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French catch

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Guest Nell Santucci

Looks like someone grabbed it and put it up as a hidden youtube file with classical music overdubbed.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgOdNO-aY18...player_embedded

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgayO4ZPGrA...player_embedded

That French match is the best ROH match I've seen all year.

 

I didn't get to check out the whole thing but what I saw was awesome. Did anyone notice the wacky lock-ups? Never seen that before. If that's any inclination, I'm pretty sure I'd be all over french wrestling.

 

To be honest, I'm surprised that France had a rich wrestling history as I've never even heard a thing about it.

 

In France, pro-wrestling is called "Catch" and pro-wrestlers are called "Des catcheurs" in the Southern French vernacular. (I'm sure it's the same way everywhere in Metropolitan France.) From an etymological standpoint, that's interesting because it could mean that pro-wrestling vis-a-vis French history has much closer roots to the catch-as-catch-can style than to the more modern form of "sports entertainment". Consider in the United States when you tell someone you watch wrestling or even pro-wrestling. The usual response is "Like WWE?" though I often hear "Like UFC?" as well. This indicates that Vince McMahon practically changed the meaning of pro-wrestling and defined it in terms of his image.

 

Concerning pro-wrestling history in France, I suppose I could look into it years down the road if I ever make it there to do some historical work. But France has always had carnivals, and I'm sure pro-wrestling was there on some capacity.

 

William Regal made remarks that pro-wrestling was strangely comical in the late 80s when he toured there.

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I found this just now

 

http://www.myspace.com/karaoui/blog/463212097

 

Pro Wrestling & Catch Wrestling are FRENCH

 

Professional wrestling began in France around 1830. Wrestlers who had no access to the wrestling elite, formed troupes that travelled around France showing their talent. Wrestlers thus frequented wild animals’ exhibitors, tightrope walkers and bearded women. Showmen presented wrestlers under names such as “Edward, the steel eater”, “Gustave d’Avignon, the bone wrecker”, or “Bonnet, the ox of the low Alps” and challenged the public to knock them down for 500 francs. In 1848, French showman Jean Exbroyat created the first modern wrestlers’ circus troupe and established as a rule not to execute holds below the waist. He named this new style « flat hand wrestling ». Upon Mr. Exbroyat’s death in 1872, Mr. Rossignol-Rollin attorney from Lyon assumed the direction of this troupe and was soon noticed for his ability to advertise, to « arrange » matches and to reward wrestlers in the name of the audience.The French influence extended to the Austrian Hungarian Empire, to Italy, to Denmark and to Russia and the new style circulated under the name of Greco-Roman wrestling, classic wrestling or French wrestling. Professional wrestling matches were thus organized everywhere in Europe with variable programs and competition rules according to the taste of wrestlers, of managers and of the audience. In 1898, the Frenchman Paul Pons, also named “the Colossus”, was the first Professional World Champion just before the Polish Ladislaus Pytlasinski. Some other great champions succeeded him, like the Turkish Kara Ahmed (the eastern Monster), the Bulgarian Nikola Petrov (the lion of the Balkans) or the Russian Ivan Poddoubni (the Champion of Champions).At the end of the 19th century, professional wrestling was the most in vogue sport in Europe, but it started to degrade from 1900 because of the pre-arranged matches, the announcement of forgery, false victories and false nationalities of the competitors. The rediscovery of Olympic amateurism encouraged the creation of numerous clubs and schools that finished professional wrestling off. However, from a historical point of view, professional wrestling has its indisputable merits. Competitions contributed to making wrestling more popular, the physical aspect of wrestlers served as a model to young men and the training system allowed amateur wrestling clubs to rapidly become more structured. Extract taken from the International Olympic Wrestling Federation

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The French called it lutte and lutteurs, catch/catcheurs is just the usual adjustment to the ~1930 boom in America that people like DeGlane, Irslington and Oakeley exported to Europe and South Africa. It would be really interesting to see as much footage as possible of those products. The French middleweights who had a bodybuilding background around 1950 were really successful. Interestingly Rene Lasartesse once wrote how the Hungarian booker Bela Barothy (IIRC it was in Berlin) welcomed one of those French middleweights only to instantly say to a right hand that he would let him go ASAP - he hadn't seen his wrestle, he based his decision on the way the wrestler handled himself, he was plain and didn't have the "it factor". Some things never change.

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I have no idea if there is footage around, but Robert Duranton was a pretty big wrestling star in the 60's. Here he is in the infamous shower scene from "Le Corniaud" (one of the most popular French comedy ever) with all-time great comedian Louis de Funes :

 

 

(As you would probably guess, he was a heel, and had a male valet with him named Firmin.)

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I also tracked down this video that will give you a comprehensive view of the nature of french wrestling culture.

 

Ditch's site has a Martel/Jumbo match where Martel comes out to Let's Hear It for the Boy. It sounds like it was dubbed over whatever his actual entrance music was, but it's still awesome.

 

Gilbert Cesca vs. Billy Catanzarro

 

http://www.mediafire.com/?f3ane2kyyu72aew

The best part of this match is the commentator saying "ooh la la" at one point. I wasn't aware French people actually said that.

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Don't know if he is still there, but right at point I was leaving figurefourboard, there was a guy who posted as Celian Varini who claimed to have interviewed a bunch of the wrestlers and fans of French catch of the 50s/60s and seemed super knowledgeable.

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Don't know if he is still there, but right at point I was leaving figurefourboard, there was a guy who posted as Celian Varini who claimed to have interviewed a bunch of the wrestlers and fans of French catch of the 50s/60s and seemed super knowledgeable.

He's actually the French announcer for TNA. Has been for years now I believe. I haven't followed wrestling on French TV since 1997, but I have checked out on occasion to see how good the announcers were, and I must say I was quite impressed actually (the WWE announcers are also pretty good, much better than the american ones, maybe because they are old-school fans as showed by them using a few indiosyncrasies Eddie Carpentier used to say, and don't have Vince yelling in their hears either).

 

Celian Varini is that guy :

Celian Varini interviews Mickie James

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Someone on F4W posted a match of L'Ange Blanc:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyLAnieaUfQ

Thanks ! This is great ! Never saw L'Ange Blanc before. My father told me once he and his highschool friends used to sneak in to watch his match at times. Great submission hold at the end.

 

Seriously, this is some amazing stuff. Roger Couderc punching a heckler just made my day ! And really, although I knew about his reputation as an all-time great sport announcer (he was mainly calling rugby matches) but I've never quite heard him before. Just take my word on this : he's *awesome*. He doesn't know the technical aspect of the game, but damn can he talk and sell the action, with some fun lines thrown in at the right moment. I can see why Eddie Carpentier respected him so much.

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Guest Andrews

France also has an independent wrestling magazine running today, which is very much an Apter mag type of deal.

 

Posted Image

 

I picked one up when I took my family to France and it was mostly photo based with minimal text.

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I think there were 2-3 different publications of this kind in Germany 20 years ago and I think in the UK, too. So I guess that the concept is still somewhat valid in the mind of European publishers.

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Guest Andrews

I think there were 2-3 different publications of this kind in Germany 20 years ago and I think in the UK, too.

The UK has Fin Martin's Power Slam magazine which has been running for a couple of decades (Before that Fin produced Superstars of Wrestling). It is a credible magazine and the "PS50" tends to garner a lot of discussion every year still. There is also a magazine called Fighting Spirit Magazine which has been going for a few years now which is far less credible frankly (ad's for tiny indy shows featuring copyrighted images, spelling and grammar mistakes, promoting nobodies as if they were somebodies) and a general tone of pandering to the Internet crowds. It's editor is known to go across all sorts of wrestling forums plugging issues and asking for feedback which is a bit of a running joke within some circles.

 

We should do a magazine thread...

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The UK has Fin Martin's Power Slam magazine which has been running for a couple of decades (Before that Fin produced Superstars of Wrestling). It is a credible magazine and the "PS50" tends to garner a lot of discussion every year still. There is also a magazine called Fighting Spirit Magazine which has been going for a few years now which is far less credible frankly (ad's for tiny indy shows featuring copyrighted images, spelling and grammar mistakes, promoting nobodies as if they were somebodies) and a general tone of pandering to the Internet crowds. It's editor is known to go across all sorts of wrestling forums plugging issues and asking for feedback which is a bit of a running joke within some circles.

FSM is far better than PS now. PS is just a total joke. I'm not even sure Fin Martin even watches wrestling anymore. He just spends the whole mag sniping at Cena and Henry and going on about Christian should be the top guy and stuff. It's like someone gave Scott Keith a printing press. FSM's improved loads under Brian Elliot though.

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Andrews when was the last time you read FSM? It's by far the best wrestling magazine nowadays. The historical articles are fantastic, as are the guest columns by the likes of Jim Cornette and Steve Austin.

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Guest Andrews

Andrews when was the last time you read FSM? It's by far the best wrestling magazine nowadays. The historical articles are fantastic, as are the guest columns by the likes of Jim Cornette and Steve Austin.

I was sent a copy about five or six months ago, I don't recall who the editor was or what time period of ownership that would have fallen under.

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This is not French but interesting Euro vintage nonetheless...

 

http://www.rtve.es/filmoteca/no-do/not-97/1465300/

 

There's a clip here of a catch-as-catch-can bout held in Vienna (Austria) in 1944. Go to the link and click on the right bookmark called "Deportes" (Sport) to skip right to it.

 

The ring's skirt is barely visible at the start but it's an interesting one to say the least.

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It's the first time that I see vintage footage from any place where there are any logos of any kind on the skirt. I'd have expected a big ass banner like on other sports events or flags decorating ringside like at boxing events during Nazi Germany but it was amusing to see it on the ring skirt. I always thought ring skirt decorations came several decades later.

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