Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D, Sebastian, and other friends write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Tuesday is French Catch Day: Bollet! Khan! Lecoq! Said!

James McTiffin vs. Johnny Stein 10/2/59

SR: JIP. We get the last 7 minutes of this. Looked like a typical slow paced heatmongering Stein bout, although I liked McTiffin a lot here. He looked good working an indian deathlock and he had this really cool double lifting armlock. He also had a guy at ringside playing the bagpipes whenever he got in trouble, so that is stylish. Another thing that stood out is how he threw Stein with a bearhug for the KO. 

MD: We get a little over 8 minutes of this, JIP. Stein's the best guy in this footage that I'm really not interested in watching. He does everything right and isn't even that dry in his stalking, put off manner, but the matches tend to be very long and a little of him goes a long way. This had contrast at least and I bet all of the early comedy spots we didn't get were enjoyable. What we had here was a series of holds with the bagpipes rousing McTiffin to fight back. Both guys showed fire, McTiffin with revenge punishing and Stein hitting back to regain the advantage, and there was a clear sense that things were likely over when McTiffin rolled back with the flying inverted knucklelock but this was one I was glad we only had the tail end of.

Andre Bollet vs. Iska Khan 10/2/59

SR: 2/3 Falls match going about 35 minutes. This was all about the singular charisma of Andre Bollet. Both guys come in looking like megastars, Khan in his dress, Bollet in a robe that looks like a sports jacket. Bollet is every raunchy heel character you‘ve ever seen turned up to 11 here. He threatens to punch audience members, he slips when he attempts to make his grandiose entrance into the ring, people blow smoke at him through the ropes. When the match begins he is your drunk uncle causing a mess at your sisters marriage as everyone nervously waits for a fight to break out. He slips some more, he flips the announce table for no reason. It‘s an amazing show and the match may have peaked early there. Khan is quite great as a contained gentleman taking on this walking menace. It rules that they let a short asian guy with a Hitler stache be a superstar. The match was a bullshit tour de force, although there was some really fun wrestling, and plenty of Khan going to town on Bollet with those chops. There were a few great bumps, including Bollet getting launched into the audience, and taking a headfirst dive into the turnbuckle. There were also some nutshots which end up weirdly no-sold. For this kind of match it didn‘t build to the kind of epic crescendo it needed but it was certainly a masterclass in showmanship. 

MD: Bollet was a star. There's no other way to put it. We haven't seen him for two years (nor Khan) but he jaunts out to the ring, which had a large open area at ringside for some reason, and just does multiple laps around the ring, basking in it and getting heat. That's basically the whole match, from the moment he arrives to the moment he steals the flowers meant for Khan at the end (only to have Khan smash him with him as the footage cuts off). Between the second and third fall, he threatens Khan with the spit cup he'd been using, causing Khan to brandish a stool at him. Leading up to the end of the second fall, he had taken so much punishment that he just sat in the corner as the fans counted along with the ref, again and again and again until he suckered Khan in finally. It wasn't some grand plan, just sheer persistence. That was Bollet. He stuck to the bit past any reasonable point and the fans loved every second of it. Khan, here, was constantly on too. He was an amiable gent, but every time Bollet tried a tactic, he'd get almost immediate revenge. If Bollet snuck in a low blow knee in the corner (and it's worth noting that this isn't Puerto Rico; we haven't seen many fouls at all so far), he'd return the favor. If Bollet bit his hand, Khan would bite his ear, and so on. It made for a less than even match but certainly for an entertaining one. We have so much Bollet ahead of us, against Hayes and Hunter, against Drapp, against L'Ange Blanc, against Leduc and Gastel (and how does that team work?), against Carpentier so many times. He was a star and now we're stuck with him.

PAS: I could write an entire review about what Bollet does before the bell. He struts around the ring with his hands in the air, climbs over one fan to take a swing a a fan in the bleachers, does a pratfall into the ring, covers his ears with his hands,  leaves the ring because the fans keep booing him, wipes his sweaty head on the ref's shit and dickishly shadowboxes in the corner. He is on a thousand and keeps it rolling, he throws a big overhead belly to belly but flips his way to the ropes catches his foot and gets hit with a clothesline. There is another great spot where Bollet topes Khan in the corner, and goes for it again and takes a crazy bump through the corner. Khan was great in this too, he is all Mongolian chops and cool faces and is a pretty perfect foil for all of Bollet's stuff. The match ends with an orgy of cheating, nut shots from both, biting, and Bollet putting on a front facelock/fishook combo which was just an awesome bit of assholishness. What a blast this was, one of the most purely enjoyable matches in the entire project. 

Pierre Lecoq vs. Arabet Said 10/10/59

PAS: I thought this was tremendous. Lecoq is a new name and he is a tenacious technical heel. He spends most of the match gripping on to a hammer lock like a drowning man with a life preserver. Constantly going back to it, grinding it in, twisting the wrist and fingers. Said finds a lot of different ways to squirm out of it, and eventually it comes down to a great slugfest as these matches always do. Said really lays into Lecoq who seemed out of his depth standing and trading , and Said eventually lays him out with a series of nasty bodyslams into the ropes. Lecoq was landing weird every time, and it really looked like something that could rip ligaments. 

SR: 1 Fall match going a bit over 20 minutes. Another two names you‘ve never heard of deliver an awesome match of the day. Lecoq was balding in the corners and wearing a singlet, and had the look of a real tough as nails dude. He had a real singular focus on grounding his opponent and then either bending the fuck out of his fingers or delivering a straight up beating. Said was this wiery guy who had some fast wrestling movements that he pulled off in a very uncooperative way. You can find 2 guys like these in any amateur wrestling team in the country, back then they had the choice of either living a normal life after their amateur career or going pro and becoming awesome wrestlers working these spectacles, today there‘s no money to be made in local circuit wrestling so these guys all live normal lives now and we don‘t get scrappy violent fights like this anymore. I think Lecoq didn‘t even do a single move in this match besides the hammerlock but I loved him. He was also pretty great at stiffening up and flopping around when Said unleashed his violent retaliations. There‘s another fun crowd brawling segment where audience members were looking to have a go at Lecoq, and the finish was really fun as Lecoq takes a series of brutal slams. He is able to get out of the pin but has to quit the match as it seems his ribs got crushed, something I‘ve also seen in amateur wrestling matches.

MD: I've been waiting for a match like this for a while. We've seen little glimpses or moments of it before, but here it was, a match that was almost entirely built upon body part targeting. Look, it's reductive to point at body part targeting/selling as a true sign of psychology/storytelling as we define it in wrestling but it's an easy trope and something that can be used to great effect and we just haven't seen it almost at all in the footage. If we did see it, like in the Bollet vs Khan match after Bollet tossed Khan and hurt his arm, it was usually just for a minute or two and then they'd move on to some other focus. This entire match was built upon Lecoq grounding Said by working on his arm and Said breaking free, getting distance, and firing back. At times, especially early, he had to wrestle defensively, avoiding Lecoq's grasps with one arm behind his back and darting through his legs or dancing around away from him and ending with a drop toehold onto the ropes as if he was going to hit a 619. Most of his hold attempts were headscissors, out of necessity, and when he lost it, he'd dash right up to Lecoq to try to get him back in. All of this made sense, especially given the speed and intensity of the opening exchanges. Said was dangerous. Unfortunately for Lecoq, his uppercuts and jabs and headbutts still made him dangerous even with a hurt arm. Lecoq did his own fair share of selling, spinning out after getting hit and staggering around the ring, until he was able to land a blow onto Said's arm again or ground him with a hammerlock and toss kicks and knees in there. So this was a novel format relative to what we've seen so far, and guess what? It worked. The crowd was super into Said's comebacks, his striking and his head-twisters. They wanted blood whenever Lecoq went to the floor. That played into the finish actually. Lecoq went to argue with the fans and Said was able to hit a big running powerslam and then a couple of slams in the ropes, with Lecoq unable to meet the count (which makes that the second time we've seen a 10 count finish in a couple of weeks after not seeing it much at all so far). As for the limb focus, once you see something once in this footage, it's fair game to show up again, and with this match, it's almost like a missing puzzle piece snapped in.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Blogger Bremenmurray said...

Said more impressive in this match than when tagging with Minisini versus Delapote/Villars. The crowd go fucking wild during the scrap outside the ring

9:59 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home