It’s Bastille Day, So Let’s Look At France’s Contributions To Pro Wrestling

Bastille Day is the commemoration of July 14, 1790, when the people of Paris stormed the titular armory/political prison and made clear their revolutionary demands of liberty, equality, and fraternity.  It is a dignified day, full of tradition.  It will also probably be featured in the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Unity.  So hey, let’s gawk at some French wrestlers!

Lefort

YouTube

Sylvester Lefort

Quick, guess which one of these guys is French

I figured we’d start with some of the new breed.  Lefort is currently hanging out on NXT as a wrestler/manager.  He started out managing Scott Dawson (the bozo you see on the left), which only made sense in the “Hey, I guess both of these guys are heels” sense.  He’s now paired up with Marcus Louis, another Frenchman, forming the effortlessly-named team of The Legionnaires.  Interestingly enough, I feel like Lefort represents WWE’s progression in national stereotypes.  Gone are the days of beret-wearing and baguette-carrying… Lefort is more of the “guy at the discotheque who searches for unattended drinks” trope.  Either that, or one of the guys from Taken at the creepy auction.

EdouardCarpentier2

YouTube

Edouard Carpentier

My apologies for the 1957-quality screengrab, by the way.  In stark contrast to guys like Lefort, Edouard Carpentier is as old-school as it gets.  A lifelong babyface character, many people forget that Carpentier was one of the earliest high-flying wrestlers.  He wasn’t exactly Dynamite Kid, mind you, but he was certainly an innovator in a time where most people stuck to the mat.  Also forgotten is the fact that he was a French resistance soldier during World War II.  NWA World Heavyweight Champion, freedom fighter, color commentator… The Flying Frenchman did it all.  Sadly, he passed away in 2010.

LaResistance

WWE

La Resistance

Rene Dupree, Sylvain Grenier, and Rob Conway.  In a time when rah-rah Toby Keith patriotism was sort of the status quo, these guys could always be counted on to get booed out of the building.  EVERYONE hated them, myself included.  I was 14 years old when these guys showed up, and they were the worst.  I distinctly remember watching the episode of Raw where the Dudley Boyz plucked Rob Conway out of the crowd, only for it to be revealed that Conway was a French sympathizer.  My tiny little teenage brain fell out of my skull.  Hindsight being 20/20, that’s exactly the kind of reaction they must’ve been hoping for.  Side note: Conway is now enjoying his second reign as NWA World Heavyweight Champion.  As a member of the Satoshi Kojima Champion 4 Life club, it’s a bit of a bummer.

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