Segunda Caida

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Tuesday is French Catch Day: Von Kramer! Jones! The Alpha and Omega of Cesca vs Catanzaro!

Karl Von Kramer vs Ted Jones 8/1/87 

MD: As there's no sign of a suspected Prince Zevy/Flesh Gordon tag, this is our last match. It's a bit of an odd one, presented in the middle of what seems to be a Wide World of Sports type show called Sports Loisors. I have no context. Jones is billed as a Belgian champion, Von Kramer the German one. Both come out with young women presumably from their nationality. Von Kramer has an old manager dressed in a suit too and at one point the Belgian women assault him. Jones gets him once too. I have more reason to believe this is the Von Kramer from 25 years prior than I have reason not to believe it. You can extrapolate the age onto the wrestler we saw in black and white and he has the same sort of robe and overall look. I can't say for certain though. He's definitely not the Karl Kramer working in the UK at the time, that's for sure.

And you know what? It's a nice little throwback to end things on. They do work the holds. They try. Von Kramer goes over quite a few times on labored bumps. Jones works from underneath. They have a couple of holds where they hang on through the armdrags and what not. There are bursts of rope running. It's certainly senior tour stuff and we're not talking Mercier vs Montreal here or anything, but the good stuff is good and the bad stuff is forgivable here at the very end of our journey. Von Kramer might have been able to manage something in a tag with Richard and up against Hassouni and Bordes a few years earlier. The finish has Jones getting some revenge on Von Kramer in the corner and the ref pulling him back, which lets Von Kramer sneak in a low blow and score the win. Comeuppance comes while the credits are rolling. Not a terrible way to spend twenty minutes between watching cycling and equestrian on a weekend afternoon. A pleasant and forgettable farewell from France.

Gilbert Cesca vs Billy Catanzaro 5/1/57

MD: Which brings us back to the very beginning, the match that opened our eyes and our first and now last gift to you. We had bypassed it when we were going through 1957 as we knew it well, but now, here at the very end, I thought to take another look. It's good that I did too, because this is an upgrade on video quality to the version that's been out there. In the story of the footage, Catanzaro, spectacular as he was, only appeared a handful of times. In the later appearances, he represented the stooging heel that we saw so much of. Here, you just get glimpses of it, when, unable to escape a hold, he resorts to desperate shots; a seed of irritability that would grow in the years to come. He calms soon after and the process repeats, all the way to the handshake post-match. Cesca, on the other hand, feels like a stylist's stylist, part of that direct line from 1957 to 1987, through the team with Ben Chemoul, which gave way to Ben Chemoul and Bordes, which led to Bordes and Gordon. It's striking how much this represents some of the best stylist vs stylist work, the incessant holds and counter holds and forward pressing and struggle. It's also striking how much it leaves out, as it was just one aspect of one aspect of French Catch, even if it contained many overlapping specifics. Having watched this years ago, we couldn't have any sense of the breadth and depth and variety of it all. It's still an amazing spectacle though and so much more of their personalities and idiosyncrasies bleeds through with the higher video quality.

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Blogger Catcheur said...

Thank you for sharing all those matches with us. Cesca vs Catanzaro is a beautiful ending.

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing!!! I always looked forward to waking up Wednesday mornings to see the new Catch!! I will definitely miss it!

7:28 AM  
Blogger Bremenmurray said...

Thanks for the excellent top class matches over this thirty year span.Wednesday mornings will never be the same again

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Neil said...

Thanks so much for the French catch commentary over the years. It has been so fun and a special project that makes Segunda caida so cool. I have followed along and enjoyed the writeups every week, it definitely gave something to look forward to each week. What a cool find the world of french wrestling has been.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Matt D said...

Thanks for the kind words. I'll close things out on Tuesday and then we're on to the next thing.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Henry/HeadCheese said...

Thank you for doing these and sharing. These have been so interesting to check out and made my pro wrestling world brighter knowing about this

3:25 AM  

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