Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Tuesday is French Catch Day: Bibi! Husberg! Gugliemetti! Crapez! Kopa! Marquez

Cheri Bibi/Eric Husberg vs Giacomi Gugliemetti/Philippe Crapez 3/6/66

MD: This was a crowd-pleaser tag but lacked the sort of heat generated by the heels being in charge for any sort of extended period that would make it more than simple fun. There was never really any emotion or drama to this one. It almost felt like the worst part of the Hayes/Hunter tags where Hunter could simply come in and crush guys with his size and reach. That was absolutely Gugliemetti's gimmick here, more so than when we'd seen him previously. He had huge reach and would just slap and whack the heels in the face repeatedly and there was nothing they could do. It was played for laughs with Bibi trying to get a hand to block it, managing it for one or two but then getting slapped. The whole match was like this, interspersed with the heels trying to get control with chinlocks and double teaming, but the tags coming too quick and too easy from the stylist side. Occasionally, Bibi would get riled and would throw a great headbutt but it was never really followed up with the right sort and the right amount of heel brutality to make this balanced. There were a couple of fun (and again crowd-pleasing) set pieces with the heels in the ropes, and the finish was clever with Gugliemetti using his size to hold down the ropes as Bibi was trying to bounce off of them to get Crapez who was held across the ring by Husberg, but it was all too lopsided for the fans to feel it all warranted, except for on the basis of previous matches. I liked Husberg as always. He had a way of preening that was absolutely heatseeking and larger than life while never seeming entirely bufoonish or cartoonish. Crapez looked pretty good here, with some nice shots, a few nice dropkicks, and a very cool and novel roll through on one of those arm drag slams that end so many falls, where he was able to pick up Bibi for a backbreaker. This just needed more real heat to compare positively to a lot of the other tags we've been seeing lately.

SR: 2/3 falls match going about 30 minutes. Another night of gentlemen in various stages of balding forearming the hell out of each other. I really liked Guguglielemetti constantly throwing hands and slapping the shit out of people. Bibi and Husberg played fair initially, but the crowd already hated them thoroughly and wanted to see them get put on their asses. So Bibi and Husberg switched to the tactic of cheapshotting and isolating their opponents in the corner quickly. Crapez was a bear of a man and had this insane backbreaker lifted from the floor at one point. This was decent.

Tito Kopa vs. Pepe Marquez 3/20/66

PAS: Kopa is a Argentinian wrestler who had a pretty long run in the US in the 50s and 60s. He was short, really hairy and built like a block of wood. Lots of the early part of the match had Marquez trying and failing to grab a headlock on Kopa's slick bald head. It was a nice bit of business and it really felt like a triumph when Marquez got a headlock takeover in the end of the match. Nothing super flashy here, Marquez had a spot where he spun off of the ref's back to escape something which was neat, but this was mostly basic. Kopa hit hard, and I really liked his bear hug finish where he drove his gross little head into Marquez's chest, but I didn't think this had 35 minutes worth of stuff to really recommend it as a match. Still Kopa is a cool historical character and it is neat we get to see what he brought to the table. 

MD: I enjoyed this one a lot. It's our second and last look at Marques. We'd seen him in a really good stylist vs stylist match vs Sola previously. I wish we had twenty more matches with him. He's very good, with a lot of interesting escapes, some novel holds (like the Gagne deathlock), a tendency to flip over the ref while escaping things, and an explosiveness with strikes and dropkicks and just ramming Kopa's head into the corner repeatedly. Plus he had some narrative driven arm-selling in the first half of the match that let him work some comebacks without transitions which is still rare for French wrestling. Kopa was an interesting guy to watch, just a fireplug tank, dogged, tough, mean. He wrenched holds and had a lot of fairly simple ways to hurt you, with believable stoic no-selling and a bevy of inside moves (hidden chokes and punches and what have you). For much of the match, Kopa would keep control with a hold as Marques found interesting ways to escape and fire back only to get dragged back down. I liked how in the last third, Marques got an extended revenge headlock section that in other matches would have been in the first third instead, but it worked as a sort of celebratory comeuppance here. Kopa ultimately won with Quasimodo's tombstone-position repeated body lift, which was a pretty good move for Kopa's size and shape. Marques seemed to be someone who could work anyone anywhere and have a good match but I imagine Kopa shined best with the right opponent.

SR: 1 fall match going about 30 minutes. Kopa is one of those US style wrestlers who only have a few simple holds. Other than that he would try to inside shot his opponent, but everything he did was extremely basic. I liked his head first corner bumps to accentuate his shortness. Marquez looked quite good here. Really sold those simple armlocks like hell, and had nice retaliations in the form of cool dropkicks and uppercuts. I really liked how he strangled Kopa and then stomped on his throat. That said this was about 10-15 minutes too long so it's only for the completists.

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