PDI Night of Champions 2006 review by Gerry Triano.
2 DVD set produced by GMV Productions (Wayne Gallasch) , Adelaide, Australia (www.gmv.com.au)
Code Number GMV-648DVD
Disc 1, 75 minutes and Disc 2, 130 minutes. Total running time: 205 minutes.
The first DVD shows the PDI Pro Qualifier held Friday evening, September 15, 2006 at Town Hall Theater in Manhattan, NY. Fourteen competitors were vying for 8 qualifying spots (2 from each of four weight classes). This was well filmed with a "you are there in the front row" feel. Each competitor executed quarter turns individually and by class. Then came the mandatory round, in which each competitor executed the mandatories individually and by class.
Then there was an individual free posing round. Finally, class by class was a round of mandatories and a posedown. The top two from each class qualified for PDI pro status and an opportunity to compete in the next day's Night of Champions.
Although no overall winner was declared, Jason Palafox (winner of Class D, heavyweight) was a standout conditioning and posing wise. Also notable were class winners George Maiorano (class B middleweight) and Eduard Duque (Venezuela, class C light heavy). David Washington was also sharp (2nd in Class C and the only qualifier who did not compete in NOC the next day). Unfortunately, the others appeared to be state/Jr USA level. However, Jim Vest (class E super heavy winner) definitely has the size and could well be a future threat when he nails the conditioning. Other qualifiers were Anthony Forgione (2nd Class B), Dan Rapposelli (2nd Class D) and Joe Layton (2nd Class E).
Bonus features on the first disc include an interview with Wayne DeMilia about the purpose and future of the PDI, as well as a solid slide show of photos taken by Raymond Cassar.
The second disc features the prejudge and finals of Night of Champions XXVII. Both rounds were held on September 16, 2006. Likewise, the event was very well filmed and with a "you are there" effect. The prejudge consisted of quarter turns done in groups of four (there were 23 competitors altogether, including 7 from the previous evening's qualifier) and then by callouts. Next, in the mandatory round, each competitor executed the mandatories individually and then by callouts.
The evening show featured each competitor executing his posing routine. Each was introduced in inverse order of their prejudge ranking, 23rd to 1st. Entertainment value of the routine was evaluated and props were allowed if competitors chose to use them. Around half the competitors used props of one kind or another. Last but not least to pose was Lee Priest who was definitely a highlight (starting with Wayne DeMilia's son entering a phone booth dressed as Clark Kent, and when the lights come on out comes Lee in cape and boots and blue “S” trunks! There were other highlights, such as Liam Stewart's leprechaun routine, Steph Sinton in kilts and sword and Sami Al-Haddad dressed as the Phantom of the Opera. Ironically, the posing round did not seem to have a major impact on the placements, as the top 10 stayed in the same order from prejudge to finals.
Another highlight of the show came before the announcement of top 6 and results. Bill Pearl was introduced to loud applause, and he introduced 75 year old strongman Sri Chinmoy. One of Chinmoy's feats of strength included shrugs with Pearl and Canadian strongman Hugo Girard on the weight platform (almost 600 lb. combined!). Pearl and Chinmoy received well deserved plaques for lifetime achievement in their field from Wayne DeMilia for the PDI. This added an extra dimension to the DVD as such awards and extras are often left out of major event DVDs.
Wayne has just released a DVD on the life of Bill Pearl called “Pearls of wisdom”. Click here for full details.
Finally, top 6 were introduced for a posedown before the final results were announced. 6th was Valentin Jabes of France winning $2,000, 5th was Steph Sinton (UK) winning $3,000, 4th was Zoltan Voros (Hungary) winning $5,000, 3rd was Sami Al-Haddad (Bahrain, United Arab Emirates) winning $8,000, 2nd was Andreas Frey of Germany winning $12,000. Not surprisingly Australia's and the world's Lee Priest deservedly winning a plaque and $20,000 for 1st place. Frey was huge, Al-Haddad reeked class and condition, and I look forward to seeing these 3 totally different physiques do battle again in the future.
Finishing 9th, Jason Palafox was the only Friday qualifier to finish in the top 10. You could probably say that unofficially he was overall winner of the Pro Qualifier. Look for him to be a top 6 threat next time around.
An extra feature on the 2nd disc was another (different) slide show of photos by Raymond Cassar, which were extremely good. Not surprisingly this was the usual very smooth and well organized production from Wayne DeMilia, his first under his new PDI banner. This DVD set is highly recommended, as it well documents what could be the beginning of a new era in bodybuilding! It was the first ever DVD recording of an NOC event and should be in every serious collector’s library. There is also an accompanying DVD of the NOC Pump Room, see GMV-654DVD where the camera gets up close and personal with all of the guys backstage.
Click here to buy GMV-648DVD 2006 PDI Night of Champions.