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  1. This French gem features a 29 years old Al Hayes. Aside from that, there is an obvious thought looking at the matchup: how will a British guy fit into the French wrestling style? The answer is they meet up in the middle and work pretty much a World of Sports style match without rounds, with Hayes working classy British escapes, and Robin bringing the French touches, although the sights of the match were set on a chippy bout from the introductions. There it is immediately noticable how this match is pretty much the Roland Barthes description of wrestling exemplified: Hayes, the clean cut, tall technician who never complains and is never unfair, against the short, balding, somewhat mishapen looking Guy Robin. And Robin really embraces his role to the fullest being a pesky little goblin. And he is a total show here, gesturing big, diving all over the ring like he was Gargamel trying to catch a smurf. His out of control bumping, mannerisms and cartoony stooging were really awesome and may have carried the match. That is not to disparage Hayes, who had some quite beautiful escapes and knew to lay in the european uppercuts when it counts. At one point he did a totally GIF-worthy escape from a cravate that was slow and deliberate like Arkangel de la Muerte, at another he just lifted Robin and threw him, and my favourite may have been his beautiful sweep from the ground. It was almost like carny Jiu Jitsu. The whole match had a slow and deliberate pace, maybe because both guys weren‘t familiar, but they kept it simple and effective, with Robin really bringing the funk towards the end , earning himself a few public warnings and trying to crack Hayes with nasty backbreakers and armbreakers. Hayes retaliated with some nasty face scrapes that seemingly bloodied Robins nose and got sold with BattlARTS style 9 counts. Classic formula match executed extremely well, and it was really cool to see the classy British technical style in place at this stage.
  2. A 23 minute contest in 2/3 falls. Luis El Gayo may also be „El Gayo“ or „El Gallo“ (it would fit his hair) or El Galio since the announcer keeps calling him something like that. One of the cool aspects to the old French footage is that there are a ton of Spanish wrestlers featured, so getting to a glimpse at that is really something special and something I never would have hoped to see, since the Spanish scene ended in the 1970s with a few later revival attempts failing. Jacky Corne is someone who shows up in matches all the way to the 1970s and 1980s, so it‘ll be cool to watch him for a nearly 30 year period. This was the 60s lutte libre style that we saw in Cesca/Cantanzarro, both guys working holds while mixing in cool arm whips and headscissors. It wasn‘t quite at the transcendent level of Cesca/Catanzarro, as they didn‘t seem to have some things fully worked out, but they knew not to expose the business when a spot wasn‘t hit perfectly. El Gayo was right there working the French style, he had some graceful escapes, a cool headwringing snapmare and he did these awesome BattlARTS style 8 count near KOs when Corne started dropping the bombs on him. He also launched Corne to the outside with a cool throw from the ground in a nasty moment, then later took a big bump himself flying over the rope. Both guys were moving fast and really making their hip tosses and body slams look good. The first fall was going nice until Corne caught El Gayo with an awesomely timed powerbomb and then took him to town dropping him with some more before El Gayo would seemingly come back only to be caught. The second fall gets chippy with both guys really cracking each others jaws with thudding european uppercuts and elbows, the high quality audio and video that the French preserved really adding to each exchange. One of the cool things El Gayo does is he will move in like a Greco wrestler, grab a hammerlock behind the other guys back and use that to set up a move, in one case he uses it to drill Corne with a nasty tombstone piledriver which was pretty mindblowing even by 1957 French standards, unfortunately Corne didn‘t go to the Spanish school of selling and just kind of moved on in the match. I liked the feel that El Gayo was pushed to the limit and had to resort to making things chippy. After Corne threw him to the outside in a heated moment that lead to several cigarette smoking fans helping El Gayo back in the ring, both guys shook hands only for El Gayo to start throwing elbows and knees the next moment. Seconds later the Spanish wrestler had to resort to throwing a punch to the mid section, seemingly apologizing to the audience and being frustrated with himself for having to resort to such tactics. Once again, I really liked the rope running sequences and the finishes were good although I was hoping for the match to go a little deeper, I thought El Gayo was done a little dirty here although he did a great job telling the story of the match. Still, good shit and a threat to see.
  3. JIP with about 12 minutes shown. This kind of bout probably won‘t stand out in the long run of French watching, but it‘s really cool to check out. Both guys did some neat stuff. Di Santo had some Billy Robinson esque offense, nasty neckbreaker and the big backbreaker. I think of Billy Robinson as someone who had pretty advanced offense for 1970s AJPW, so seeing a guy bust out that kind of offense in 1957 is pretty wild. Both guys took some nasty bumps, especially Di Santo flying into the ropes trying a pin. Both guys had some cool ways to work around the greco roman knucklelock pin, Di Santo bridging out of the with van Dooren on top was pretty freaky. This is our first time seeing van Dooren and he looked good, busting out a cool luchaesque pin and uncorking some nasty looking headbutts that got a big reaction nicluding one from a full running charge, and Di Santo fires back with straight elbow smashes. Pretty cool to see how evolved this style was in 1957 already. Van Dooren keeps finding ways to reverse Di Santos counter attempt, and the finish sticks with this time. Nice stuff.
  4. 2/3 Falls match that goes about 40 minutes. Our journey into French wrestling begins with Edouard Carpentier of all people. He‘ll be interesting to watch, since he obviously stands out in the US wrestling scene, but in France he might be just another guy. Although I imagine he will definitely get a bump from watching this French footage. This match wasn‘t quite in the super athletic French style that blew all of our minds in the first place anyways, it was instead a classic heat mongering affair. Gueret seemed rather non-descript, but Bollet drew a really loud negative reaction as soon as he was announced. He was a towering guy, he could clearly wrestle, but you could sense that this wouldn‘t be a wrestling heavy match very soon. The match was the type that I imagine sent folks into near riots all across Europe in the post WW2-wrestling boom. It starts with some slick arm rolls and nice wrestling, but they soon get to the real meat. Guys get bitchslapped, cheapshots are thrown, and eventually you have a bunch of heavyweights throwing forearm smashes with abadon. Gueret did look a little bland, but he sure knew how to throw those forearms. The heels would soon start to try and buckle their opponents to the corner to deliver nasty 2 on 1 beatdowns, and the faces would retaliate with ear rakes which the crowd loved. Koparanian was kind of bastard too, he would bitchslap the heels and get in cheapshots of his own. The whole match was worked like this, there would be moments of well executed wrestling, only for someone to throw a forearm or cheapshot and things would fire up. It‘s quite a long match, but they keep the pace up. Add 3 fun finishes and you have one hell of a match.
  5. The first Slinger match that I know of that received some modest hype. I'm not sure if the consensus on Slinger was that he sucked or that simply nobody paid attention. Anyways this was an unexpectedly intense scrap with some gnarly submissions. I wonder if AJPW did sudden finishes on houseshows a lot at this time because the crowd really bites on the holds (granted these guys were really stretching eachother to the max). Add a constant feeling of struggle and both guys being willing to kick the shit out of each other and you have an enjoyable match in the vein of a stiff undercard fight. There was an awesome backslide spot too that was one of the better "wrestling" spots I've seen in a match in a while.
  6. I would recommmend contacting Gernot Freiberger on Facebook (he posts as Pantaleon Manlapig in some places). He is a wrestling historian and extremely knowledgable on this subject. I already posted this answer on WKO, but more people are gonna see it here. Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland or Sweden, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, damn near every south american country... there's also reports of wrestler crews touring countries like Singapore before they ever had a scene of their own. I am pretty sure almost every country that wasn't a communist dictatorship or war torn had pro wrestling. Note: wrestling was banned in all soviet countries post WW2, so probably no footage from Czech Republic or Hungary. I think only a handful of countries had wrestling on TV, sadly, so atmost you'll find newsreel footage or movies, but I'd love to be proven wrong. As far as clips goes: - there are some extremely brief black & white clips of Rene Lasartesse wrestling in Switzerland shown in a swiss documentary of him. - I saw some short clips of old Spanish wrestling searching one of the online Spanish film archives. I think there may be even a Spanish documentary on it. There's very few info on the internet, though. I think Gernot also wrote a few lengthy english or spanish articles on the subject. - I saw a very short clip of wrestling in Sweden or Finland in the 1960s or 1950s, I think I even posted it on PWO a while ago, but can't find the post now. - there are also a few clips of old German and Austrian wrestling that can be found in old newsreel footage, such as this: There's also quite a bit of footage of congolese wrestler Edingwe here, but I am not sure how old it is: Bud Spencer fights a couple wrestlers in this 1973 Italian movie (note that this movie is set in the 1920s):
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  8. This was a really rewarding match to check out. It may have peaked in the first 5 minutes with both guys trading awesome wristlock reversals. I'm absolutely dead tired of wrestlers flipping out of wristlocks so the fact they made it cool here speaks volumes. Match had everything: brilliant athletic spots, pin-point accurate technique, fierce strike exchanges, and everything made sense. Prince tagging Saulnier with a savate kick to the face also caught me off guard. I didn't think the draw ending was as flat as Phil described it, they clearly kicked it up a bit. This match feels a bit weird to give a YES in project, for all we know there may be a dozen Prince matches in the archive that blow this away, but for now it's a really good, unique bout.
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  12. I shouldn't have held of from watching this so long, because this really was damn great and easily in the Top 5 euro matches I've seen post 1980s. Really 4 legends tearing it up in a hot match that builds to a big finish. There is a long opening segment centered around the heels working with Zrno and it was really good hold vs. counter hold stuff, more complex than what you'd usually see in these kind of heat mongering affairs and the apex of this style of european wrestling. Finlay & Jones really start working rough house tactics, trying to double team their opponents and constantly throwing forearm shots and kicks. I was a little wary going in since it's a long match, but there was no obvious time killing and they manage to keep the asskicking compelling all the way. Even with the poor black & white footage quality you really feel the aura Jones & Finlay had going for them, which was especially interesting for Jones to be in this kind of role since he normally works as a babyface in england. Lots of neat spots, counters and cutoffs throughout. I liked that Finlay & Jones were allowed to outwrestle their babyface opponents, Jones at one point mixes in a handspring move that is normally resereved for babyfaces and Finlay casually uncorks powerbombs and suplexes. Really liked how the heels seemed to crank up the violence in the 2nd fall with Jones hitting some mean headstomps (including pulling the other guy into a Boston Crab and just kicking the low of his back like a reverse curbstomp) and Finlay punching dudes in the face. The last couple minutes are damn epic and the main reason I'm nominating this, Schuhmann gets bloodied and is taking an asskicking eating kicks and punches. There is a tombstone piledriver that feels as epic as any piledriver in history and an amazing finish that I never ever would've expected to work this well. This is a euro tag so it didn't have the kind of polished structure a US tag would have but I still thought it worked really well, the rhythm was really good, all 3 finishes work and everything felt like a struggle throughout.
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  15. I'm on a quest to find the ultimate japanese indy sleaze match. This is part of a weird 3 vs. 3 match that starts with a singles match then a 2 vs. 2 tag and the a 6 man tag, but this match is good enough to watch on it's own. Hiroshi Watanabe is a guy who has been around since the early 90s and never really got a shot due to being undersized even by indy standards. Yamada is a guy who barely makes tape and doesn't really get to do anything working HEAT UP undercard matches and Gatoh Move. And here they are, working a really good MUGA match. Maybe these two have some kind of Z-level indy Solar/Negro Navarro feud going on. Anyways, Yamadas unorthodox attacks ruled and due to Watanabes selling his joint manipulations appeared really painful. Then both guys do this really elaborate section built around indian deathlocks, leg stretches and pin attempts that was some of the most fun pro style matwork in years. Watanabe decimating Yamada with backdrops was simple but worked and Yamada took some nice bumps. The finish was built around Yamada trying to hurt Watanabe with rough technical moves and Watanabe coming up with cool counters. Highlights include Yamada busting out a Curb Stomp of all things, some nasty legwork and a really well timed sequence of counters leading to a great Robinson backbreaker. Loved the fluke finish too. This was a great modern version of a 70s style match that never felt like a tribute.