Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Tuesday is French Catch Day: Robin! Rene Ben! Cesca! Saulnier! Marconville!

Guy Robin vs Al Araujo 11/27/59

MD: This show was out there but I don't think we've covered it. It's our last look at a personal favorite of this footage in Guy Robin. He didn't disappoint. Robin's constant motion in his matches, one of the most hyper wrestlers I can think of. He's always sneaking a shot in (especially a kneedrop to the throat), always arguing with the ref or the crowd, always stooging back. Pure entertainment, this guy. Araujo, who we've only seen briefly and won't see again, had this great rolling leg pick takedown, a really fun seesaw leverage submission that's hard to explain and which he turned into a catapult late in the match, and a cavernaria. He was working from underneath for a lot of this though. I'm glad that my last image of Robin is going to be him missing a knee drop off the rope and getting DQed for having a violent hissy fit over it as people throw trash at him. That's probably how he'd want to go out.



Rene Ben Chemoul vs. Gilbert Cesca 11/27/59

MD: This was out before, but no one who had watched it previously could compare it to the Arroyo vs Chaisne match from a week prior, and that is 100% the natural point of comparison. Both are stylist vs stylist. Both go about 30 minutes. The match from the week before was more clever in its spots and escalated to something that was harder hitting, but this one might have had a bit more energy and verve at times, with a few more spectacular spots and dives. Both Cesca and Ben Chemoul wiped out big at times. Ben Chemoul went sailing through the ropes to nowhere to start the last third of the match. Before that, they worked long hold sequences with frequent escape attempts (including an absolutely beautiful flying entrance into a short arm scissors from a top wristlock that I had to go back and watch three times). After that, the match really took off with some great back focus by Cesca and subsequent revenge by Ben Chemoul. The end sequence, likewise, had Cesca totally wipe out and clothesline himself on the bottom rope. Post match, Ben Chemoul talked up Cesca and the fans were very appreciative of what they just saw.

PAS: Man was this great. This wasn't at the level of Cesca vs. Cantanzarro, but it was in the neighborhood. I imagine if this was the first French singles to show up, it would have achieved a similar level of acclaim. Some of the counters and twists and turns were as cool here as anything we have seen. Cesca had some really nastiness to his attack, grinding the spine with his knuckles in a way which felt a little past the congenial level of the rest of the match. This also had two of the crazier bumps in all of the footage. Chemoul takes a bump to the floor which was functionally a tope to nowhere, and Cesca massacres himself on the bottom rope before getting pinned. These guys show up later as a cool tag team, but it is awesome we get to see them matched up in a top flight singles match. 


Cheri Bibi/Pierre Bernaert vs. Warnia de Zarzecki/Ami Sola 12/11/59

MD: We get about 11 minutes that constitutes the last fall of this match. It gives us a concise unit with a lot of action up front as de Zarzecki and Sola make quick tags and beat on the heels. Best spot in this was Bibi shrugging off a Sola dropkick only to miss a charge and go diving through the ropes and eat a bunch of dropkicks (with Bernaert eating them as well) after he made it back in. I like Bibi more in these last few appearances than in the early ones. I don't know if he's gotten better of I've just gotten more used to him. He's just a bruiser and a goon, but he has a pretty good sense of when to give and when not to. At one point, Zarzecki tried to slip behind into a hammerlock from a headlock, and Bibi just jammed him and fell backwards with a quasi-German. Despite that, he was still able to work the style and hit an up and over headscissors out of a top wristlock. He was also a looming presence with his ever-present grin and a lot of bits of interference from the outside, especially on pins. Bernaert was a cheapshot artist as always, and he and Bibi made a good unit. We'll see them again. Zarzecki seemed off once or twice but hit more than he missed, including a giant swing, and catapulting Bernaert into Bibi in the corner. Sola didn't get to do his 'rana in this fall, but he had great strikes and maybe the first 10-count punch in the corner we've seen (which in this case was just three nasty elbows but you get the idea). He also did a tombstone which seems more prolific as a move at this point than it was half a year prior. Good stuff but we miss something for not having the whole match.

MD: It's our first chronological look at Saulnier, trainer of Petit Prince and Andre and just an excellent junior all around. It's our last match of the 50s. This feels a little transitional. I don't know if that'll play out in 60, but this match felt like an evolutionary step from French juniors wrestling being the same as the heavyweight style, just quicker, to having more of the complex spots and acrobatic flourishes we'd see later into the century. Little things chained together that we hadn't really seen earlier like following up a monkey flip with an immediate dropkick or some new bits of athleticism like Saulner's victory roll late or one of his up and over escapes having a few extra bits of mid-air hooking and turning. He was a little clunky about 10% of the time, but what he hit made it worth it and his selling, which really stood out in the era, absolutely made you look past it. There was definitely a sense of general damage and weight as the match went on. Marconville more than kept up with him but he was forced into the role of base, whether he wanted it or not, just by Saulnier's skill. It would take him three kip ups to get out of a hold (normal for the era) and Saulnier just one. Occasionally he'd get frustrated and a little violent or tease something untoward, but he never dipped far in that direction. When he got a solid advantage, he might show largess with a handshake. It all came off as very human given the situation. Good match but it felt more a preview of what was to come than anything else.

PAS:  This was full of feats of skill, but never really came together as a match, kind of like a neat Nitro match which didn't come together but had three cool Super Calo things. Saulnier was slick as seal shit in here, flying all around the ring, constantly looking for headscissors and victory rolls. The only thing which will stand the test of time here, was the finish with Saulnier kipping up directly into a vicious headbutt for the win. Totally awesome spot, and something that an indy wrestler should totally jack. We have seen and assuredly will see better Saulnier and this was a nice tease. 


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