Kid vs. NJustice (Thunders Arena
  • Squash: Flash LaCash vs. Van Skyler (BGEast
  • Superhero Video: Superman vs. Nightmare (Wrestler4Hire)
  • Gimmick Match: Roid Rage: Krush vs. Stan Torum (Krushco)
Favorite Wrestlers:
So that’s it. We’re done with the 2016 Cavey Awards. UCW posts are always my least-viewed reviews, so many of you might disagree, but these are my faves. What are yours? Please share them in the comments! I hope you take a few seconds to do so in the comment box.



  1. Thank you for the Carey's and your thoughtful and insightful look back via words, pictures and GIFs of 2016. May 2017 be an even more embarrassment of riches in regards to underground wrestling!

    1. You're welcome. I'm glad guys are enjoying them. They're definitely not my easiest posts and I go back and forth a lot on certain choices.

      And I hope 2017 makes my choices even harder. It's off to a good start, as my next two reviews are for a pair of related matches that I really liked.

  2. I cant comment much on BG East, UCW since I'm so behind my watching! But I guess I will give my Gold Award or perhaps I will switch it to Platinum Award to go beyond gold to Thunders. Steel, Eagle, Tank, Scrappy, Vinny, Mark Muscle, Dozer, Animal, Beast, Billy the Kid and the list goes on and on and on. Yep, many of these guys need to work more on the wrestling, but man oh man, is that roster filled up with sexy muscle studs. It hits the button time and time again. Even some matches that have quirks in them, Steel vs Eagle, Steel vs Tank for ex...at the end I was still happy. Scrappy is one hell of a suffering little hunk. One guy that is a secret (in a sense) awesome talent is Dozer. That hunky latino sweats, shines, and is a great showman. His whole schtick is sexy and funny at the same time. Well this post is about producers not indiciduals! LOL. But I wanted to express that. Anyways I give Thunders #1 in hopes that the talent keeps EXPANDING like it did this year and hoping that they put a better show. That includes the video editing and the storyline. I like that they are trying different things and that for me is important as even when things don't always click, we know that there is creativity behind what is happening. They are shaking things and trying new stuff. So I hope for the best.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I don't disagree with you. Their roster is awesome. It's all about what you value the most.

    2. I buy more from Thunders than any other producer. First off, as Alex has mentioned, they have an incredible knack for finding the hottest guys. The wrestling isn't the best by any means but if I was watching erotic wrestling primarily for professional-quality wrestling I would just watch professional wrestling. Thunders knows that erotic wrestling needs to also have a mixture of sexy outfits, hot bodies, suffering, posing, taunting, et al. Also, I appreciate the fact that Thunders doesn't resort to doing nude matches.

      However, Thunders isn't perfect. It is a BIT too proud of itself (e.g. their price). I mean Steel vs. Muscle Mark costs $35 without a discount and it's only a 15 minute match! That's just not right. Even if the match was twice as long that would still be too much. Also, I feel like some on the roster use the same moves over and over and over again which can get really old, really fast.

      Unfortunately, many of the other producers that I used to purchase from have gone downhill lately for me: Can-am is all but obsolete to me nowadays, RHW is not far behind them (which is REALLY disappointing as they used to be my Number 1) and BGeast has all but become Twink Central...eh...no thanks.....fortunately companies like UCW and Wrestler4Hire have begun to fill in the gaps those three have left.

    3. Oh I forgot one last thing against Thunders that has bothered me for years: As Alex mentioned, their reviews are skewed positive.

      It's not that their fans think every match is 5 stars, it's that Thunders refuses to post and/or delete any reviews that aren't glowing.

      While they have every right to do this as a private company, it is very deceitful and a really crappy thing to do.

    4. Agree that does suck that they delete it.

    5. But I will say this I don't agree that Bg is twink a central usually a twink if you were to look at it means someone in the very light weight range. 125ish. Almost all of bgeast matches this year have featured larger or middle weight guys not twinks. I can think of only 2-3 that have come out this year that would qualify. UCW guys look a lot more twinky except Nero obviously but they are still a great company withgreat vids.

    6. Thanks for the discussion, guys. I didn't realize that Thunders deleted or didn't post comments. I figured fans were just more motivated to comment. And their value can be tough, but the sales help. I often make a list then buy in bulk, which is why it can take me awhile. Like these Scrappy matches I'm reviewing.

      I do agree that Can-Am and RHW haven't been at the top of their game recently. Both have fallen down my list in the past couple of years. Obviously I like BGE's products more than you. I think they had a great year. And I certainly agree that UCW and Wrestler4Hire have been good, too.

      Overall, I think the industry is in pretty good shape. There's more out there than I can watch.

    7. Twink Central? Seriously? That's simply untrue. No company offers more variety than BG East. We wear our diversity as a badge of honor. And why use "resort to to doing nude matches" as a pejorative? It may not be your cup of tea or mine but for many a match which ends in nudity is the essence of wrestling, classical and modern.
      KL for BG East

  3. Yes, I can personally attest that Thunders does delete reviews. I have written reviews on more than one occasion that were either never posted or were posted but deleted soon after (and usually these are reviews that are rated 3-4 stars). I have also seen others post reviews that weren't 5 stars and later they were gone.

    I can definitely understand if someone is posting a review with a low score just to troll, but if you legitimately don't care for a match that you purchased I don't see why they won't let you post your dissenting opinion.

    I've even tried to take this up with them but nothing came of it. Like I said in my previous comment, it's their company so they can do as they please, but I would think it hurts them in the long run. They have tons of great matches but as with anything there are going to be some duds. If the fans could trust the ratings better they might be more eager to make a purchase.

    1. Thanks for the intel. I agree with you. It's exactly what you said. I bought some 5-star duds, so I don't trust the 'stars' anymore. Instead, I try to use the comments to see what they call out.

  4. Thank you for all your postings. I enjoy your review. I especially enjoy UCW and always check your reviews prior to a purchase. Enjoy your gif's and point of view. My favorites are Axel (I like his fair point of view, calm nature and skill); Quinn Harper (great trash talk and showman); Derrick Cole (great new heal) and Chase Michaels (made great improvements this hear- like his style).

    1. You are welcome. I'm glad you like the UCW posts. You've got some great favorites there, so we're in sync!