Tuesday, December 18, 2018

2018 Cavey Awards: Matches

Welcome back to the 2018 Cavey Award ceremony!

It's day two of my fourth annual Cavey Awards, which means I'm honoring my favorite matches of the year. It's always good to remind you guys of the time window that we're talking about. This year, it's December 1, 2017 and November 30, 2018. And eligible matches are based on when I first watched them, not when they were released.

This is always tricky, but never more than this year. 2018 was really up-and-down for me, but there were more than enough ups to make it tough. I had a preliminary list of 27 possible winners that I narrowed to 18 then 12 then struggled to get to my goal of an even 10. I think every one of these matches is a winner. And I played a little fast and loose with the definition of "match" by giving a special compilation award for a special event, too.

The biggest change I made this year was during selection. I almost eliminated the categories entirely this year. I was worried about forcing things, but I handled it by not choosing by category. And should the second best squash really not get an award if it was a great match? I decided I didn't like that idea this year when I saw my favorites.

How it worked in 2018 is this ... I selected the top 10 then assigned categories to them. The end result is a range of matches that more accurately reflect my favorites of the year, but it could feel a little more arbitrary than in previous years.

And now, without further ado, here are my favorite matches of 2018:

(1) Favorite Overall: Ty Alexander vs. Bruno LaBestia (BGEast)

What I said then ... "This match is right up my alley. From the studs to the gear to the setting, it has a lot of what I consider sexy." (My original review)

Obviously this is the very hardest choice. I went back-and-forth on this one, but I ultimately landed here. I think this match is incredibly sexy and fun. It features two 2018 Cavey Award winners against each other. They look great. The gear is right. In a ring. Awesome action. Clear chemistry. Everything about it works perfectly and it's held up on repeat viewings.

(2) Favorite Squash: Steel vs. Frey: Custom Series (Thunders Arena)

What I said then ... "This is everything it promises to be and more. If this type of video is your thing, I think it's perfect." (My original review)

There's never any shortage of squashes. So many worthy matches and videos that I'm bound to doubt myself and change my mind repeatedly. And you're bound to think I'm nuts, too, because I didn't pick what you think is a far better choice. After all, virtually all of my Favorite Wrestler winners were involved in at least one squash in 2018 and yet, none of them actually clinched the favorite squash award.

Steel vs. Frey was the first eligible match for 2018. I watched and reviewed it in early December 2017 and it stuck with me for the entire year. As sneak attack muscle beatdowns go, I think it's pretty much perfect. Big, sexy musclemen dishing and taking. Vengeance. Dominance. Humiliation. Brutality. Sexy suffering. There's no big surprise here, but that's because we don't need one.

(3) Favorite Submission Match: Chase Addams vs. Kirk Donahue (BGEast)

What I said then ... "This is what BGEast does best. It's the combination of top notch action, acting and passion that creates a strong storyline with drama and tension." (My original review)

It might seem weird to pick a ring match for submissions, but this match has an incredible collection of submissions. Chase is one of the most creative wrestlers working, using his flexibility to bend and shape his opponents like pretzels. Kirk is great at selling the holds with his expressive face and cries of pain. And the jobber even gets sexy submissions, too.

(4) Favorite Fun Match: Golden Boy/Gorilla vs. Joker/Quinn (UCW)

What I said then ... "I love a great tag match and this qualifies. What a blast. Joker and Quinn steal the show with skill and strategy, while The Gorilla makes an ideal face-in-peril that I'd watch any time, anywhere." (My original review)

Tag matches are rare, but especially rare are ones that successfully play off all the tropes of the genre. The last time someone made a great one was 2016 and it won it all at the Caveys and BGEast's Besties. This year, we had two from UCW that were both awesome. It was a tough choice between them, but I went with the first one released.

(5) Smartest Match: Blayne vs. Frey/Viking (Thunders Arena)

What I said then ... "This video could not have been executed better. It's clever, entertaining and perfectly produced to make you believe that Blayne can whip their asses." (My original review)

This was in my top five for Favorite Overall Match of 2018, too. That might sound crazy, but this is the smartest match of the year. It's an amazing accomplishment from both a performance and technical standpoint. I've never seen 1-on-2 done better thanks to the careful plotting, thoughtful execution and brilliant performances. You will believe that a Blayne can kick ass. That alone makes it award-worthy.

(6) Favorite Erotic Match: Alex Costa vs. Quin Quire (Muscleboy Wrestling)

What I said then ... "Everything about it just works as a showcase for a great erotic match. Alex takes things up a notch, which I thought was impossible. Quin’s moved from being a lucky fucker who gets to be with my fantasy men to an actual fantasy man, too." (My original review)

While a lot of my choices are erotic, if I judge solely on that measure and nothing else, this one rises above them all for 2018. It does everything right, which is why no one could ever make it through in one sitting. Alex reaches a new level of sexiness and Quin is surprisingly captivating. The action feeds the eroticism and vice versa. Yum.

(7) Favorite Chemistry: Duke Russo vs. Apollo: The Rematch (Movimus)

What I said then ... "They're stunning, charismatic, intense and share a smooth chemistry. And the rookie scores a huge win just by getting Duke's obvious respect for his ability. In fact, Apollo is probably Duke's best opponent yet." (My original review)

Chemistry is a squishy concept. You know it when you feel it and you know it when you don't. There are a lot of guys who share some kind of rapport, but what I loved about Duke and Apollo's relationship was the evolution of it. You have the best mat wrestler in the business against an eager and muscular rookie. It's training that's both intense and respectful.

(8) Favorite Pro vs. Joe: Austin Tyler vs. Nick Flex (Muscleboy Wrestling)

What I said then ... "This is my favorite Nick Flex match ever. It has so much I love and nothing I don't. It all works terrifically with great chemistry, bodies and action." (My original review)

I loved this match. For me, it was MBW's best of the year and it was actually the runner-up for my favorite overall match of the year. It's still my favorite at MBW from both guys. On a different day, it could've won it all for many reasons. The guys. The gear. The grind. So brilliant. So rough. So sweaty. So hot. It was near-perfect and I've enjoyed it several more times since I posted my review.

(9) Favorite Pro vs. Pro: Garrett Thomas vs. Elite Eliot (Wrestler4Hire)

What I said then ... "This in an incredibly sexy squash. Garrett's a convincing heel with the skills to manhandle a young, buff stud. As good as the bigger pro is, it's rising pro Elite Eliot in the jobber role that really shines." (My original review)

This was a toughie. So many choices. I came back to this one because of how simple and sexy it is. Eliot looks amazing as the jobber in yellow briefs that showcase his amazing butt. Garrett is the perfect contrasting heel. The action is crisp, working as a pro match, but with the sexy sensibility of an underground match.

(10) Favorite Bold Move: Wrestling with Pride (BGEast)

It's not the first time I've awarded something I haven't reviewed, but it's a rare occurrence. I just never got to write my thoughts about this event as things got away from me. Hosting a pro event is something that happens all over the country every weekend. And BGEast used to hold live wrestling at gay clubs. But what was ambitious and impressive to me was the combining of our favorite video stars with working pros and delivering a truly BGEast event. It was authentic, entertaining and made me wish I'd been there.

Congratulations to the 26 wrestlers and 6 promotions involved in these 9 great matches + 1 awesome compilation. I'm happy with the changes that allowed me to recognize a better variety of matches. I did break my streak of being a predictor of the Besties as Ty/Bruno was eligible this year for me, but last year for them, so I guess we'll all know what it's like to be surprised again.

Now I'd like to read what you think. What matches stood out to you this year and why? You can use my categories or make up your own. There are no wrong answers!

Tomorrow, I close out this year with the most shocking Caveys post ever. Stay tuned for my favorite promotion of the year.



  1. I was not sure how to do my list. To give it titles or not. Im going to keep it simple and just mention some matches worthy to watch

    Alex Costa - ANYTHING HE APPEARS ON. Cant get any simpler than that. He is a bit crazy, but in a great way. Just pick any match and he will make it happen.
    But if you had to pick one, pick Alex Costa vs Quin Quire.

    Bif Farell vs Franco Vetti - This match brings two different types of muscle hunks. Fire plug vs lean tall muscle boy. And the two guys SELL SELL SELL. BGEast had a home run with this one because, Franco takes tough abs abuse, and Bif Farell doesnt hold back in unleashing his fury. Its not a squash. Not even close. You can see Bif get frustrated as Franco has great wrestling moves. Thats what makes this work. Franco holds his own and that sets off Bif. He doesnt come out as a heel but as a guy that wants to win and at the same time teach a hard lesson to the new guy. And Franco is one eager student of pain. Great Match.

    Justin Powers vs Ethan Slade - Just plain hot. I think it set up the rest of the year for MBW. Not into these type of "matches" but it worked.

    Brute/Joey King vs Cason - Two different opponents, but technically same match against Cason. That is what works against it. Same result as well. Didnt like that. So why like it? Because Thunders knew that fans want Cason to win but also suffer. So you get both. And he suffers in a great way and his body is put on display, over and over and over and over. Winner.

    I have more but this is exhausting. Not sure how Miller can do this! HAHA!

    1. All good matches. Biff v Franco made it pretty far in my deliberations.

  2. I'd like most to the Blayne match. I usually avoid 2/1 matches. They're generally predictable. Especially since Blayne is jobbered so often. Some of his recent matches have shown just how much studliness and skill he can bring to a contest.

    From what you've GIFed, it looks like a strong, positive match. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the Share!

    I like the piledriver and the enthusiastic backbreaker/knee. I've been reviewing the holds and moves in the thousands of Images in my Photo Albums, and so far only three piledrivers, in contrast to the 40-50 for others like the surprising front runner, the camel clutch. It's a favorite move for me, but many promotions avoid it and not all the Images are positive.

    1. Yeah, for me, Blayne vs Frey and Viking was shockingly good. I think that’s why it’s stuck with me.

      I GIF a lot of piledrivers, because they are so rare. And if the guys lands right, with legs open and a slight twitch, I’m in heaven.

      A lot of camel clutches aren’t great for me. I don’t like the standing ones, because they look too fake.