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Al Hayes vs. Guy Robin (aired 3/22/57)

This was a decent match. I wouldn't regard Hayes as one of the finer British technicians, but he was popular at the time and a regular at the Royal Albert Hall so it was interesting to see him in action. The only other footage we have of him from this early is the tag match from Paul Lincoln Promotions. Lincoln promoted a style of wrestling that had a real US influence with lots of colorful gimmicks. Hayes played the blue eye lead against this cast of characters, and you can kind of see elements of that in this match. As is so often the case, it was the heel that captured the imagination. We've seen Robin once before in the Bob ALPRA footage. He looked like a savvy performer. I liked the way he progressed from comedy spots to serious heel heat. I definitely want to see the rest of his footage since talented undercard performers are always a treat. 

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Marcel Motta & Angelito vs. Le Marquis Richard Fumulo de la Rossignolette & Black Shadow (5/28/85)

This was late into the catch broadcasts but there was still a lot of good stuff on ITV in 1985 so I thought I would give it a go. It was actually pretty fun. It was a bit like watching a lucha undercard match where you don't know any of the workers. Actually, I thought the Marquis looked familiar and he ended up being Jacky Richard who we saw in a lot of the late 70s/early 80s tags that ABCCatch uploaded 5 years ago. Not an essential match by any means but better than it looked on paper. 

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Joachim La Barba vs. Inca Peruano (aired 1/17/57)

According to my research, Inca Peruano was a Peruvian wrestler named Rocky Tamayo who went on to work for the WWWF, All Japan and New Japan under different aliases. He also worked in territories such as St. Louis, Florida, Memphis, Georgia and the Carolinas. La Barba was better known to UK fans as Pancho Zapata. They actually showed a clip of him wrestling Jeff Kaye on the final WoS episode. He made one early appearance on ITV where he KO'ed by Mick McManus. That was the same episode that had an extremely rare appearance by Luther Lindsay. There was nothing pretty about this match. It was a good ol' fashioned slugfest. Personally, I thought it was a terrific brawl and hope to see more matches like it in the future. If you're serious about your brawling you may find that the comedy detracts from it a bit, but I liked how they packaged it all together. Entertaining bout. 

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Rene Lasartesse vs. Franz Van Buyten (aired 1/17/72)

This was a disappointment. You hope for a classic between these two and you get a gimmick match, and a shitty gimmick match at that. Some of the work seemed okay but the match was long and they committed the cardinal sin of being boring. The finish was stupid and the match was completely unsatisfying. 

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Iska Khan vs. Jim Oliver (aired 2/1/57)

This was good stuff. On the surface, it wasn't that dissimilar from a lot of 50s matches with Asian stereotypes, but it was stiffer and nastier. A lot of that was due to Oliver, who was allegedly quite fiery in real life. I really liked his performance here. I could see Khan being more of your generic Asian worker against other wrestlers. Oliver had an edge to him that made this more violent than expected. You could see it in the way he barbed with the crowd after the bout. It's a shame that he doesn't show up on tape again, but his brother has a match against Bert Royal which I'm looking forward to.

Francis Louis/Jean Claude Bordeaux vs. Antonio Pereira/Mota Dos Santos (aired 4/24/72)

What the fuck happened to catch in the early 70s? I've been reading some memories from a guy who lived in Paris in the early 70s and the scene seemed watered down at the time, but between this and the swimming pool match, I'm at a loss. This was some avant-garde shit right here. It was this gimmick called Luna Wrestling 2000 where the wrestlers are shot into the ring by a springboard powered by compressed air. There is an AP clip about it on YouTube if anyone is interested. The actual wrestling is hard to follow since it's skinny, preliminary types doing a bunch of loose, flippy shit. There are rules until the third fall where there no rules, and only a few ways where they can use the springboard to do a move. The leaps get boring after a while but it's worth seeing once. 

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Before I dive into this week's catch, I want to clear up some of the confusion over what promotion is running the shows.

I did a little digging and apparently there were four promotions in the 60s and 70s.

The first was the Federation Francaise de Lutte Professionnel (The French Federation of Professional Wrestling) headed by matchmaker Maurice Durand. His stable of wrestlers included Gilbert Leduc, Le Bourreau de Bethune, Cheri Bibi and his convict henchman Eric Husberg, Jack de Lassartesse, Jose Arroyo, The Batman and James Brown. 

Then there was the Federation Francaises des Lutteurs independants (The French Federation of Independent Wrestlers) led by Roger Delaporte. This was the promotion that was based in the Elysee Montmartre. Its talent pool included Delaporte and Andre Bollet, Bobby Duranton and his valet Firmin, Lino di Santo, Frank Valois and Eddy and Jacky Wiecz.

The Federation International de Lutte de Combat (The International Fighting Federation) was headed by Albert and Rene Ben Chemoul and Alex Goldstein. It included wrestlers like Walter Bordes and Gilbert Cesca. This group ran shows at the Cirque d’Hiver. I believe a lot of the 70s footage we have is from this promotion.

Lastly, there was the Federation Francaise de Catch Professionnel (The French Federation of Professional Wrestling) run by Robert Lageat and Etienne Siry. This promotion featured names like L'Ange Blanc, Andre Drapp, Jean Menard, Le Petit Prince, Jacky Corn, and others.

According to which source you read, these promoters either competed with each other for the ORTF television slot, or they worked together sharing talent with each other. We don't have the full picture yet. A lot of the English information is confusing as it says that Roger Delaporte took over the Federation Francaise de Catch Professionnel in 1960 but it's not clear if that is the promotion run by Lageat and Siry or some other organization. The English info points to Delaporte as being the most important promoter at the time but the French info leans more toward Lageat, Siry and Durand. 

At the moment, it's not clear which promotion was on TV at which time. Hopefully, that will become clearer as more footage is released. It may depend on the venue. It doesn't appear that there was any type of unifying body like the NWA or Joint Promotions, but we're still trying to put together the pieces. 

 

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Dave Finlay & Ian Gilmour vs. Guy Mercier & Alan Mitchells (aired 8/25/80)

Ian Gilmour was one of the golden boys of British wrestling during the 1970s. The footage we have of him is mostly of him tagging with Jeff Kaye though he does appear in one of the only Jackie Pallo matches we have. It looked like he was having fun playing a lippy heel in front of a delightful French crowd. Finlay still had a bit of the "lad" about him. He looked like some kid Gilmour brought with him on tour. I think he's better in his early ITV work but perhaps I'm biased. You could see flashes of his mean streak during the beatdowns he gave but he mostly played second fiddle to Gilmour. He looked like an absolute thug, though. You could have easily cast him as the muscle in any Brit crime flick from this era. He seemed to have a perpetual scowl on his face, and the way he beat guys up felt like he was trying to hurt them. The French guys were classic old-school, French grapplers. They looked like the splitting image of amateurs turned professionals, and body sculptors. I'm more familiar with Mercier's son, Marc, than either guy, but they looked like solid technicians. The match was entertaining. The crowd certainly enjoyed it. I kept wondering if the commentator was Roger Couderc. Whoever he was, he was having a whale of a time. There were a few too many shenanigans with the ref for this to enter the cannon of great French matches, but it was fun. 

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For what it's worth, here are my favorite early Finlay matches before he hooked up with Princess Paula and changed his look (and style):

Dave Finlay vs. Young David (Davey Boy Smith) (3/9/82)
Dave Finlay vs. Ringo Rigby (2/16/83)
Dave Finlay vs. Alan Kilby (3/23/83)
Dave Finlay & Skull Murphy vs. Marty Jones & Clive Myers (6/13/83)
Dave Finlay & Skull Murphy vs. Marty Jones & Clive Myers (8/23/83)
Marty Jones vs. Dave Finlay (4/4/84)
Marty Jones vs. Dave Finlay (11/23/84, JIP Rd 4)

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Jean Bout vs. Liano Pellacani (aired 2/15/57)

This was fantastic. Just a great heavyweight fight. The crowd was hot and both guys did a great job of whipping them into a frenzy. I was impressed by the pace they worked in the opening fall. Even when things slowed down in the second fall, the intensity was still there, and when they finally let rip with the brawling there were all these guys in the crowd punching the air and egging them on. I've mentioned before that it can be difficult to get behind the French baby faces, but I thought Bout was tremendous here. He kept stalking Pellacani around the ring like some kind of machine that can only go forward. Pellacani drew a lot heat by simply being Italian. At one point someone threw a cigarette or cigar at his arm. He wasn't quite as good as Jim Oliver, but he was burly and good at the rough and tumble stuff. They worked an injury finish, which was a common finish in Europe and at times the bane of my existence when going through the British footage. I was okay with it here since we haven't seen too much of it yet and it didn't ruin the bout. For what it's worth, I've been really impressed by the seconds in this 50s footage. Man, do they put some work in. They even fix the wrestlers' hair. The crowds are great too. They look like caricatures from a French movie. We get another few appearances from these guys so I'm looking forward to seeing how they go with other workers, and whether the chemistry was simply good this night. 

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On 2/12/2020 at 12:52 PM, ohtani's jacket said:

Before I dive into this week's catch, I want to clear up some of the confusion over what promotion is running the shows.

I did a little digging and apparently there were four promotions in the 60s and 70s.

The first was the Federation Francaise de Lutte Professionnel (The French Federation of Professional Wrestling) headed by matchmaker Maurice Durand. His stable of wrestlers included Gilbert Leduc, Le Bourreau de Bethune, Cheri Bibi and his convict henchman Eric Husberg, Jack de Lassartesse, Jose Arroyo, The Batman and James Brown. 

Then there was the Federation Francaises des Lutteurs independants (The French Federation of Independent Wrestlers) led by Roger Delaporte. This was the promotion that was based in the Elysee Montmartre. Its talent pool included Delaporte and Andre Bollet, Bobby Duranton and his valet Firmin, Lino di Santo, Frank Valois and Eddy and Jacky Wiecz.

The Federation International de Lutte de Combat (The International Fighting Federation) was headed by Albert and Rene Ben Chemoul and Alex Goldstein. It included wrestlers like Walter Bordes and Gilbert Cesca. This group ran shows at the Cirque d’Hiver. I believe a lot of the 70s footage we have is from this promotion.

Lastly, there was the Federation Francaise de Catch Professionnel (The French Federation of Professional Wrestling) run by Robert Lageat and Etienne Siry. This promotion featured names like L'Ange Blanc, Andre Drapp, Jean Menard, Le Petit Prince, Jacky Corn, and others.

According to which source you read, these promoters either competed with each other for the ORTF television slot, or they worked together sharing talent with each other. We don't have the full picture yet. A lot of the English information is confusing as it says that Roger Delaporte took over the Federation Francaise de Catch Professionnel in 1960 but it's not clear if that is the promotion run by Lageat and Siry or some other organization. The English info points to Delaporte as being the most important promoter at the time but the French info leans more toward Lageat, Siry and Durand. 

At the moment, it's not clear which promotion was on TV at which time. Hopefully, that will become clearer as more footage is released. It may depend on the venue. It doesn't appear that there was any type of unifying body like the NWA or Joint Promotions, but we're still trying to put together the pieces. 

 

Excellent work here mate.

Okay, so do we know what years the four promotions ran from and till? I was able to find info on the Fédération Française de Catch Professionnel which said the company ran from 1933-1989 and that it was restarted in 2006, dunno how accurate that is though.

Was there only one television slot? Maybe it was like how World Championship Wrestling on TBS was shown, as in WCW was the shows name regardless of whether GCW, WWF or JCP had te contract, or like how World Of Sport/ITV Wrestling was run with the name being the same regardless of whether Joint, ASW or WWF was shown?

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I am not sure about the television slots, but the show was always listed as "Catch" similar to how Joint Promotions was "Wrestling on ITV." 

During the 60s, there were seven "galas" a week in Paris at l'Elysée Montmartre, la Salle Wagram, le Stadium, le Palais des Sports de Paris, La Mutualité, le Cirque d'Hiver and Vélodrome d'Hiver de Paris. I'm assuming that the producers of the TV show taped at different venues similar to how Wrestling on ITV taped at different venues around the country. 

We may never get to the bottom of it and people will simply refer to it as catch just like British wrestling is referred to as World of Sport or Joint Promotions.

 

 

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12 hours ago, ohtani's jacket said:

I am not sure about the television slots, but the show was always listed as "Catch" similar to how Joint Promotions was "Wrestling on ITV." 

During the 60s, there were seven "galas" a week in Paris at l'Elysée Montmartre, la Salle Wagram, le Stadium, le Palais des Sports de Paris, La Mutualité, le Cirque d'Hiver and Vélodrome d'Hiver de Paris. I'm assuming that the producers of the TV show taped at different venues similar to how Wrestling on ITV taped at different venues around the country. 

We may never get to the bottom of it and people will simply refer to it as catch just like British wrestling is referred to as World of Sport or Joint Promotions.

 

 

Okay so am I right in thinking that regardless of which promotion provided the matches, the TV show was always simply known as "Catch"?

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The broadcasts are all archived as “Catch.” Ocassionally, the title includes the broadcast date or venue. The TV guide listings I’ve seen from the era list the show as Catch. Interestingly, they seem to give the TV director a credit. 

It will be interesting to see if there is a shift in tone between the late 50s stuff and the 60s footage. We haven’t seen a lot of cartoony gimmicks yet. For the first 30 years of its existence, professional catch came under the umbrella of the FFL, which I believe is the official governing body for amateur wrestling. The two parted ways in 1958, so it will be interesting to see the effect that has. 

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Thanks to the Segunda Caida guys for supplying footage of the great Franz van Buyten who passed away this week.

Franz van Buyten vs. Robert Gastel (aired 7/5/71)

This small masterpiece was a reminder of why I think van Buyten is one of the European greats. His opponent was the brawler, Robert Gastel. They used to call Gastel the "The Bull Of Batignolles", and "Le Matraqueur des Rings", the Bludgeoner of the Rings. A man described by one journalist as "a monument to violence." We have footage of Gastel wrestling the barefoot judoka, Gaby Calderon, but this is the first full length match we've seen. What I loved about this is that even though Gastel was clearly past his prime, van Buyten treated him entirely on his merits as a wrestler. They could have easily fucked around like we see in so many matches from the Chicago Archives and other classic wrestling sources, but van Buyten wrestled a beautiful match. Gastel was known to have some wrestling skill and van Buyten respected that. And when it came time for the bludgeoning, van Buyten sold it beautifully. The thing about van Buyten was that he was just so graceful. Even in a match like this, against a guy who abhorred poetic grace, there was something sublime about the way van Buyten wrestled. It's hard to imagine that a guy like him got old and sick. This was a wonderful bout to watch in light of his death. 

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Franz van Buyten vs. Rocky Della Serra (aired 7/28/84)

I am pretty sure this was Rocky Della Serra, the brother of Bob Della Serra, who was the masked UFO. This wasn't bad. It felt like the best Piratenkampf match you could have on television. I don't think you can expect to see the long, gritty Piratenkampf matches from the house show handhelds. It was more like the World's Greatest Reslo match. I'm pretty sure we've seen this type of TV before as well with the staged crowd reactions and the cutaway to the folks sitting in a studio. The ones sitting in front of that painting. I've definitely seen that painting before in some of the colour footage we have. Televised catch was at death's door at this point (pardon my analogy), so just the fact that this was halfway decent was a godsend. 

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22 hours ago, ohtani's jacket said:

The broadcasts are all archived as “Catch.” Ocassionally, the title includes the broadcast date or venue. The TV guide listings I’ve seen from the era list the show as Catch. Interestingly, they seem to give the TV director a credit. 

It will be interesting to see if there is a shift in tone between the late 50s stuff and the 60s footage. We haven’t seen a lot of cartoony gimmicks yet. For the first 30 years of its existence, professional catch came under the umbrella of the FFL, which I believe is the official governing body for amateur wrestling. The two parted ways in 1958, so it will be interesting to see the effect that has. 

Interesting, hopefully more info will become available in due time! It would be nice to know exactly who was promoting which matches at a particular time.

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Bert Royal vs. Tony Oliver (aired 2/22/57)

Watching a young Bert Royal is a bit like seeing a young Prince Charles. Bert Royal was on the very first episode of ITV wrestling in 1955 and was a staple of televised wrestling for almost 30 years. I've always thought of him as the Dory Funk Jr. to Vic Faulkner's Terry Funk, but the one thing he was genuinely good at was playing the fired up babyface, which he did time and time again against Jackie Pallo, Mick McManus, Chic Purvey and Steve Logan. It's no surprise then that he excels at that role against Tony Oliver. This is supposed to be a title match -- I'm guessing for the European Light Heavyweight title (European title histories are a mess from this era) -- but it never really gets going because of Oliver's inside moves. Don't get me wrong, I think Oliver is fantastic, but Walton and his legend of purists wouldn't have enjoyed this. Bert didn't get to wrestle in this, and some of his retaliatory moves had me questioning the rules of French catch. As far as I recall, in British wrestling you couldn't strike a wrestler that was lying on the mat, but Bert struck like a cobra every time that Oliver was prone. Oliver was brilliant at working inside moves, and he had an amazing mug that looked like he'd had his face punched inside out and was still grinning, but despite the niggle and aggression, I'm not sure if this was title match worthy. That would be my only criticism, especially after Royal won with a comeuppance move. If you take title match wrestling out of the equation, or you choose not to care about the title match prestige as much as I do, then this was a great niggle-filled bout.

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In my review, I likened it to the familiarity of a title match structure, but that's because it felt like a late 70s Harley Race NWA title match (or maybe even Flair from five or six years later; they're similar and there are different traces of both), not necessarily a UK/European title match. I think that Royal's leeway to bend the rules came primarily out of the ref's frustration over how blatant Oliver was being about it. 

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I think if we see it as the latest in a series of matches like Khan vs. Oliver and Bout vs. Pellacani then it makes sense. I’ll try to watch it again and ignore the fact that it’s a title match, which shouldn’t be hard to do as I can’t find a record of this title change taking place. Hopefully, we get some other title matches too so that we can see how they were typically worked.

Some of my favorite Bert Royal stuff was when he’d get livid fighting Marc Rocco, so I think we got the best of Bert Royal here. 

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Dr. Adolf Kaiser vs. Michel Chaisne (aired 2/28/57)

This was our first real look at a character wrestler from the 50s footage. Kaiser is a guy whose reputation proceeds him. Jetlag has done a lot of research into him and gave an excellent write-up of him on Segunda Caida. Personally, I found him more camp and humourous than threatening or menacing. He got his ass kicked for most of the bout. It wasn't until the end where he applied his strangling hold that he seemed remotely sinister. The finish caused quite a stir, however, so let's see how the crowd react to him going forward. The match itself reminded me of those four round matches on World of Sport that would showcase the gimmick wrestlers. The jury is still out on Kaiser, but he's a name to keep track of. 

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