France is home to some of the most talented wrestlers in the world, many of whom have achieved international success. While most countries have their own wrestling style, the French have developed their own, combining elements of Greco-Roman, freestyle, and even Judo.
Today, some of the greatest wrestlers in the world hail from France, with a number of them having won medals at the Olympic Games. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best wrestlers in France, their accomplishments, and their impact on the sport.
1. André the Giant
André René Roussimoff, more commonly known by his wrestling ring name André the Giant, was a French professional wrestler and actor. He was widely regarded as the Eighth Wonder of the World due to his immense size, caused by a condition known as gigantism.
This was a result of excess growth hormones. His size made him an incredibly imposing figure in the wrestling ring, and he was one of the most renowned athletes in the world during his career.
His stature also made him a successful actor, appearing in several films and television shows throughout his life. André the Giant was beloved by fans and respected by his peers for his immense size and skill in the wrestling ring.
He left a legacy that few others can match, and his memory still lives on in the hearts of wrestling fans around the world.
2. Henri Deglane
Henri Deglane was a French wrestler who made a name for himself on the global wrestling circuit. He was an Olympic Champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, which is a style of wrestling that emphasizes throws, holds, and locks rather than punching and kicking.
He also earned the title of AWA World Champion, making him one of the most successful wrestlers of his time. In May 1931, Deglane faced off against the legendary Ed “Strangler” Lewis for the AWA World Heavyweight Championship in Montreal.
This match was a two-out-of-three falls match, meaning that the winner would have to win two of the three rounds in order to take the title. This was a high stakes match and Deglane was determined to take the championship.
Unfortunately, he was not successful and the title remained with Lewis. Despite this loss, Deglane was still a revered wrestler and his legacy lives on. He was an inspiring figure and a great example of what can be achieved with dedication and hard work.
He was a champion in the ring and a champion in life, and his accomplishments will be remembered for many years to come.
3. Corsica Joe
Francois Miquet, also known by his ring name Corsica Joe, was a French-American professional wrestler who was active mainly in the United States of America.
He was part of the very successful tag team known as “The Corsicans”, which he formed with Jean Louis Roy, who was billed as “Corsica Jean”. Together, they achieved a lot of success in the wrestling world, winning several titles and accolades.
The Corsicans were known for their high-flying moves, hard-hitting strikes, and impressive showmanship. Their signature finisher move was known as the “Corsican Backbreaker”, which involved an opponent being thrown over the shoulder of one of the two wrestlers.
The team was very popular among wrestling fans and their matches often drew large crowds. After Francois Miquet’s retirement, the team dissolved, but their legacy still remains to this day.
4. Thierry Henry
Thierry Daniel Henry is a renowned and respected figure in football. He is a French professional football coach, pundit, sports broadcaster and former player.
He is best known for his time playing for some of the biggest teams in the world such as Arsenal, Juventus and Barcelona. The former striker is undoubtedly one of the best players in football history and is considered one of the greatest strikers of all time.
He has achieved numerous accolades during his playing career, including being the all-time leading goalscorer for both Arsenal and the France national team.
His performances in the Premier League have seen him recognized as one of the best players to have ever graced the English top flight. Henry also has a successful managerial career and is currently the manager of the France national under-21 team.
During his managerial career, he has gained a great deal of success and was even voted the Ligue 1 Manager of the Year in 2020. He is highly respected by his peers in the football world and is seen as an inspirational figure for many, both on and off the pitch.
With his vast experience and knowledge, Henry is looking to continue his success in the years to come.
5. Marcus Louis
Mikael Vierge is a French professional wrestler, currently making his mark in the international world of professional wrestling. He has had success in two main promotion companies, in the United States, WWE developmental brand NXT and in Impact Wrestling.
Under the ring name Marcus Louis, he competed in the NXT, the developmental brand of the WWE and under the ring name Baron Dax, he competed for Impact Wrestling. Throughout his career, he has achieved impressive results and earned the respect of wrestling fans around the world.
He is highly regarded for his athleticism and agility in the ring, as well as his technical ability. His unique wrestling style is a combination of high-flying and power moves, which has made him a fan favorite.
6. Sylvester Lefort
Thomas Sylvester La Ruffa is a French professional wrestler who is currently performing under the stage name Tom LaRuffa. He has gained considerable notoriety and fame for his time spent in multiple wrestling organizations.
La Ruffa has been part of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) developmental territory NXT, where he performed under the name Sylvester Lefort.
Additionally, he is quite well-known for his stint with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) in which he worked under the ring name Basile Baraka. La Ruffa’s career has been quite successful.
During his time in NXT, he was a member of the faction known as the Legionnaires, alongside Marcus Louis, and he went on to become the NXT Tag Team Champion alongside the same partner.
He competed in various matches and feuds in NXT, establishing himself as a formidable wrestler in the process. In addition to his time in NXT, La Ruffa also spent time in TNA. He made his debut in TNA in 2015 and became a member of the faction known as The Beat Down Clan.
Throughout his career in TNA, La Ruffa faced off against notable opponents such as Lashley, Bobby Roode, and Ethan Carter III.
He also had successful feuds with the likes of Samoa Joe and Bobby Lashley. Thomas Sylvester La Ruffa is a French professional wrestler who is currently performing under the stage name Tom LaRuffa.
During his impressive career, he has competed in both the WWE and TNA, and has had success in both organizations. His time in NXT has seen him become a Tag Team Champion, while his stint in TNA has seen him go up against some of the company’s top stars.
7. The French Angel
Maurice Tillet was a professional wrestler who was born in Russia but made his name in France. He was known by his ring name, The French Angel or The Angel, and he was a popular draw in wrestling throughout the early 1940s.
During this time, he achieved the great honor of becoming World Heavyweight Champion not once but twice. This accomplishment was made possible by the American Wrestling Association, a professional wrestling promotion owned and operated by Paul Bowser in Boston.
Tillet’s success in the ring not only earned him recognition as a great wrestler but also made him a major box office draw. His legacy in professional wrestling is still remembered today, and he is remembered fondly by fans all over the world.
8. Daniel Robin
Daniel Robin was a renowned French wrestler who was highly respected for his achievements in the sport. He was born in Bron, Rhône and was a well-known figure in the wrestling community.
In 2012, Robin was inducted into the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame, an honour that is bestowed upon only the most accomplished and respected wrestlers. Throughout his career, Robin competed in numerous competitions, including the French National Championships, the European Championships, and the World Championships.
He was also an active member of the French Wrestling Federation and was a coach and mentor to many young wrestlers. In addition to his accomplishments as a wrestler, Robin was also known for his dedication to the sport.
He was a passionate advocate for the development of the sport in France and abroad, and was instrumental in helping to create the French National Freestyle Wrestling Team. Robin was highly respected by his peers and was considered to be one of the top wrestlers of his era.
His induction into the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame is a testament to his hard work, dedication, and commitment to the sport. His legacy will continue to inspire future wrestlers for generations to come.
9. Raoul Paoli
Jacques Marie Lucien Raoul Simonpaoli was a remarkable athlete with a wide range of talents. At the young age of 12, he was already competing at the Olympic level. He took part in the French coxed pair as a coxswain, which is a difficult position requiring a great deal of skill.
His hard work paid off when he and his team earned a bronze medal at the 1900 Summer Olympics. Aside from his Olympic success, Jacques was also a boxer, wrestler, and rower.
He was a masterful athlete with a variety of skills that allowed him to compete and excel in multiple sports.
His dedication and drive led him to excel in his chosen pursuits, and he was even able to branch out into acting. Jacques’ accomplishments at such a young age are truly impressive.
He was able to use his natural talents to become a successful athlete, and he was rewarded for his hard work with an Olympic medal. His story is an inspiration to athletes of all ages and a reminder of what can be achieved with dedication and hard work.
10. Senza Volto
Senza Volto is a French masked luchador, a type of wrestler originating from Mexico.
He is best known for his work in two different wrestling promotions – Westside Xtreme Wrestling (WXW), a German-based professional wrestling promotion, and the European independent scene, which refers to wrestling promotions based in Europe that are not affiliated with larger wrestling organizations.
Senza Volto has become a well-respected wrestler in both of these settings, as he has become known for his impressive in-ring performance and ability to put on entertaining matches. He has also become a fan favorite due to his unique mask and colorful ring attire.
Additionally, Senza Volto has made appearances in other wrestling promotions worldwide, including in the United States, showcasing his talent and making a name for himself in the international wrestling scene.
11. L’Ange Blanc
Francisco Pino Farina is a retired Spanish-born professional wrestler who is best known by his ring name, L’Ange Blanc. He started his career in France performing under the masked identity of L’Ange Blanc.
Later, he was unmasked and changed his stage name to “El Angel Blanco” and “the White Angel”. Throughout his career, Farina was known for his athleticism and agility, allowing him to perform incredible feats in the ring.
His matches were always filled with excitement and he was beloved by audiences worldwide. He retired from wrestling in 2018, leaving an unforgettable legacy behind him.
To this day, Farina is still remembered fondly by fans of the sport and his ring name, L’Ange Blanc, lives on in the memories of those who watched him perform.
France is one of the top wrestling countries in the world, with some of the best wrestlers in the world coming from this country.
With the likes of Greco-Roman World Champion Steeve Guenot, Greco-Roman European Champion Christophe Guenot, and Freestyle World Champion Yannick Szczepaniak, France has some of the best wrestlers in the world.
These athletes have proven that France is one of the top wrestling nations in the world, and will continue to be so for many years to come.