2005 GNC Australian Grand Prix - The Battle Down Under - DVD Review by Matt Canning.
LEE PRIEST “The Blonde Myth” was finally back home and in his best ever shape- ripped and ready to go to war with a massive CHRIS CORMIER. Priest was crowd favourite and brought the house down as he posed and flexed his heart out to clearly edge out Cormier for his second ever Pro victory. His contoversial victory speech is an added bonus!
Prejudging and Show
The DVD started off with some expo footage where bodybuilders such as Lee Priest, Chris Cormier, Flex Wheeler, and Luke Wood were seen. Next up, show promoter Tony Doherty explained that the prize money at the show was $20,000 US cash and a beautiful cup.
Front Double Biceps.
Front Lat Spread.
Rear Double Biceps.
Rear Lat Spread.
Abs & Thigh.
Chris looked fantastic the moment he was seen on the DVD. People say he hasn't lived up to his potential and may never be able to, but I disagree. I think Chris Cormier's "potential" is overrated and that people assume that he can just grow and grow. Frankly, he looked great at the show and did not have the appearance of a bodybuilder who slacked off to get where he is.
Ronny looked fantastic and this was an obvious lifetime best showing. He eventually ended up finishing third and qualifying for the 2005 Mr. Olympia Contest and by the looks of things that was quite well deserved.
Thomas looked big and full and in decent condition. He is the kind of pro who would need more of the same to move up the pro ranks - if he just keeps doing what he's doing he should do well. That having been said, I had never heard of this guy before, so maybe he isn't one to travel a lot for contests. His most muscular pose was very impressive.
Mike looked big and full and his chest striations really caught the eye. His chest was especially thick in the side chest pose. Seven months later Mike ended up cleaning out (going off steroids) and competing at the Wild Card Showdown as part of the 2005 Mr. Olympia Contest and looked far worse.
Mike has a lot of size overall but has a large midsection and smallish arms. Otherwise a very good showing.
Pietro looked ok but had too many flaws to do any damage at this show. Definitely a big guy, but just not so much when compared to other pros. To me, he would be very big, but the same can't be said when compared to others in the pro ranks. It appeared that he had torn his chest, which did not look good.
Neil had somewhat of an unusual looking physique. At least, unusual for the pro ranks. I felt his shoulders were fairly narrow with a taper that seemed to be lacking and his arms seemed short. Otherwise he had good size and was in respectable condition. This was Neil's pro debut.
Jim was big, but definitely thin for the pro ranks. He was in good shape, but could have used a better tan. He had some loose skin on his lower back and it was obvious he wouldn't make a dent in this lineup.
Lee definitely possessed the freakiest arms in the show. They were almost too big for his frame (if that's possible). His side chest pose was huge and shredded from head to toe. He even brought up his conditioning in his glutes - an area which up until this point was ALWAYS a weak point for Lee. Did Lee deserve to win? Chris said no, and I would tend to agree (that Chris deserved to win), but it was close enough that it it didn't bother me that Lee won. Adjusting for height, I think Lee should have won. If Lee had the exact same proportions at 5'11 (Chris' height), I would have given the show to Lee. And should height be judged in bodybuilding? Well, I would say no, but it is. And that having been said, based on the norm for judging standards, Chris should have won. Lee did the "Myth pose" and is probably the only bodybuilder who may be able to come close to matching Sergio Oliva on this pose.
World class all the way. Jaroslav is a shorter bodybuilder, but has excellent proportions and symmetry. His conditioning was on target and his serratus was looking sharp. He has a trim waist to top off the package. Overall, this was a very good showing for Jaroslav.
Next up, the whole lineup was shown and it was very interesting to see the caliber of different physiques in the show. Jim Pedone was right next to Lee Priest in the lineup, and Lee's arms were bigger than Jim's by a country mile. So much so that the difference seemed ridiculous.
The first callout consisted of Chris Cormier, Lee Priest, and Ronny Rockel. These guys were clearly the top three finishers and they all looked very good. Ronny had Lee beat on chest and back, as well as quads and it was amazing how well Ronny held his own against the eventual winner. This was the first sure sign that Ronny was out to do well at this show.
For the second callout, Ronny stayed in line and Mike Morris and Jaroslav Horvath joined him. These guys looked like they would be rounding out the top five. Overall, this was a fairly strong top five for a second tier pro show (especially one with relatively low prize money). One thing about Tony Doherty's shows is that the bodybuilders are treated with RESPECT. Something that many shows (including the big one - the Mr. Olympia Contest) can't really claim. All the bodybuilders really want is some respect at these shows half the time. They would probably be bodybuilding whether it was a career for them or not, but to compete deserves some reimbursement and respect is a great start.
The next callouts were pretty much spot on and the competitors were pretty easy to place as the callouts took place.
As the comparisons went on, the fight for first place did too. Like I said, I would have given it to Chris, but you have to wonder how freaky Lee would look at 6'0, since he looks so freaky as it is now at 5'4. Chris has a superior chest and back than Lee, but Lee easily holds his own in the other areas. These guys both had some incredible conditioning. Chris and Lee are also both very good posers. Overall, as bitchy as Chris was about the results of this show (screaming racism and what have you), you can't deny that Lee is close. Even those who would give it to Chris would have to admit that. Lee is the best short bodybuilder of all time.
More callouts were done and the placements were as obvious as they were when the bodybuilders first stepped out on stage. Again, this was a decent lineup given that it was a smaller show.
This was a great production to watch. Again and again I find myself asking where the bodybuilding world would be without GMV Productions. If not for them being there to archive the world of bodybuilding, what would we have? Not a whole lot! There would be a lot of footage completely lost in history.
Next up, the bodybuilders were introduced as part of the night show (with individual routines). They did a group posedown and looked great. I have to emphasize again that this was a good lineup given the smaller stature of the show.
Chris posed to a VERY edited version of "Never Scared" by Bonecrushers. Great song, but Chris had to remove all the profanity in the song which was basically every other word, haha. It seemed a little strange, but it was edited fairly well considering.
Ronny posed to the Spiderman theme music. His posing was very gradual and worked well to highlight his strengths. His conditioning really caught the eye. Ronny's theme music sped up a little and his posing routine changed accordingly. Overall this was a very well deserved invitation to the Mr. Olympia for Ronny.
Thomas posed to "Numb / Encore" by JAY-Z and Linkin Park followed by "If I ain't got you" by Alicia Keys. Thomas looked halfway between the top guys at the show and the bottom ones. He didn't have any major flaws and could improve just by doing more of what he's doing. His size and conditioning was good - so if he continues to improve on that, he should do even better.
Mike posed to the song "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)" by AC/DC. He put on a good presentation and earned his spot in the ranks at the show.
Gilberto's torn chest was something that was very hard to look past. He also seemed to be lacking in the legs. Definitely not a threat in the show, but not a horrible physique either - just one which does not hold up well against some of the bigger and better conditioned pros.
Neil went into the posing round with a lot of confidence and put on a strong routine. It could not make up for his physique limitations however, but was still a very respectable showing. Some of his classical posing was first rate. Towards the end of his routine he posed to the song "I Feel Good" by James Brown.
Jimmy had competed in the 2002 Masters Olympia which would make him at least 43 years old at the time of the show. Taking his age into consideration, he looked very good. He looked good normally, but I was especially impressed when I realized he was an over 40 competitor. He posed to the song "All In My Head Lyrics" by Shawn Mullins and his routine then sped up with some disco music.
Definitely a crowd favourite from the beginning. Lee posed to the song "Mama, I’m Coming Home" by Ozzy Osbourne followed by a remixed version of "Land Down Under" by Men at Work. This really got the crowd worked up and Lee obviously knew he could milk the crowd for support with this song. Next the posing music changed again, this time to "One Moment In Time" by Whitney Houston. Lee had one of the best posing routines up to this point in the show. Definitely a winner from every angle.
Jaroslav posed to the song "Licence To Kill" by Gladys Knight. His posing was good and it emphasized his great physique. Jaroslav had previously competed at the 2002 Mr. Olympia and will no doubt qualify again in the future.
The top five posed down next. They were lined up in this order:
The top five went through the mandatory poses and it was a good top five.
The group next posed down to the song "Just Shake that ass" by DJ Funk. The top five all hit their best poses and looked great doing so. The striations on Ronny Rockel's shoulders looked to be hard as nails. Very impressive, as were the rest of the group.
The top five was then announced:
5th - Mike Morris
4th - Jaroslav Horvath
3rd - Ronny Rockel
2nd - Chris Cormier
1st - Lee Priest - 2005 GNC Australian Pro Grand Prix Champion!
Lee gave a short victory speech. He talked about his racing and his arms were looking jacked. Lee made a great point that while people will say he won the show because he is Australian and competing in Australia, the same argument can be made for some of his losses in the USA - after all, they are judged by American judges and often American bodybuilders get placed above him. The point made perfect sense to me. And while I would probably have given the victory to Chris on the merits of his physique alone, I have to say I like Lee a lot more as a person (in that he is a good winner, humble, etc). Chris is ok a lot of the time but sometimes goes over the top with negative comments which doesn't make him a good role model. Of course you could say that no bodybuilder should be a role model because they are all on steroids, the truth is, some like Lee and Gunter Schlierkamp make great role models regardless.
Next, an interview with Flex Wheeler was shown which had been filmed before the show. I believe Flex was on location in Australia thanks to his work with Muscular Development magazine. I've quite enjoyed his articles in that magazine and look forward to his future ones. He gave a nice speech and it was a great addition to the DVD. Flex explained that he has four children and two grandchildren and that he has a genetic kidney disease which he feared passing to his children. The name of the disease is FSGS. I had no idea that Flex was a grandfather since he is only 40 years old.
The DVD ended with some posing footage from the show shown.
There was a bonus photo gallery at the end of the DVD which featured photos of Lee Priest, solo poses of other pros, and comparisons. It was a great addition to an excellent DVD.
Overall this was yet another fantastic DVD from GMV Productions. I look forward to reviewing their entire collection, one DVD at a time.