Sunday, December 18, 2016

2016 Cavey Awards: Wrestlers

Welcome to the 2016 Cavey Awards.

The coveted Cavey

A year ago, I handed out my inaugural Cavey Awards to my favorite wrestlers, matches and producers. I was really happy with how it all turned out, so I definitely wanted to continue. Now, I have made some changes, but nothing too dramatic.

I am still calling the winners "Favorites" rather than "Best". I feel like "Best" sounds like an objective measure that can be argued, but someone's "Favorites" is clearly personal, subjective and can't legitimately be debated. Questioned, maybe, but not argued.

The rules stay the same. For each category, I have (a) watched the wrestler in action, (b) seen the match, or (c) purchased something from the producer. Only videos I watched for the first time between 12/1/15 - 11/30/16 are eligible, regardless of when it was released or purchased.

Now, on with the show ...

Favorite Wrestlers

Up first, we have the talent. I've made two changes here:

(1) Increased the number of award winners from 6 to 10. I did this for two reasons. First, I watched more wrestling this year than in 2015, so I've compensated for that. And second, it was simply too tough and time-consuming to keep messing with the list.

(2) Expanded the number of categories. I've kept the four big ones - wrestler, jobber, heel, rookie - and allowed myself to double up on them. I've also added two new categories: Flirt and Pro Crossover.

And so, without any further ado, let's start my 2016 Cavey Awards ...

Favorite Wrestler: Ty Alexander (BGEast, Wrestler4Hire)

What a year for Ty. The highlight for me was the Trophy Boy making his debut in a super-sexy battle with Beauxregard. It's a fantastic pro look and character, but Ty's success doesn't end with the gear. He shined (shone?) with amazing jobber performances (vs. Guido, vs. Lon), sexy chemistry (vs. Beauxregard, vs. Ethan Andrews), and even a dominant turn (vs. Chace).

The Trophy Boy rocked the ring

Ty comes up a winner ... in the Caveys at least

Favorite Wrestler: Duke Russo (Movimus)

Talk about a natural. I constantly say that Duke is perfectly built for wrestling, but his appeal is deeper than my primal lust for him. He moves so smoothly and wrestles so astutely that I could seriously watch him roll on the mats over and over. But what really pushed him to the top (and me over the edge) was his cocky performances against CT (rematch) and Shon Tracy. In fact, Russo as the Connor McGregor of Movimus sounds like a great plan for 2017.

I hate to interrupt, but good news ... you won a Cavey!

Congratulations, Duke!

Favorite Jobber: Biff Farrell (BGEast)

Biff is a handsome blond fireplug with big muscles and winning charm. He had multiple great matches this year. I will say that almost didn't give this award to him. He's an awesome jobber, but I'm a little concerned that he's becoming one-note and he went down a little too easy in some matches. His body of work is excellent, but I'd love to see him have more matches where he's at least competitive and possibly wins.

Congrats, Biff, I love to watch you get your ass kicked

Now get back to suffering, big boy!

Favorite Jobber: TAK (Thunders Arena)

Gotta love Tak. He might not win many matches, but he won this award. I've talked about how I'm not a fan of when jobbers just lie down and take it. The All-American Kid is the best at what he does and what he does is lose with boundless attitude and sexy style. In the past 12 months, I liked him against Jersey and Eagle, but it was Tak vs Talon that vaulted him to the top.

Tak's a winner for losing like a boss

Tak even sells a congratulatory hug.

Favorite Heel: Kid Karisma (BGEast)

Kid kicks ass and loves it. Honestly, in spite of my love for Kid Karisma, he wasn't on my radar for this award through September. Then two things happened: a feisty match with Carter Alexander and a squash of Mister E. I loved both matches and the gorgeous ginger leapt to the front of the heel pack. Always spectacular, Kid is everything a heel should be.

"Who's the winner, boy? C'mon, who's the winner?"

It's you, Kid! You're the winner!

Favorite Heel: Flash LaCash (BGEastWrestler4Hire)

Another guy not on my radar until halfway into the year. Jump back to June. Flash battles Van Skyler and a certain blogger falls in love. As the heel, Flash was charming, fun and sexy as he methodically tore the smaller jobber apart. I called it a star turn for Flash, but it was also an awakening for me. I've watched Flash several more times and he continues to impress me.

Now that's how a badass does it

"I'd like to thank my jobbers for being so pathetic ..."

Favorite Rookie: Chase Michaels (UCW)

Like the "Best New Artist" Grammy, this one might be a jinx. Last year's winner Jersey disappeared from the scene, so hopefully my favorites do better this year.

Chase might've had the most intriguing year of anyone in underground wrestling. This guy could've just been a regular UCW wrestler rolling around the garage. Instead, Chase started as Nero's plaything, but somehow transformed himself into a legitimate UCW Champ. He wrestles well, looks great and puts on a winning show. I've enjoyed his ride a lot and can't wait to see where he goes from here.

Chase won me over right away

Show some respect for a Cavey Award winner

Favorite Rookie: Steel (Thunders Arena)

Now this guy is a bodybuilder I can believe in. Steel has emerged as one of my favorite additions to the Thunders roster. He's got the requisite muscles and looks, but even better, he's got the incredible combination of talent and the best attitude on a muscleman that I've seen in a while. Sexy and cool, this is a muscleman who knows how to bring it.

Steel is ridiculously sexy

But it's his attitude and skill that gets him the award

Favorite Flirt: Nero Angelo (UCW)

I don't think the category is named right, but I couldn't think of a better one. Nero really made wrestling sexy, fun and yes, flirty this year. A lot of guys like to play it straight on the mats or in the ring. That's hot and I like it, but let's recognize and appreciate a guy who boldly and brazenly savors the sexy side of wrestling. Importantly, it's not all a joke. Nero is a talented wrestler who can back up his attitude with brutal punishment.

"Thanks for the help, sweetie."

"I won, I won, I won!"

Favorite Pro Crossover: Billy the Kid (Thunders Arena)

This may be the biggest upset of all. It's a choice I've questioned a lot, because it's emotional rather than logical. Out of all the many, many talented and stunning options, I somehow just couldn't not pick Billy the Kid. He's a hot as hell southern boy and every single one of his matches was a winner for me. For me, he's the total package of pro awesomeness playing in our world.

Yeehaw! You're a 2016 winner, big guy!

Looks like someone's jealous of your win, Billy.

So that's it, my top ten for 2016. You might agree with some and disagree with others. Please let me know some of YOUR favorites in the comments section. Give some love to the guys you like, too. And who knows? Maybe you'll influence my 2017 choices. One of the best parts of last year was hearing about other people's choices and recommendations. I discovered great new wrestlers (e.g., Biff) and matches (e.g., Nick Diesel's best rope matches) thanks to readers.

Tomorrow, we're looking at matches.



  1. The CAVEY's are back!

    I just have a couple of my picks...For heel, as much as I like KK, I would go with Guido. The guy is just over the top. He has the mean side, but when he is attacked, he squeals and it seems like he is getting killed, so damn theactrical. Awsome. Then absolutely agree with Steel as Favorite Rookie. His body is insane and he looks and acts so playful. Lots of room for improvement, which I hope he does.
    As a runner up would be Eagle. Another hottie, but he warms up to the matches a bit tad late. He does get into them, and his intensity shines, but he can do better.
    Honrable mention...Scrappy. He is a small muscle man. Very Fun.
    I would give kudos to Thunders because they are hitting my sweet spot.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I expected Guido to repeat, but I didn't really see him in the back half of 2016. Either he disappeared or I missed him.

      Eagle didn't qualify for rookie this year. I saw his first match at the end of November last year, just before the 2015 cutoff, so timing was weird for him.

      And Scrappy was definitely considered, but he didn't quite break through for me this year. It's tough with so many guys. I have two Scrappy reviews coming later this week, but those are 2017-eligible matches, so they didn't count.

  2. I get that this is a matter of opinion, but it kinda hurts to see Scrappy left off this list. Maybe you didn't see enough of him, maybe you didn't see any of his matches, or maybe you did and he's not your thing (though I find that hard to believe), but he is really incredible and is easily in my top 3 wrestlers of the year. Faaar ahead of Biff whose luster wore off for me after 2 or 3 matches and even ahead of his fellow Thunders newcomer Steel, who is definitely sexy (my goodness that dude has a rockin' body), but his matches all feel the same. I would also add Jake Jenkins brief appearance this year at Thunders as a highlight, Van Skyler is ALWAYS a winner, and Bolt from Thunders Arena all in my top wrestlers of the year.

    My biggest letdown overall would be Rock Hard Wrestling. Even though 2015 wasn't particularly good for them, 2016 has been even worse and that's saying something when you consider that Alex Waters finally RETURNED to the ring. If that company doesn't turn things around FAST they might as well close up shop.

    P.S. I still do not get the love people have for Ty...not one bit...I don't find his face or his body attractive (so I definitely have no desire to see him stripped down as he likes to do) and I don't like his style either...but HEY...that's me.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Scrappy had a good year, but he didn't quite breakthrough to be a winner for me. He's cute and fun. Like I said above, I've watched two of his matches this month and those are reviewed in a few days.

      Similar to Scrappy, I liked Van and Bolt this year, but there's a finite number of guys and they just didn't breakthrough.

      Jake would've won Favorite Return over Alex and Vinny, but I dropped the reward along the way.

      And I think you've made your view of Ty clear at various blogs, so you're right, that's you and it's your choice. I don't get the appeal of lots of guys, too. I just choose not to comment on them.

    2. I sure hope these guys who appear half naked in wrestling videos would be able to take criticism from some of us fans. If not, they may be in the wrong business.

    3. Thanks for the comment. It's an interesting topic. I agree that putting oneself out there invites commentary, good and bad. We're all savvy enough on internet culture that anyone who does it should know what they're in for, but commentary is a two-way street. As fandom goes, gay men who are into wrestling is a small community. It serves no purpose to eat our own. If you're going to call someone out, it's reasonable to expect to be called out.

      And so, I disagree that it has anything to do with what anyone is able to take. Criticism seems to go over just fine. I've posted several negative reviews about certain videos and no wrestler or producer has ever asked me to remove a post or a comment. No producer has cut me off. As far as I know, no wrestler has yet stopped wrestling simply because of any posts or comments. So it looks like everyone can take whatever is said just fine.

      While it's not about what they can take, I think it's about what they deserve, which is respect for their effort. To your point, they're willing to go out and wrestle half-naked in videos for our amusement. Wow, that's cool. And they get very little in return in the grand scheme of things. No one's retiring off what they earn for this. Let's respect that. No fan is ever forced to buy something or someone they're not interested in. It's pretty easy to avoid wrestlers, gear and themes we don't think we'll like. It's the action that's tough to judge and where I think reviews are helpful.

      While I've posted negative reviews of videos, I'd like to think that I haven't gone after wrestlers or companies on a personal level or repeatedly. There are people and producers who aren't my favorites, that's natural. I don't continue to buy all their videos. I don't repeatedly post about my dislike of them. And I don't continuously question others for liking what they like as though those fans are part of some mass delusion and their enjoyment needs to be bludgeoned out of them.

    4. Well said Alex I've seen this hoochie guy post his negativity before obviously he is toxic. If you don't like Ty it's simple don't watch. Keep your negativity on your own blog. The fact is this is Alexa blog and if he likes ty (obviously he does because he reviews a lot of Ty's matches positively) then he can award him how he sees fit. And it's not about if these guys can take criticism. It's about them going out and entertaining us as fans. It's about the face that so many of the hot bodybuilder guys you love so much are probly straight and wouldn't give you the time of day. But you harp on the guy who 1 is part of our wrestling community 2. Is part of our gay community and 3 has he balls to get on camera and time after time put on positively reviewed matches by alex bars and a few other bloggers. Alex stated that he's not biased in his reviews. He has reviewed positive and negative matches. But he doesn't body shame and is always respectful. As for not understanding y ty shows his ass. It's erotic wrestling what's wrong with showing skin or getting naked maybe it's part of the match but in reality who cares but please keep pining for your hunky straight Bodybuilder's to take their trunks off by all means.

    5. Thanks for your comment. Being respectful Is my ask for everyone. Let's use comments to talk about wrestling, not each other.

  3. Hey alex thanks so much for the vote it's greatly appreciated. 😁

    1. You deserve it. You had a nice variety of great matches this year against some great opponents.

      Keep up the awesome work!

  4. Thank you for recognising Duke Russo with a Cavey!

    1. You're welcome. Thank you for bringing him to us and for all the other great action this year.