Segunda Caida

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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Tuesday is French Catch Day: Lamare! Duranton! Bouvet! Cohen! Josef el Arz! Black Shadow!

Ted Lamare vs Robert Duranton 7/26/73

SR: 1 fall match going a bit over 20 minutes. We've seen so many stoic French wrestlers, that Duranton with his flamboyant mannerisms looks like The Rock in comparison. Lamare has thickened up since we last saw him, but he was still a decent wrestler. This started with Lamare outwrestling Duranton in fun ways and then builds into a slugfest. Duranton really liked his boxing stance and kept throwing punches which made him a bit more interesting than the usual heels. Loved the little punch combo he threw towards the end. I enjoyed these guys trying to take each others heads off with the uppercuts and the finish was memorable with Lamare going headfirst into the steel ringpost and bleeding. I thought Lamare needed to show a bit more fire or at least make another comeback rally to make this really good but it was a fun look at the heavyweights from the time period.

MD: Duranton did change with the times. He was 46 here and went from being a bodybuilder sort when we first saw him in 1958 to a Gorgeous George takeoff with the valet, to whatever he was now, sort of a flamboyant gladiator boxer who didn't actually do much boxing. He'd more get an advantage some other way and then do some strutting and shadow boxing. Though he was still full of antics (grabbing the ref's leg while in a hold, flailing about while getting spun around, etc), I miss the valet. I bet the crowd did too. Still, he could get heat and could still hit hard at times. Lamare was a game opponent. We hadn't seen him in a while but he reminded me here a bit of a Frank Dusek sort, meat and potatoes, no nonsense, technically sound, able to lock in a hold and keep it throughout escape attempts. He was a serious and punishing straight man, a disappointed stern uncle, to Duranton's over the top antics. Duranton received plenty of comeuppance but not the final, definitive sort, instead slamming Lamare's head into the post and winning by counting and then getting out while the getting was good. This is probably more interesting as another match in Duranton's collective works than anything that would stand on its own.

Georges Cohen/Gerard Bouvet vs Josef el Arz/Black Shadow 8/20/73

MD: This deep into the footage, we don't see too many wrestlers that we haven't seen before. That's true here but Bouvet is someone we'd only seen in a JIP singles match, so it's nice to see him in something lengthy. He paired up well with Cohen, quick and savvy, with strong, engaging selling, and some big spots with cartwheels and dropkicks. El Arz and Black Shadow are one of the more interesting bad guy pairings we've seen and I don't think I've given them enough credit so far. A Lebanese 44 year old and a black American 27 year old former football player (called, by the announcer, James Linton, who I haven't been able to find out a lot about), they were able to get a lot of heat. Some of that might have been just from who they were, but a lot of it was in how they wrestled. They had gotten down the pattern of double teaming in the corner > heel on the inside admonished by the ref > heel on the outside used the distraction to attack illegally > babyface partner tries to get in > double team again as ref is distracted by him > repeat the process. I know that doesn't sound novel but it was still a process being developed over these years and this is probably the best I've seen it in the footage overall. They also fed and bumped all over the ring and Josef especially was a great striker, with some nasty gut shots. Some of the tags were too easy but they did have to cover 30 minutes and the hot tag in the last fall did feel pretty hot and led to some satisfying crowd brawling, creative tandem spots, and the finish. This was good both as our first major look at Bouvet and maybe our best look at the Josef/Shadow team.

SR: 2/3 falls match going about 30 minutes. You won't be surprised to hear that the first fall of this had some amazing smooth exchanges and fantastic body control by Cohen and Bouvet. Not much matwork, just throws and rope running, but executed really sharply. The heels were hard nosed and tough and soon did a number on the faces cutting off the ring, but the faces kept retaliating. Same story as all these French tags, really. I liked El Arz who seemed to have some solid wrestling skill and Shadow had good stomps and stooging. It was a solid effort but there are so many amazing French tags that it takes a bit more than that to be memorable.

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