As many of you are no doubt aware by now, RapReviews.com relaunched with a brand new look and feel on January 8, 2019. By consensus of the hard working members of our team, a new look and feel was long overdue. The old version of the website was being coded by hand and no amount of wallpapering a new look over the old would cut it. The site had to be completely rebuild from the ground up with all 8,000 plus reviews and editorials had to be imported into a new WordPress template that could be easily accessed by both the readers AND the writers. 95% of the credit (if not more) goes to Grant Jones and Matt Jost for doing the hard work of exporting the old data over to the new site, with Mr. Jones in particular working overtime to make sure that the new format looked and felt just right.
I’ve got to be honest that my role in the process was largely that of a foreman who stands there, supervises the work, and signs off on how well it’s being done. Some of this was due to mental health issues I’ve admitted to, and some of it was also due to my contract work for a large sports website. That income helped to pay the hosting bills, including the new home you see us at right now, and while we’re eventually going to need more help from the public at large to keep things going this ISN’T the time for that. Instead what I’m here to do in this article is to give credit where credit is due, not just to Grant and Matt for their efforts, but to ALL of the contributors to this website over the last two decades. We’ve been around for 20 years and change now and it’s fair to say without the many good people who write for RR we wouldn’t have lasted one-tenth that long. You all deserve a pat on the back like Barry Horowitz.
Speaking of pro wrestling you may have noticed that the RR site redirects to TheWrestler.net for the time being. We needed a clean space to test and refine the new design and get all of the elements working right, and by mutual agreement of the people who host and provide server space for RR, this particular domain was unused and available for our purposes. Eventually the WordPress layout we’ve developed here will be folded back into RR and the redirect won’t be necessary, but this temporary solution also did us a favor in terms of search aggregation. Many sites (including Wikipedia) have hard coded links to reviews on the old RR, and simply throwing out those HTML files would have also thrown out all the hard work we did to get to this point. Those pages will probably continue to exist even after we export this layout back to the original domain, much like our own Archive.org of the old website. Besides even though it was 20 years old and falling apart at the cracks in places, we may still be nostalgic to go back and take a look around the old shop from time to time.
The bottom line is that the new domain does not reflect a new purpose for RapReviews nor a new vision that’s focused on pro wrestling — after all I already have AngryMarks.com for that. It’s just to let you know that we were all collectively so excited about launching this new and more accessible version of RapReviews that we felt having RR bounce people here to see it and use it was the right way to go. In time you won’t even notice a thing, but for now I want to say thank you for all the positive feedback we’ve gotten on Facebook and via Twitter about the new look. It has reinvigorated me to write more for the site, which is why you’ll see four new reviews from me tonight as part of eight new articles total in this week’s update.
Steve “Flash’ Juon