Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Tuesday is French Catch Day: Blaire! McDonald! Primitiv! Lopez! Malpard! Marquis! Angelito! Gordon! Shadow! Frederico!

Linda Blaire vs Nicky McDonald 7/21/84

SR: It‘s a womens match. This was better than other 80s womens matches I‘ve seen from Europe, but that‘s not a high bar given that women were traditionally discriminated against in European wrestling. There was some decent stuff in here but not the super athletic shit you are used to see from French wrestlers. The annoying thing about the match was that it was part of that Le Dernier Manchette show where they kept cutting to certain members of the crowd and Roger Delaporte commentating. I have no idea if they still ran actual wrestling in the Elysee Montemartre at this stage or if these matches were just basically exhibitions for this documentary type TV show.

MD: The whole episode is here but it's timestamped to the start of the match. What I can say safely is that there's connection. The bald fan with mutton chops from the studio show is there in the crowd and causing antics. They focus on him (and a female fan) quite a bit, and do "cut back" to the studio where they're obviously not watching this live as the extra were just told to wave their hand randomly to some imaginary action. That means we miss a bit here and there but never much. The match itself felt like the middle ground between Moolah-ism and the French style. They hit hard. There were holds and takeovers. There were also hairpulls/tosses. It couldn't hold a candle even to the 70s Lola Garcia match we saw. That said, I think it would have held up pretty well to any comparable women's match in the States in the 80s and they filled the time well. Blaire was the heel and I liked her antics and in-between moments. She'd clap for herself after a front chancery takeover or scream a bit "Yeah!" as she was doing a slam. Big clubbering shots too, that sort of thing. And blatant low blows that you just kind of had to go with (she got a public warning for one). McDonald had some huge fiery comebacks the sort that drew public warnings. Her best was when she slammed McDonald onto the apron repeatedly after pulling her out. Objectively solid, but harder to watch in context.

Le Primitiv vs Patrick Lopez 8/1/84

MD: Look, if Mombo was coming to my town in 1984, I'd go and see him. Granted, I was a toddler in 1984, but still. The automatic translation on youtube called him a "real frenzied Mongolian plush toy" and that seems as accurate as anything else. Honestly, he was developing the act from the last time we saw him! There was more dancing to the tribal band's constant drumming now. He still hit the crazy tope and the top rope legdrop. This was just a wild scene. Lopez looked right out of the late 50s. He did all the up and overs and handstand ranas and cartwheels and rolls. He bumped big out of the ring and bumped Mombo big out of the ring. If we had him against Pellacani or Peruano or even Bernaert, it'd be another thing. Against Mombo, it ended up looking like some of the loosest work we've seen in the footage. They were playing at it instead of doing it. It was entertaining and didn't wear out its welcome but it felt more like parody than anything else.

SR: Bless Patrick Lopez, because god damn he tried. This would‘ve been a fun match on New Catch. Although the logic of the primitive monkey man knowing knuckle locks and tope suicidas eludes me.

Gerald Malpard vs. Marquis Edouard Fumolo de la Rossignolette 8/1/84

SR: More old man catch. I could see people digging the Marquis and his act, especially with him having a valet and all that, but the workrate isn‘t winning me over.

MD: Again, it's all relative. Richard in this role has completely changed his act and he's still developing it week to week and adding little flourishes. Some of the bits of the valet coming in and dusting the opponent while he's in a hold or just the way the match started with him jamming Malpard three or four times before getting his comeuppance was wonderful BS. He still hit hard. He wasn't afraid to bump. He was a full step slow and a little ginger in his movement, half for the gimmick, half not. Would I have rather seen him instead of the Rene Goulets of the world on a 1984 WWF undercard? Absolutely. Could he have had a great few week run against Jerry Lawler or Austin Idol in 1984 Memphis? Absolutely. He worked the gimmick into every moment and got full mileage out of the valet. Would we have gotten a better match if we had 20 minutes of stylist-vs-stylist worked to a draw Lopez vs Malpard (who was game here, bumping big, getting sympathy and having a way of just tossing himself recklessly at the Marquis)? Yeah, we would had. This was fun bullshit, entertaining. I'd say, given the length, it's absolutely worth watching! It just lacked the actual wrestling underpinning we even got from classic Duranton. And for those who have been following along, you know exactly what that means.

Angelito/Flesh Gordon vs Black Shadow/Eliot Frederico 8/1/84

SR: 2/3 Falls match going roughly 25 minutes. You know, these late period French tags may not be as good as the classic stuff, but I‘m really enjoying them. A big part of that is Angelito, who has really great body control and just moves so gracefully around. In this match, Frederico was also part of that. I don‘t know what got into him, but he decided to beat the shit out of Flesh Gordon with great looking punch combos. This match also had some blatantly Lucha spots. There was even a sunset flip powerbomb to the floor (!!) and Frederico launching Angelito with a military press onto Gordon who was busy outside. This was not just a spots match, though. Angelito ended up taking a big bump in the 2nd fall and spent much of the fall laid out All Japan style while Flesh was in peril. It didn‘t build to a kind of amazing conclusion but it was a neat choice of structure. It‘s cool that they were trying new things while sticking to the old rhythm even in the dying days of the territory.

MD: Sebastian hit this one pretty well. Angelito was very impressive, though there were times where he'd do one extra flip to turn something already impressive into something just a little over the top or not quite as smooth as it had been up until then. Gordon looked better here than the last time we saw him. He really understood how to work from underneath and had just enough flashy stuff to get by, including that up and over flip mare driver thing that he hits multiple times in this one (but each one was a killshot basically). Shadow was solid as ever, just a real pro at taking stuff and bumping big. Frederico is a guy I badly wish we had five years earlier, because while he doesn't keep up quite as well, his puncher's gimmick is just great. We've had so few boxing gimmicks in the footage, and I think this might be the first heel with it and it's perfect for the way these tags work. You mainly want the heels to be able to clobber and smash and grind the stylists down and he can just unload on someone in the corner. Angelito's big catapult bump over the top gave it all real drama even if they couldn't give the heels even one pinfall and the finish seemed just a bit wonky with the double sunset flips seeming to finish it but not quite, but overall, this was another good tag even deep into 1984.

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