Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 Year in Review + 2019 Preview

I'd always been told that time moves faster as you get older, but I think it's just hitting me now. This year flew by like it didn't even happen. Wow. I was really glad to get a few weeks off here at the end of the year, although it's the by-product of not taking much vacation during the year. Oh well. This year did, in fact, happen and this is the time of year when we get to look back and forward.

Aryx provided me with a
high point in 2018!

2018 was a difficult but successful year for the blog. Successful in that I made it through, met all my deadlines and posted regularly. Views and comments continued to be strong, so that's a good sign. Growth slowed to 13% versus 2017, but that's not surprising. This is a mature blog now as we approach four years. It makes sense that there are fewer new readers coming in and that other folks have decided if they like my content or not.

Highlights include ...
  • 176 posts (there is one more post to come)
  • 450+ comments (not including my replies)
  • 650,000+ views
  • Passed 1,100 Twitter followers
  • Enjoyed a fun Q+A with JJ Allen
  • Received a personal message from one of my all-time faves ... Aryx Quinn. It even had an incredible 15-second 'thank you' video attached (that's where the above GIF comes from). It was in response to my review of his match against Danny Gage. Aryx wrote: "You brought back so very many great memories for me!" And the video was filmed overlooking the beaches of Rio. As you can see, he was shirtless with some chest hair ... woof! I really appreciate that he took time out of his life to do it.
  • I also received messages from many other wrestlers and producers. I won't call anyone out for fear of missing someone, but all of them were awesome!

JJ Allen opened up for us.

So, that was the good stuff. On the other side, 2018 was difficult for a few reasons. Most of all, I have a fairly aggressive schedule. Not Joe-aggressive with posts every day. That's just insanely impressive to me, but I averaged a post almost every two days. I know that my editing has been non-existent and I know there are just so many mistakes and typos. I apologize for that, but I'm a one-man operation and it's all free.

The 25 stories were complex posts that required a lot of planning and time. I finished many stories very close to posting. In both November and December, I posted the preview without having the 15th story completed (fortunately, I only need the upfront for that post) and I'm doing that again in January. I do miss the days of being seven months ahead on stories and having lots of things to review, but I'm not sure that'll ever happen again.

Some stories were only finished at the last minute.

As you gathered from the Caveys, reviews were often a challenge as well. Maybe this is a result of watching too many videos or too many videos featuring the same wrestlers. It's good for the wrestlers to wrestle a ton, but it does get tiring as a viewer and reviewer. I didn't watch a single new video for a few weeks this month, so I think that'll help.

And lastly, I'm always disappointed to see personal nastiness creep into comments, especially when directed at wrestlers and producers. Complaints directed at me, I can handle, but I might get a little feistier when replying to insults that don't directly address the video or review. Behind the scenes politics needs to live elsewhere. I loathe the idea of deleting anything that isn't spam, but I also don't want the men who actually make this all possible to get discouraged by keyboard warriors when visiting what should be a fun place.

Let's keep the drama in the ring.

Speaking of fun ... here are some of the specific successes for both stories and reviews.

Story Highlights

A lot of you guys love Cody. I knew this already, but 2018 affirmed it once again. In the four years of this blog, only superhero stories have done better in terms of views. So far this year, Cody's private match against Buck is my top performing story. His Cave match against Ram is the third most read. And he was heavily featured in the fifth place story: my 150th story, a mystery tale featuring ten of the hottest hunks in the Cave universe trapped in a creepy mansion during a brutal storm.

Other stars outperformed, too. Beau getting his ass kicked pleased you, as you made that my second most viewed story. And Xaq's private match against Young Love was number four. It's interesting how some characters just consistently succeed year after year. I will also add that Cody's October story and Xaq's November story have surpassed every earlier posted story all the way back to mid-July. By my four year post, they will be top stories, too.

4/1: Number One

7/1: Number Two

1/1: Number Three

6/15: Number Four

6/1: Number Five

Review Highlights

I posted about Thunders Arena more than any other promotion in 2018. I talked Cason more than any other wrestler this year, but you also read the posts. Cason vs. Blayne was my biggest review of the year from any company, likely driven by the Climb of Shame GIF. Cason also appeared in all of my top five Thunders reviews: Cason vs ... (1) Blayne, (2) Scrappy, (3) Viking, (4) Joey King/Brute, and (5) Blayne/Justice.

I'm pretty this GIF is the reason why this review has
50% more views than my number two review in 2018.

BGEast was featured a lot, as well. I posted a lot of older content, like my December reviews and my three One-Hit Wonders posts, but you liked the new content. The thing I think is the most interesting is that my Besties ballot was the second most viewed BGEast post and my fourth biggest 'review' of the year overall. And it's not a fluke. My Besties tweet was popular, too, so there was something about reading it that interested a lot of you.

Even my BESTIES tweet had high engagement

In terms of reviews for BGEast, Ty Alexander vs. Bruno LaBestia was the top BGE performer just slightly above my Besties ballot (and second overall behind the Cason/Blayne juggernaut). Kayden Keller featured in my third (vs. Richie Douglas) and fourth (vs. Carter Alexander) most viewed BGE posts, while Jonny Firestorm vs. Lane Hartley rounded out the top five.

You liked reading about the 2018 Cavey award winner.

Last up, I covered a lot of Muscleboy Wrestling matches, as well. Derek Bolt vs. Quin Quire was the most read MBW post, in no small part to Twitter where Derek Bolt himself re-tweeted me. Alex Costa was featured in my #2 (vs. Nick Flex) and #3 (vs. Bruno) MBW reviews. JJ Allen vs. Taylor Reign was my fourth biggest MBW post. And Nick Flex was also in #5 (vs. Justin Powers).

We all enjoyed meeting big Derek Bolt.

I did a few more special posts this year and you liked most of them. Of all the special posts, my "Love Is A Battlefield" Valentines Day post was the favorite, followed closely by my "He Works Hard for the Money" Labo(u)r Day post. On the other end of the spectrum, St. Patrick's Day was a bit of a bust, so maybe the secret is framing everything in a song?

One-hit wonders were wonderful, especially the first one which was my sixth most viewed BGEast post. I'm pleased with the posts, but I'm kind of hoping some of my more recent favorites, like 2018's Franco Vetti, don't end up in a future OHW post.

You liked the romantic stuff.

And celebrating the hard working hunks.

Anyway, that's it for 2018. The preview post will appear tomorrow as we launch 2019. What's on the docket for next year? Let's see ...

2019 Preview

Of course, a lot of fan favorites will be back. The year will kick off by continuing one of the biggest stories of 2018. From there, of course we'll see many of The Cave's biggest names back in action. My plan includes some old drama, some new drama and some stories with no big drama at all. And I already have an idea about what the 2019 Christmas story will be, but I have a lot of other stories to finish first.

The Cave stars will all see action

And reliable favorites will return

Additionally, I plan to have more non-Cave related stories than I've had in a while. We'll have a couple of CLAW and Rival Pro Wrestling stories. Steve's first weekend in BIGBeast will wrap up, too, with one final match for the rookie. However, these series aren't where I'm increasing non-Cave activity.

It's actually Encounters and Heroes that are taking up more spots. In the summer, I'll be posting four stories that are thematically interconnected, but not narratively-related. And I hope to wrap up the "Tarzan and James" trilogy in March, post a sequel to Bane of My Existence in June, and post a brand new hero story in the fall.

Outside The Cave, we'll get more from CLAW and Rival

Thanks guys for visiting, commenting and sending emails. If you continue to read, I'll do my best to continue to post this year.

Have a very happy new year!



  1. Cheers to all of your hard work here. The reviews. The musings. The original stories. The respect you have for the wrestlers and readers. Cheers to your engagement with your fans. Here's to more fun in 2019!

    1. Thanks! I appreciate your comments and support, Tom. Have a happy new year.

  2. Thank you for producing such an awesome blog! I'm the biggest procrastinator, and I haven't finished editing the next episode for KSW for mine. I could have easily completed it weeks ago. ::sigh:: lol. You blog is what I wish mine could be. Maybe one day!
    Have a great New Year!

    1. You're welcome. Believe it or not, I've always been a big procrastinator, too. I'll always say at work that projects without a deadline don't get done. And that applies to my life. That's why I need a set schedule for this place, otherwise I wouldn't be posting much.

  3. Thanks for an amazing 2018, and here's the excitement 2019 has in store. I look forward to the 1st and 15th of every month like Christmas, waiting to unwrap the latest story you have dropped. Your hard work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Cheers

    1. Thanks, Phil. Your frequent comments are very much noticed and appreciated, too. They are always energizing.

  4. Hi! I'm a long-time lurker, but I wanted to say thanks for your hard work. I only discovered this blog this year! I also liked when Beau got his ass kicked, and the Cap/Riddle one was also very memorable. Something special about big guys punished, especially by smaller guys. Anyways, all the best for 2019, looking forward to it!

    1. Awesome! I appreciate to taking time to comment. It's great to read something from a new reader. The Riddle story was very popular this year. It's currently my sixth most read story of 2018.

  5. Happy New Year, man! Thanks for all of your great stories, reviews, and gifs of these guys. The set on this page alone are really some of the hottest ever, I feel. :)

    Also, "Some stories were only finished at the last minute." really hits home. I certainly know that feeling. I'm hoping this place is never a stress for you, though.

    Thanks again, buddy. A happy and healthy 2019 for you!

    1. Same to you! I wouldn’t say this place is ever stressful, because it’s not that serious, but I do have a sense of obligation to it. It’s more of a challenge than a burden. Commissions stress me out a little, but nothing else. Right now, I still feel like this place is a positive hobby.

  6. We can't thank you enough for all the hard work you put into this blog and for sharing your thoughts, reviews, and especially your incredible talents with us, Alex. I can't imagine how much work it must be. Please don't feel like you need to maintain such an aggressive posting schedule. The last thing we want is for this passion of yours to become burdensome for you. I can assure you we'll all still be here eagerly awaiting your next post, whenever it may be. :)

    Happy New Year, and all the best to you!



    1. JS, you're very welcome. Appreciate your comments and support. Trust me, if it ever feels like a burden, I'll cut back, but I'll always need a schedule. As I said above, if I didn't have one, I'd never post. LOL.

  7. Thanks for all the great stuff you produce. Great stories, great writing, great wrestling, great images, great reviews and so much more.
    I hope you continue for a long time. You never know. The Cave might turn into a full fledge Wrestling Site with wrestlers and all bringing the characters to life. OK. I might be getting ahead of myself, but one can dream a little right? Then you can focus on your wrestling company! LOL. Just be ready for the haters!!!! HAHA

    1. You’re welcome.

      While I’d love to see The Cave be real, I think it couldn’t happen or be that successful. I don’t think enough people would want to invest in the behind-the-scenes story, which is what makes it work. And some people age, get lives, move on, etc. It has been suggested that it’s more a comic book and that I could see.

  8. BTW, Im loving the more CLAW, RIVAL. I think you were building a great storyline with Rival specially. Im loving seeing MoneyMaker, Mr Riddle there in the Mix. Encounters and Heroes, hell to the yeah. I mean those are so cool and outside the design of the Cave. Love those. They are so fun!

    1. Glad you like them. I like CLAW, but it hasn’t quite caught on. However, I’m sticking with it as a change of pace. And Rival hasn’t gotten the love from me it deserves, because I focused on Buck in The Cave last year. My goal is to see if I can move it forward in an interesting way. Both series have a twist that make them different from The Cave, but I have to figure out how to best use those devices.


  9. Yes! Bane sequel! I was just reading this last week to because it was so great! Im so Excited to read it and see were it goes! Is the bat still broken? Or is he trying to get free? Someone else trying to free him Like Superman or Robin? All questions that I dont mind waiting to see unfold when the story gets posted. I remember you talking about wanting to do something like a Superhero universe for stories(i could be wrong since it's been a while) i hope this is something that fuels more superhero stories because I love them!

    Thanks for all you do Alex! I also look forward to the start and mid of the month just because I new story will be coming out. It's crazy that you can pump out amazing stories and I cant say enough how thankful I am that you do so much! I hope 2019 is great for you and hope your holiday season for 2018 was great as well.

    1. You are welcome! Thanks to you for the great comments.

      I’m excited to re-visit Batman and Bane, too. You’re right I mentioned a superhero universe, but that is what became Jae’s dream universe in those two stories. This will be its own thing, like Hercules Unbound or the Tarzan stories.

      It is crazy that I’ve been able to keep posting stories and that you guys keep liking them! To be getting such effusive feedback this far in is overwhelming. I really it.

    2. I really appreciate it, is what that should say. D’oh!