Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tuesday is French Catch Day: Primitiv! Gordon! Angelito! Mercier Brothers! Sanniez! Petrolini!

Le Primitiv vs Flesh Gordon & Angelito 8/22/84

SR: The image of Le Primitiv entering the ring with the crown has to be prime surreal wrestling material. They tried, but it was clear they had no idea where to go with this character. And of all people, it‘s the Primitive who gets the monster push?! It all feels like a strange fever dream.

MD: I repeat that I would have been pretty glad to see this mania in person as a ticket-paying customer. The band playing. The two top stylists. A bunch of top rope moves, missed and hit, and some big dives even. Just a wild scene. This was not LeDuc/Corn vs Henker, but it was full of showcase moments for Gordon and Angelito, and as much as I hate to say it, if you can even begin to believe that this kind of wiry and agile monkey man also has incredible strength, Angelito and Gordon were doing everything in their power to get that notion over. There were some clever/imaginative bits of them getting knocked out of the ring or knocking Mombo out and some unique double teams, and the way the finish worked was way over the top: Angelito had an arm. Gordon rushed in to get the other. Mombo choked them both, rose to his feet, shoved them over the top. They pulled him out. Angelito tried for a huge apron leap and got pressed over Mombo's head; the cameras totally missed it. Gordon went out to check on him. Mombo hit a massive tope. He rolled Angelito back in and hit his finisher (Congo Jam, which has gotten better). That left Gordon vs him and Gordon tried valiantly for a minute but ate a headbutt and the legdrop for the 10 count finish. Everyone came in to celebrate and put the crown back on him. I don't know. I had fun and they really did try. The best proto-CHIKARA that 1984 France has to offer.

Marc Mercier/Pierre Mercier vs Albert Sanniez/Mario Petrolini 8/25/84 

MD: Guy's kids were definitely promising. Marc was established by this point, but Pierre came off like a young lion. He reminded me a bit of early 80s Curt Hennig, yet somehow lankier and more flexible. The way he was able to bound to his feet on throws was as impressive as anyone as I've seen in the footage. He had a lot of sweeping kicks and seemed just very loose in there. Plus he was able to draw a ton of sympathy from underneath. You got the impression Sanniez, old pro that he was, was leading him through things, maybe (as tight as Pierre was loose). Petrolini was an Italian and kept up, with a lot of leg dives using the ref as a distraction and a splash onto the leg. The heat here was very good, with a missed tag. It was a swimming pool match and maybe the biggest bit of heat was when Marc was trying to get in there by climbing to the top and the ref pushed him off. He got his after the match was over. In the meantime, the heels worked well together, Sanniez leaping up to kick or just moving the corner guard out of the way, as Petrolini tossed Pierre in, that sort of thing. The comeback was Pierre reversing one of those whips leading to heel miscommunication and Marc destroying everyone and a bunch of stooging into the water that lasted through the quick third fall. We're nearing the end of the footage but if you told me now there was five more solid years of the Mercier brothers, Gordon, Angelito, Malpard, and at least a few game bad guys like Frederico, Black Shadow, Tejero, I'd be on board for that.

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