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ohtani's jacket

DVDVR 80s Project
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  2. ohtani's jacket

    French catch

    Spartacus vs Jack Van Dooren (aired 7/1/60) This wasn't as exciting as the Husberg match since Van Dooren was a bigger man and not as quick, but it was solid and continued the rather unique babyface run of our Roman gladiator inspired Frenchman. Quasimodo vs. Josef Kovacs (aired 1/14/60) I always impresses me how committed Victor Castilla was to the Quasimodo gimmick. He was almost like wrestling's version of a character actor. Personally, I couldn't understand the matchmaking here. Why book the smaller Quasimodo against the huge Hungarian wrestler, Kovacs? Kovacs himself was often a heel billed as the "Butcher from Budapest" and had an impressive airplane spin hold where he threw his opponent at the end. Quasimodo had the advantage here for a while before Kovacs swatted him away. Rene Ben Chemoul & Walter Bordes vs. Kamikaze I & Kamikaze II (aired 12/26/68) Well, this is confusing. I'm pretty sure that Les Kamikazes were the Spanish versions but neither guy removed their mask. I guess we don't have an accurate timeline on when Kamikaze I lost his mask, or perhaps he kept using it in France. In any event, the match was more about Chemoul and Bordes than it was the Kamikazes. This felt like a better reflection of what made Chemoul so beloved. He gave a fiery and passionate performance. He danced salsa when he was winning and shed tears when his prodigy was in trouble. I was surprised by how good Bordes was. I didn't expect him to be be so smooth. The match was formulaic but entertaining. Les Kamikazes were strange and exotic and shifty enough to make decent foils for the babyfaces, and the team of Chemoul and Bordes shone.
  3. ohtani's jacket

    French catch

    Michel Saulnier vs. Jean Rabut (aired 6/20/65) Ladies and gentlemen, do we have a new super worker? I know the Segunda Caida guys are planning to do a spotlight on Saulnier vs. Le Petit Prince this week so I don't want to steal too much of their thunder, but Saulnier seems like he was an amazing talent. He was a small man, barely five foot tall, but fast and incredibly skilled. He had a strong amateur background in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling and was a class act. It was actually Saulnier who was assigned to train Le Petit Prince after the Prince was discovered by Parisian manager, Robert Lageat. This was a neat showcase for his skills, and fortunately there is more to come. Guy Mercer vs. Peter Kayser (aired 5/2/70) Kayser looked like an intimidating prospect. He was a nasty looking German with a shaved head who reminded me of a bigger Steve Wright. He was the nephew of the German wrestler and promoter, Gustl Kaiser, and a German amateur champion. In Billy Robinson's book, he says Kayser challenged him to a private match and Billy pinned or submitted him 13 times while Kayser pinned him once, but I figure if Kayser could pin Robinson once he can't have been too bad. Mercer looked like the real deal too, but I need to see more of him. He had a bit of Marty Jones about him. In fact, this match reminded me of that episode of WoS where Steve Wright randomly appears as Bull Blitzer and has a barn burner with Jones. Jacky Montalier vs. La Bete Humaine (aired 2/8/71) This has to be seen to be believed (or maybe not since it's not that good.)
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  5. ohtani's jacket

    French catch

    James Brown vs. Robert Gastel (aired 1/14/60) I'd love to make some James Brown jokes, but it seems that was this cat's real name. Brown was an American who came over to Europe as part of the Armed Forces. He was based in Frankfurt and began wrestling there. Later, he moved to Paris. He was a super athletic guy and had a nice flying head scissors. It's said he died in a car crash in 1965, but we have footage of him from 1966 so he must have died some time later. This was a decent bout but a tad pedestrian. Everyone's favourite bludgeoner, Gastel, never really got his motor running. I finally got to see James Brown in action, however, after his name sticking on match lists like a sore thumb. Spartacus vs. Eric Husberg (aired 4/29/60) Spartacus was French wrestler, Jacques Pecheur. Spartacus wasn't just a nickname either. He came to the ring with an awesome gladiator costume, pretty much the splitting image of Kirk Douglas. And he could wrestle too. I was quite impressed with this bout. His opponent was Finnish wrestler, Eric Husberg, who at one time was nicknamed "The Nordic Marvel" but is mostly remembered these days as Cheri Bibi's tag partner. As far as I'm concerned, this was a bit of a gem. Unbelievably, Pecheur ended up becoming a killer for hire. He was hired to murder, Gaston Glock, the Austrian gun maker, to cover up embezzlement of Glock's firm, but Glock was able to beat Pecheur into unconsciousness, and our Spartacus was sentenced to 17 years in prison. James Brown vs. Kiyomigawa (aired 3/29/63) Kiyomigawa is an interesting story. He was a former sumo wrestler who became one of the early Japanese pro-wrestlers in the 1950s. The early promotions all folded due to mismanagement and for whatever reasons Kiyomigawa, divorced and separated from his family, headed overseas and wrestled his way around the world. He traveled to Mexico, South America, Africa, Europe, the States, and other parts of the world. He finally returned to Japan in 1970 and was involved in the wrestling business in various different aspects. He helped book Japanese wrestlers in the German tournaments, was the referee for the big Inoki vs Strong Kobayashi bout in '74 and became a trainer for All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling. He was actually one of the trainers of the Beauty Pair, Jackie Sato and Maki Ueda. I can't honestly say he was very good. Most of the early Japanese wrestlers weren't that great. He had a weird physique and his wrestling style was reminiscent of Baba. But he's another guy whose story isn't well known.
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  7. ohtani's jacket

    French catch

    Tony Oliver vs. Serge Gentilly (aired 1/1/59) We get another Tony Oliver match, which is a treat. This isn't as good as the Bert Royal match, but it's still a solid performance from Oliver. He isn't quite as imposing a heel as he was against Royal, but you get to see him wrestle a bit more and he does have some grouchy moments. Gentilly is another one of those youngish French talents that have been popping up. He's not bad, but he doesn't have a strong personality. The main thing is that we have another Oliver match on tape, which is a bonus. Kamikaze vs. Nicolas Priore (aired 5/22/71) I'm pretty sure that this is the original Kamikaze, Modesto Aledo. It certainly looks like him. Kamikaze was basically a gimmick like Black Man or Great Sasuke. He was dressed completely in black with an oriental looking mask, and wrestled in Valentin Maldonado's words: "a very violent and unorthodox style, mixing cheating, martial arts, mat wrestling and an incredible aerial ability," which, to me, sounds pretty revolutionary for the 1960s. He lost the mask in 1965, but he wore it to the ring here as part of his entrance. When he took it off, there was something strange about his face. I couldn't quite figure out how he did it, but he looked as though he was deformed. Now according to the Wrestling Heritage guys, the way the gimmick was pushed in the UK was that Kamikaze refused to take his mask off even if he lost because his face had been badly burned in the Korean War. I'm not sure of the validity of that, and the Wrestling Heritage guys seem to have all sorts of theories about who was behind the mask (more than likely some UK imitators), but in any event, the Kamikaze here looked creepy as fuck, especially with the grainy footage. Nicolas Priore was a well-built Italian guy, but that doesn't really matter. I spent most of this bout trying to get a better look at Kamikaze's face. He didn't really do the athletic spots he was famed for, but he was aggressive. He kept bowing to the ref whenever he was cautioned and was a pretty odd customer in general. There was a second Kamikaze as well, and the two tag together in some of the footage we have, so I guess we will learn more about him as time goes by. George Cohen & Gass Doukhan vs, M'Boaba & Karl von Kramer (aired 9/14/68) Sticking with the gimmick wrestlers, this was a brief, incomplete clip of M'Boaba, or N'Boa the Snakeman, as he was billed in the UK. He was billed from deepest, darkest Africa and had a handler with him that was dressed a bit like Kim Chee. He used to bring a python to the ring with him in the UK but sadly there was no snake here. He was actually Bob Elandon, a wrestler from the Belgium Congo, and I've gotta tell you, I've seen better wild man acts. There was a Karl von Kramer in the UK who's real name was Jack Land, but I am pretty sure that the Jack von Kramer here was a guy named Michel Laurent. I want to say they say they billed him as Swiss. George Cohen and Gass Doukhan were French based Israeli wrestlers, I believe. These wrestled together as an Israeli tag team. The crowd was wild for this. They gathered around the ring and shook the bottom rope to spur the Israelis on and they wanted a piece of Kramer. There was a really cool surfboard type spot in the corner where Kramer was bounced up and down like a trampoline.
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  9. ohtani's jacket

    French catch

    Antonio Montoro vs. Inca Peruano (aired 11/18/60) We only get a few minutes of this, which is a shame because it looked like a much more exciting bout than Montoro's other match. And he looked a shit ton better. L'Ange Blanc vs. Andre Bollet '(aired 11/18/60) This was disappointing. Bollet's act is starting to wear a bit thin with me. L'Ange Blanc was a passenger in this when really he should have been blazing his way across the screen. Bollet's matches tend to be long and drawn out and don't offer much in the way of wrestling. I would have loved to have seen a really intense, heated encounter but the action only picked up when Bollet and Delaporte attacked L'Ange after the bout. Rene Ben Chemoul vs. Comte de Diadone (Guiseppe Diadone) (aired 3/10/67) I'm still waiting for a match where Chemoul lives up to his reputation but this was closer to what you'd expect. The only trouble was that his opponent was average. I'm not sure how Diadone was billed here. He was one of those workers who used different variations of his ring name. It sounded like the commentator called him Comte de Guiseppe Diadone. I just went with Comte de Diadone since that was the name he most commonly used. He was a bearded Italian who worked an aristocratic gimmick. Vassilios Mantopoulos vs. Jack Rouxel (aired 6/29/67) This was a catchweight contest. It was a bit ho-hum in the beginning. Mantopoulous danced around a lot while Rouxel appeared to be one of the least talented guys in the footage to date. But little by little the action improved and I began to appreciate the effort Rouxel was making to bump and sell for the smaller star. In the end, it was a decent contest. The finish was fun. Rouxel was locked in the George Kidd ball, and for a big man he sold it extremely well.
  10. ohtani's jacket

    French catch

    Albert Sanniez vs. Guy Cavillier (aired 2/1/69) This was another brilliant performance from Sanniez. I'm just about ready to anoint him at the same level as Jim Breaks, Steve Grey and Jon Cortez. Here he was wrestling that goofy looking bugger from Tuesday's Segunda Caida review and he made him look totally credible. The only downer with this was the no contest injury finish. Aside from that it was a terrific contest. Gilbert Leduc vs. Geoff Portz (aired 10/19/62) Geoff Portz was one of the great British heavyweights of this era. It may not seem like it but this footage is almost the same as getting a Georges Gordienko match or some early Billy Robinson. Everything they say about Portz is true. Just a pure wrestler through and through. He's the first guy I've seen give Leduc a run for his money in terms of how legit he seemed. This was a wonderful exhibition of catch. The finish was a bit soft but the wrestling wasn't. Andre Bollet vs. Franz van Buyten (aired 1/1/69) Catch was getting all experimental at this stage. This had the commentary broadcast throughout the area. The bout featured a lot of cheap shots from Bollet and angry responses from van Buyten. I'm not a fan of this type of wrestling, and personally I think it's a waste of van Buyten's talents, but I did enjoy Bollet's bag of tricks.
  11. ohtani's jacket

    French catch

    Yeah, you can find some information about his US career here -- http://wrestlingclassics.com/cgi-bin/.ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=10;t=002139
  12. ohtani's jacket

    French catch

    Edouard Carpentier vs. Robert Duranton (aired 3/24/62) I couldn't get into this one. I'm not the biggest fan of Carpentier to begin with, and this is one of those bouts where the face pretty much picks on the heel and humiliates him for the entire bout. They never really engage in any wrestling, but Couderc laughed his ass off. It might have been better if Duranton was more outrageous but he kind of plays it straight (not sure if that's a pun.) Also, this is 60s Carpentier and I have yet to see anyone from the 50s Chicago footage that looked as good in the 60s.
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  14. ohtani's jacket

    French catch

    Le Petit Prince vs. Albert Sanniez (aired 10/15/77) Robert Duranton appeared at the beginning of this in a giant fur coat. Then he took his coat and shirt off and posed for the crowd. God knows why you'd have Duranton do that before a lightweight bout. It was like an NWO wrestler doing a run-in during a cruiser weight contest. He sat next to the commentator for the entire bout but didn't have much to say. The Prince wore glasses as part of his ring attire but they weren't cool. The match, on the other hand, was outstanding. Sanniez is one of my favourite guys in the entire collection and one of the real bright spots during catch's decline. Great worker, great wrestler, and great heel. He was a tremendous base for the Prince, a wrestler who could have felt really played out in 1977 but felt fresh again thanks to Sanniez. There was some bullshit with the ref (an element that seemed to creep into a lot of the later catch), but it built to an exciting flurry at the end. The crowd was really into this. They brought back the outside brawling spot from the 50s. This was definitely make my list of recommended matches. Dave Bond vs. Pete Roberts (aired 2/27/78) Imagine my surprise to see Pete Roberts and Dave Bond wrestling on French TV in 1978. We get less than 10 minutes of this but the action is good. Roberts is one of my favorite British wrestlers and one of the most overlooked/underrated workers of all-time. Any time we some action from him in his prime it's a good day. The crowd actually gave them an ovation at the end so it must have been a pretty good bout. Couderc tried to speak to Roberts in English when he tumbled to the floor. I love it when Couderc does that.
  15. ohtani's jacket

    French catch

    Lino di Santo vs. Michel Allary (aired 6/7/57) This was a nice little match. Allary was a young prospect who we saw a lot of in the ALPRA footage. Lino di Santo was the European champion guiding him through his paces. Again we saw a lot of focus on leg strength. Leg scissors and head scissors work is quickly becoming a staple of 50s catch. There's been a lot of talk about the Spaniards in this footage but don't overlook the Italians. Pellacani and di Santo have both been solid thus far.
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