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Speaking of tag teams, based on the 1956-1961 records that I have here are the wrestlers who were teaming up most often in Paris during this time:

Georges Gueret & Yves Amor (the most full-time team in Paris during those years, or at least as close to full-time as you could get back then)
Warnia de Zarzecki & Henri Lambert (de Zarzecki teamed with Ami Sola a bit as well)
Cheri Bibi & Pierre Bernaert
Al Hayes & Ray Hunter (hands down the top foreign team in France back then)
Roger Delaporte & Paul Villars / Roger Delaporte & Andre Bollet (Delaporte was teaming with both and sometimes with Roger Guettier as well)
Gilbert Leduc & Claude Montourcy
Iska Khan & Serge Gentilly
Jacky Corn & Roger Laroche
Marcel Mannevau & Claude Gessat (their run took off at the beginning of the 1960s)

So these were pretty much your most regular teams in Paris at the time. There were a few other guys that would be paired up every once in a while, but these were the guys that teamed up the most often.

It should be noted that tag team wrestling was first introduced in France on November 1, 1954 at Palais des Sports. The first ever tag match there saw the Miquet Brothers (Felix & Francois) defeat Eddie Brush & Jack Wentworth. For the first few years the only promoter who did tag team wrestling in Paris was Alex Goldstein. The other promoters wanted none of it, but eventually they all started doing tag team matches on their cards.

Either in late 1956 or early 1957 the French Tag Team Titles were introduced as well. The lineage is still unclear, but I think Andre Drapp possibly held them on a couple of occasions (with different partners) and I believe later on Delaporte and Bollet did as well.

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How about Robert Gastel and Karl von Chenok?

Roger Delaporte & Paul Villars vs. Yves Amor & Georges Gueret (aired 9/5/59)

This was far more entertaining than the previous Delaportes tag, largely because Amor and Gueret were much better opponents than Said and Minisini. I stopped worry about whether Delaporte was a face, a heel, or a quasi-face, and enjoyed the amazing chemistry he had with Georges Gueret. It looks like Delaporte lost some weight around this period and was including a few more wrestling moves in his bout. Does anyone else think he looks smaller? This had Couderc roaring with laughter at the beginning then turned into the kind of vicious brawl that only heels are capable of. Lots of beard pulling. 

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35 minutes ago, ohtani's jacket said:

How about Robert Gastel and Karl von Chenok?

Yes, they did team on a few occasions that I know of, but Gastel was also teaming just as much with Jose Tarres too. Neither team was very regular though. Most of Gastel's tag matches during this time were against Leduc and Montourcy.

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Hunter/Hayes came off like the best team in the world. They really transcended the footage in the last match we saw with them. It was very much a "could main even in any arena" sort of vibe.

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Andre Bollet vs. Iska Khan (aired 10/2/59)

It's strange that Bollet was off TV for so long. My opinion of him has pretty much plummeted since those early appearances. His stalling and antics did very little for me in this match.  It might have been different if it was the first time to see it or if I was in the mood for it. What I did like about this were the actual wrestling parts. Isha Khan was a generic Asian wrestler with generic Asian offense, similar to the Hawaiian guys in the States, but the one thing I like about those workers is when they unleash a barrage of strikes. They're no great shakes on the mat, but once they get a bit of go forward, they can be entertaining. I really liked the way Bollet sold Khan's strikes. He could have hammed it up and played to the gallery, but instead his selling was subtle and sophisticated. And his own offense was tight. I adored the finish as well as the post-match. They trashed the shit out of that bouquet. This was miles better than Bollet's later performances. I imagine Matt and the other Segunda Caida guys will like those bouts more than I did, but I think we can agree that this is definitely a signature bout. 

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Jose Arroyo vs. Georges Gueret (aired 10/15/59)

I love Gueret, and Arroyo has been a strong babyface foil for the heels, but you could tell by the finish that this wasn't as hot as previous Arroyo bouts.

Zarak vs. Jean-Pierre Lecompte (aired 10/15/77)

This was better than I expected. I thought it would be Dave Smith-Larsen playing silly buggers, but Lecompte took the fight to him, and they had some fun exchanges. A shame it only went 10 minutes. 

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Quasimodo vs. Gilbert Leduc (October 23, 1959, at Salle des Fetes in Montrouge)

I had seen this years ago, but back then it didn't make much of an impression on me beyond how committed Victor Castilla was to the Quasimodo character. Rewatched it again last night and the second time around I enjoyed this match a lot. Probably because now I'm much more familiar with both wrestlers and the context surrounding this match. I wouldn't call it a high-end match, but it accomplished exactly what it set out to do while providing some good action along the way. I believe this was the very first appearance of Castilla as Quasimodo and what better way to debut a new guy, who you're planning on pushing as a main event villain, than to have him go on national TV against your promotion's top babyface. And this is exactly what the match was all about - making Quasimodo. I thought Leduc really went out of his way to sell Quasimodo's nerve hold and make it seem like a devastating hold, thus making Quasimodo seem like a big threat in the process. Quasimodo didn't do a lot in the way of moves and stuck to wearing Leduc down with the nerve hold, but I really liked his signature electric chair catapult into the ropes. It looked great both times. The backbreaker was pretty cool too. I also loved how between the first and second falls Quasimodo seemed to be chomping at the bit to get back to destroying Leduc and as soon as the second fall started he charged Leduc straight away. For his part Leduc got some good shine in there, especially his series of moves to win the second fall. Loved the first jumping piledriver. That was great. The finish was a bit disappointing but it made sense - the villain was disqualified and the babyface did not lose. So yeah, I thought this match was a really strong piece of business. It got Quasimodo over as a threat and Leduc came off as a tough babyface. Plus, if there was to be a rematch between the two at my local arena I would have definitely paid my French francs to see it so the match did good business in that sense as well.

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I am shocked at how good the Bibi/Bernaert team got in 60. Shocked.

Also Phil, keep posting reviews and your thoughts in general. We love to see them.

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Josef Kovacs vs. Gaby Calderon (aired 10/23/59)

Yuck. You'd have a hard time convincing me that either of these guys were ever any good.

Quasimodo vs. Gilbert Leduc (aired 10/23/59)

I've seen this a few times now. The first couple of times you watch it, it's to see the Monster Movie gimmick brought to life, but this time it was all about Leduc's performance. For a straight shooter, he was remarkably good at putting over gimmicked opponents. On the surface, it shouldn't be a strength of his, but he didn't mind selling for the latest Monster of the Month and was pretty good at the theatrics part of pro-wrestling. The Le Bourreau de Bethune bout is more shocking and dramatic, but this was further proof that Leduc was a multi-talented worker.

Jose Arroyo vs. Michel Chaisne (aired 11/20/59)

This was one of the better bouts in a while. It was a classic face vs. face bout where neither man can gain an advantage and the bout breaks down into a forearm smash contest. That was a pretty standard way of working face vs. face contests in Europe over the years. It was a tried and true way of getting heat for matches that didn't involve heels. It's not something that I ever tire of, but I will say that the lack of a finish here wasn't wholly satisfying. I don't know that 1959 Catch has been as good as the stuff from '57 and '58, however, so you should definitely add it to your watch list. 

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Guy Robin vs. Al Araujo (aired 11/27/59)

This was available before, but it's a much better watch now that we're familiar with the workers. Al Araujo is a fantastic worker in the same vein as Ami Sola. These type of workers have been the best revelation about 50s Catch. I haven't been as high on Robin as the others, but he did some cool stuff in this match and showed a different side to him as a worker. Up until now, he's come across as a stooge, but this showed us he could hang with the niftier workers too. It's a crying shame that the TV was so fickle. If this had been ITV, you'd see these guys on TV half a dozen times a year. 

Rene Ben Chemoul vs. Gilbert Cesca (aired 11/27/59)

I need to watch this again. The first time I saw it, I thought it was a masterpiece and one of the best matches of the 50s. This time I was distracted by how many times they whip each other into the turnbuckle instead of dazzling us on the mat. Like I said, I really need to take another look at it. There's a chance that it's not as special as I thought now that we have so much footage to compare it too. On the other hand, Ben Chemoul has been such a disappointment in singles that this is the match to really sink my teeth into and finally figure out whether he was any damn good. And Cesca is so mysterious and enticing. I'm repeating myself here, but I wish they'd shown more of his matches on television. He could be one of the all-time greats, or he could be a guy who rose to the occasion every now and again. How are we to know? I really should have watched this again before posting because I don't have anything worthwhile to say about it.

Cheri Bibi & Pierre Bernaert vs. Warnia de Zarzecki & Ami Sola (aired 12/11/59)

We get the last 15 minutes of this, which by rights should be the most exciting part, but it seems that Bibi and Bernaret have improved in their villainy.

And so end the 50s. To be honest, I thought there was a drop-off in quality from '57-59, but perhaps that's because everything was new and shiny when we began. There seemed to be more variety when it came to which wrestlers were shown on TV, and the wrestling felt like it was taken more seriously. I could be wrong, but the move away from Catch as sport, and the influx of costumed and masked wrestlers, led to a decline in quality. Anyone else care to chime in on this? Am I being too negative? I seem to feel this way a lot about 60s wrestling. Every time I see something from the 60s, I can't help but feel that it's not as good as the footage we have from the 50s. Was there a shift in the way wrestling was presented in the 60s, or would I feel the same if the only available footage was 60s vs. 70s?  I wonder. 

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Jack de Lasartesse vs. Michel Allary (aired 1/22/60)

This was old but worth watching again. Lasartesse is such a great Buddy Rogers style heel. In many ways, his lack of offensive prowess actually works in his favor as not only can he concentrate on heatseeking, he actually looks like even more of a prick by not being that good at professional wrestling. I love how much of his offense is based around those ridiculously long legs of his. Allary is a classic French babyface and starts throwing haymaker uppercuts five minutes into the bout. Entertaining scuffle. I'd love to see how Lasartesse fared against Dapp or Leduc. 

Al Hayes & Ray Hunter vs. Roger Delaporte & Andre Bollet (aired 2/1/60)

This was really good. As much as I love Villars, Delaporte and Bollet were special together. This was easily the best Hunter has looked in the catch footage. The credit for that has to go to Delaporte and Bollet, who were in fine form here. Hayes also did a fantastic job of holding up his end. I came out of this wishing I could see a Hayes vs. Delaporte singles match, which, honestly, is the most excited I've been about Delaporte in a while. If you're looking for entertainment from catch, this ticks all the boxes. 

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