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"Sport ou spectacle ?"

Télé-Magazine, exposing the business in 1962. Someone call Cornette !

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16 minutes ago, ohtani's jacket said:

Hopefully, Phil can shed more light on it, but this blog alludes to some trouble between the promoters and the TV producer, Raymond Marcillac. 


I've also read that the promoters had an issue with Claude Darget, who was constantly "demystifying" catch during the broadcasts and in print. 

Well, apparently Marcillac wanted pro-wrestling to go under the umbrella or "entertainment" and not "sport" on TV.

Also, apparently L'ange blanc was like Doink, he could work in several different towns on the same night (and Le bourreau de Béthune also).

Gotta love the "Bring back pro-wrestling as a sport, without the bullshit and the circus" under the third picture... Damn, these people were killing the business back then, it was not like it used to be...

I remember Carpentier saying Claude Darget had a bit of an ironic sense of humour while he was announcing.

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I've now gone backward and am currently researching 1957 (and will do 1956 & 1955 next). I thought this was kind of interesting. Here's an advert for a live event at Palais des Sports where Andre Drapp is billed as "Mr. Wrestling Television".


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Roger Delaporte vs. Roger Guettier (aired 5/30/59)

My take on this was that with Delaporte renouncing his evil ways, Guettier was looking to beat some sense back into him and goad him into a heel-like response. Delaporte battled with his inner rage throughout and it damn near tore him part. Not a bad little sideshow, but more fuel for the fire in the sport vs. spectacle debate.

Isha Israel vs. Jean Rabut  (aired 6/4/59)

Isha Israel was a heck of a wrestler and owned it as World Lightweight champ, though European title histories being the mess they are, it's difficult to know if this was the Spanish version of the belt, or the Italian, or the French, or just some random belt. Rabut was quick. I mean really quick. This was wrestled in front of a tiny crowd in an empty Elysee Montmartre, but they put on a classic. Definitely the "sport" to Delaporte's "spectacle." Not sure if the crowd was telling, but one of the best matches in the collection for sure. 

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Eddy Wiecz vs. Andre Bollet (aired 9/21/65)

Aside from Andre, Edouard Carpentier is probably the most famous guy in the collection. You'd think it would be a major coup getting all of these matches of his, but it's not. For starters, he barely wrestled anything like the way he did in the States. In fact, he's barely recognizable as Edouard Carpentier. You could easily mistake him for another wrestler. A generic US heavy, too, not one of those cool, stoic French baby faces from the 1950s. This match was pure nonsense. A slow ass brawl with endless stalling and shitty ref spots. Bollet has been such a disappointment after my early pimping of him. Strictly a tag guy. His late 60s singles work is boring as shit. There was some good stuff here and there but a bunch of crap in between. I disliked this so much they put it in the collection twice. 

Andre Bollet & Jack Rouxel vs. Eddy Wiecz & Warnia de Zarzecki (aired 11/14/65)

This was a massive improvement over the Bollet vs. Carpentier singles matches. Hide them in tag matches and cut the bullshit. What really helped here was that Rouxel was a straight mechant who didn't chew up the scenery like Bollet or Delaporte. I can't begin to explain how much I appreciated the lack of bullshit in this match. 

Andre Bollet & Roger Delaporte vs. Eddy Wiecz & Warnia de Zarzecki (aired 1/9/66)

This swapped Rouxel for Delaporte, so there was more bullshit by default, but it was still better than the singles nightmare. Delaporte's act was a bit stale by this point. His late 50s tags are like watching Fats Domino whale away on a piano. They were rollicking joints. This had a bunch of ref bullshit, and I'm not fond of the ref or the bullshit. Bollet plays off Delaporte better than anything he does on his own, though. 

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Marcel Parmentier vs. Bob Plantin (aired 6/19/59)
Serge Reggiori vs, Jacques Bernieres (aired 6/19/59)

Look, it's a French catch tradition: the finish to a Marcel Parmentier match. If I'm not mistaken, Bob Plantin is our old friend, Bob ALPRA. This was a strange broadcast. I guess the promoters thought Davies would be a draw due to his size. I think I'd rather have seen Reggiori vs Bernieres in full, or better yet, L'Ange Blanc vs. Johnny Stein. It's odd that they kept L'Ange Blanc off TV for so long. I know there was a lot of trouble with imitators, but all of a sudden the TV feels dead.

Claude Montourcy vs. Robert Gastel (aired 6/26/59)

For some reason, Montourcy is doing a judoka gimmick here. I think it had something to do with Calderon wrestling von Chenok on the same card. Generally speaking, I'm a fan of wrestlers using judo in their matches, but not as a gimmick. This was kind of drab. Montourcy dislocated Gastel's shoulder at the end, and Calderon popped it back in for him, which was the same finish they used in the Calderon/Gastel match. They even did the same ringside interview afterward. 

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Vassilios Montopoulos vs. Anton Terejo (aired 10/21/67)

This was all right. Terejo was a decent foil for Montopoulos' style of wrestling, but I would rather watch straight catch than lightweight wrestling at this point in time. 

Pat O'Connor vs. Paul Vachon (aired 5/23/65)

No, Pat O'Connor is not that Pat O'Connor. It's the Belgian Pat O'Connor that no-one's ever heard of. Yes, Paul Vachon is that Paul Vachon. Hard to take anything away from this. Pretty typical heavyweight scrap. O'Connor wasn't a great opponent for showcasing how good Vachon may have been. 

Guy Mercier vs. Karl von Chenok (aired 12/16/67)

There are times when Guy Mercier looks like a poor man's Gilbert Leduc, and then there are times when he looks like the second coming. This was definitely one of those matches where he looked like our savior. Karl von Chenok was an extremely limited worker, but he had a relentless, single-minded focus on that one nerve hold, and in this match, Mercier just keep hitting him in the face over and over again to break the hold. Every time he hit von Chenok, Chenok would dig in just a little bit more. These are the kind of minimalist bouts I love to watch. Simple execution, but beautiful to watch. It loosened up a bit toward the end, but if this isn't the best Mercier fight in the collection then I'd like to see one that's better. 

Francis Sullivan & Albert Sanniez vs. Bernard Caclard & Tony Martino (aired 10/21/67)

This match was already available thanks to Bob ALPRA. I actually had no memory of watching this, but it's nice to see I sang its praises a few years ago and still liked it on the rewatch. I'm not sure how well it stands up now that we have so much footage to compare it to, but in the context of the late 60s, it's one of the better matches to make TV. The action is good, the heels are solid, and Sanniez is involved. The faces were a bit too peppy perhaps. I kind of prefer those stoic ones that get pissed and throw a dozen manchettes, but that's a small gripe. 

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