|1994 IFBB English Grand Prix DVD Review
BodybuildingPro.com Bodybuilding Video & DVD Reviews 1994 IFBB English Grand Prix DVD Review
|1994 English Grand Prix (DVD) - A capacity crowd of 2,500 screaming and cheering fans made the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall a seething mass of muscular expectation. The lighting was superb and the stage was set for the mother of all battles. A week before, England's bodybuilding hero, DORIAN YATES, had just won his 3rd Olympia title. BUY IT NOW
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REVIEW OF THE DVD
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The DVD started out with some pump room action and Dorian was there looking sharp. Some other popular pros of the era like Flex Wheeler, Kevin Levrone, and Porter Cottrell were also there. Big Paul Dillett was pumping with front raises for his delts with pretty poor form (his grip was way too wide). He was another pro who had amazing genetics and would have grown no matter what.
Next up, Wayne Demilia announced the lineup and they looked great. Samir Bannout was competing! He was a shadow of his former self (circa his 1983 Mr. Olympia victory), but he still looked pretty good. Charles Clairmonte and Paul Dillett looked fantastic, and Dorian looked ok too, considering he was going down hill from 1994 onward with his biceps tear. From the side Dorian was huge and dense and from the back it was lights out from head to toe, much like it is when Ronnie Coleman these days. The 5'10 Dorian Yates held his own well with the 6'1 Paul Dillett and the 5'9 Kevin Levrone - all three gentlement looked sharp. In fact, the whole lineup looked great. The quarter turns were still going on, with some pros trading places with other pros.
Dorian's calves were sick, and this was pretty well all genetic. His calves were long and full and you could tell he probably spent his time in the gym developing them, but in reality, the shape of his muscle (which is completely uncontrollable) really worked to his advantage. If only Ronnie Coleman had calves like Dorian's, and abs like Shawn Ray's, the criticism he would get on message boards would greatly diminish. Sonny Schmidt (RIP, 2004) was also competing at the show - he would have been 41 at the time. He looked very good and was definitely world class. Milos Sarcev and Patrick Nicholls looked excellent as well. Not a lot of bad can be said of this lineup! In fact, second tier shows today have pros coming in with less quality than this lineup. The mid 1990s were the time of extreme chemical warfare in bodybuilding in my opinion - mainly when the long term effects of such drug use were unknown and the pros competing at the time were willing to be guinea pigs. Nowadays, I would think that pros see some of the health problems among their fellow pros that they exercise more caution - or maybe not. Who knows.
Next up, bodybuilders went up individually to perform the mandatory poses:
- Front Double Biceps.
- Front Lat Spread.
- Side Chest.
- Rear Double Biceps.
- Rear Lat Spread.
- Side Triceps.
- Abdominals and Thigh.
When Samir came up, he was obviously a shadow of his former self - mainly in terms of overall conditioning, but also in terms of size. He was only 38 at the time, so there was no reason he should have gone downhill yet. He did look good, but just not the Samir you would hope for after seeing him at the 1983 Mr. Olympia Contest.
Paul Dillett was an absolutely freak in stage. He even hit the Sergio Oliva myth pose and did it fairly well considering that hardly anyone can do that pose well. His arms were frighteningly big and his glutes were striated. His back was a weak point, although his delts were large - mainly he lacked back width. F or a guy so big, his back was narrow. His calves were huge! His triceps were striated and despite what anyone says, his posing wasn't really all that bad. It wasn't great, but not nearly as bad as I had heard it was. His quads were separated and striated and his abs were deep. He held his poses fairly well and didn't shake as much as people said he did.
Dorian was up after Paul. Honestly, seeing them individually, I would have guessed that Paul was far bigger. Dorian's conditioning and hardness was better and of course, Dorian owned everyone on stage from the rear, and looked good from the side, but is that all bodybuilding is about? What about Dorian from the front? People were so wooed by Dorian in his back shots, that he would win no matter how he looked from the front (as his the victories toward the end of his competitive career proved). His calves were sick, although I wouldn't say they were any more impressive than Paul's, and his quads were separated (somewhat), but not striated at all. He did appear to be carved from stone though.
Kevin Levrone posed after Dorian. He was classic Kevin for sure, with a perfect midsection, deeply separated thighs, and great overall balance. His arms were excellent, and his most muscular poses looked great. From the rear, he wasn't as good as Dorian, but then again, not many bodybuilders ever were and ever will be. His calves weren't too bad considering they used to be noted as a weakpoint by many (including Shawn Ray). His lat spread was wide and his delts were knockouts. He had great proportions, although in some poses his delts and traps seemed jutting and overwhelming. Huge for sure, and definitely worthy of a top finish.
Next were the callouts. Seeing Dorian get compared to Paul Dillett showed that Paul was great large compared to Dorian. Dorian's calves were bigger when they were side by side though, and Dorian's back made Paul's back more suitable on an amateur. Paul did have a 6'1 frame to fill out though.
When Charles Clairmonte posed with Kevin Levrone and Paul Dillett, Charles definitely looked perfectly suitable to be side by side with the world's best. This is one guy who I hadn't heard of much before this year (2006), but he definitely had a lot of quality muscle.
As the comparisons went on, it really was amazing to see Paul Dillett from the back compared to pretty well any other pro competing on stage with him. He had a good back - just not so much when compared to any of the competition. This may have just been a time where his height worked against him. Dorian Yates, of course, owned all from the back. He was also incredibly thick from the side. He is soon to be 44 (in April, 2006), and is still fairly big, especially considering his age and considering he has not been competing for eight years. The low insertion points for his calves still blow my mind. He probably has the best calves in the history of bodybuilding - Mike Matarazzo may be the only other pro, past or present, who comes close. Mike may even edge Dorian out in this area, as I would have to see direct comparisons of Mike and Dorian to know for sure.
Paul's overall size continue to impress. One thing that should be noted is that size - true size - is a combination of height and muscularity. Paul being 6'1 really puts all of this into perspective - even if he does have his flaws like a narrow back - he is REALLY huge. To have someone tower over you like that and be so muscular would be a sight to see. Bear in mind he competed at around 280 pounds or more.
The pros went on with the comparisons and as I said, the quality was quite high. In fact, I don't see the quality at this show being any worse than the quality at a lot of shows from today. I can see how Milos would have regarded his arms as a weak point, but in truth they were not all that bad, and he had a lot of strengths to make up for it. Overall, he looked very good.
Milos posed to the song "Who Wants to Live Forever" by Queen. His posing was quite classical and this suited his physique and personality very well. Milos was was your classically handsome, well spoken man. He also had height (5'11), so I could see him getting his share of magazine covers and babes in his competitive heyday. Even now at 42, he still looks very good and is looking young and big. He seems to have found the fountain of youth. Not a lot of pros from the modern (chemical) era of bodybuilding (post 1990s) have had a physique which I would want myself, but Milos certainly has one of them. Milos was 30 going on 31 years old at the time of the contest. Milos then posed to a song that Frank Richard would use in the eighties (1985 and 1986 Olympias). I really like that song.
Good tan, shredded, and muscled without being massively freakish. Diego posed to "Hold the Line" by Toto. He didn't stand out in the lineup, but definitely came into the show in good shape.
Porter had fantastic abs which reminded me quite a lot of Jay Cutler's abs in their shape. His tan was good and he had good lines and size. He jumped off the stage to
pose closer to the crowd. He posed to "Light My Fire" by Doors.
Patrick had good size and was pretty shredded. He had hard and shredded. He posed to a song with no lyrics and followed it up with "Love is an Elevator" by Aerosmith. His most muscular poses were quite thick and impressive. The separation in his thighs was excellent and his calves were like Ronnie's in that they had good size, but not much separation.
Peter looked good but was no standout in this lineup.
Eddy seemed to be quite a tall guy. He had a thick back and huge frame. He had an eight pack and deep separations in his thighs as well as big calves. His lats were not too impressive from the front, but his back poses were good. Overall he looked very good.
Sonny posed to "Purple Rain" by Prince. Sonny recently made it into FLEX magazine's top 20 most aesthetic physiques of all time list. I have to say that Sonny did have some incredible balance and symmetry, as well as size and conditioning. That having been said, I'm still not sure sure if Sonny should have made the list among so many greats. I have to say he was quite amazing for his age. At the time of the show he was just a week over the age of 41 years old, and continued to compete until just a month before his 46th birthday at the 1999 Masters Olympia Contest. Sonny's posing music changed to "Bad to the Bone" by George Thorogood & the Destroyers.
It's amazing how little details make such a difference in terms of bodybuilding. Samir appeared to be the same weight and size as he was when he won the 1983 Mr. Olympia, and the only difference would have been his conditioning. He was looking as smooth as ever at this show, while in 1983 he had paperthin skin and was hard from head to toe. That lack of conditioning and fullness made the Samir of 1994 a night and day difference between the Samir of 1983.
Mauro posed to the theme music from "Back to the Future". He was very dark tanned which highlighted his conditioning and may not have had the size necessary to compete with the larger pros who entered this show, but definitely had a respectable showing.
David was in fantastic shape and looked very hard and grainy - similar to the look that Dorian had. The definition in his glutes and lower back was in, and his hamstrings, thighs, quads, shoulders, and everything else were very shredded. The tan may have been what did it - I think he found the perfect tan to highlight the cuts he had, which were pretty well everywhere.
Charles was another bodybuilder who made Flex's list of top 20 most aesthetic physiques of all time. He was a lot like Bob Paris in that he was 6'0 and heavily muscled, but not to the point of looking disgusting. He had a trim waist at his size, and nice round musculature. He was a little known bodybuilder as Shawn Perrine said in the article, and the reason for this was because he was not someone to compete as often as he could have. Competing in bodybuilding competitions is expensive and not something that every pro can afford to do. He posed to "Anytime You Need a Friend" by Mariah Carey.
This man was just a freak. He was one of the taller freaks out there - along with Gunter Schlierkamp, Mike Christian, Berry Demay, and Gary Strydom, Paul was 6'1. Like Gary Strydom, he was pretty lacking in the back department. Some said that Paul was a bad poser - based on the footage in this DVD, that is untrue - he wasn't so much a bad poser as a nonexistent poser. His posing routine was easily the shortest in the whole show! I couldn't believe how quickly he was off the stage. He even shook his head after attempting to hit a back pose (and not doing so) before leaving the stage! The guy must have been too embarassed to pose.
Dorian's calves and backs were so freaky they were absurd. He clearly dominated from the rear. But from the front he was really nothing special. I would go so far as to say he was quite below average for the top six. Other than those classic black and white grainy pictures from post-Olympia 1993 taken by Chris Lund, I have never understood what the hype was about this guy. Even at 5'10, he was blocky, had a wide waist and stomach distention, weak arms, and towards the end of his career was just a wreck of injuries. He is proof that the reigning Mr. Olympia will always be Mr. Olympia. He was a good poser and had a fantastic back and was very hard for his size. He was full of strengths, and definitely a top five or even top three competitor from 1991-1997 when he was competing at the Olympias, but he was definitely not the dominant Mr. Olympia some people make him out to be in my opinion. I'll say it like this: Being Mr. Olympia multiple times, I would expect more from Dorian. Not to say he wasn't excellent, just that he didn't live up to his reputation. At the end of Dorian's routine, he posed to "What U Got" by TQ.
Kevin posed to "Angel" by Jon Secada and Miguel A. Morejon and "Come Baby Come" by K7. Kevin had then recorded his own voice in his posing routine asking why everyone counted him out just because he tore his pec. I have to say, his pec tear was barely visible if at all and I wouldn't have even noticed it if he didn't point it out. Kevin looked far better than Dorian from the front.
Top Six Comparisons and Posedown.
The top six did their mandatory quarter turns and mandatory poses and were looking fantastic. This was a very high quality lineup, especially for a second tier pro show from 1994 with little prize money. Hell, even the first place earnings would barely be enough for to cover the associated costs of juicing and eating. I personally would never compete for peanuts like that. The posedown music came on next and the pros were looking good. Paul Dillett's arms were huge and everyone in the lineup highlighted their strengths.
Top Six Awards
The top six were announced as follows:
6th - David Dearth
5th - Patrick Nicholls
4th - Paul Dillett
3rd - Charles Clairmonte
2nd - Kevin Levrone
1st - Dorian Yates
Paul seemed that he was placed fourth, but what the hell did he expect? He barely even had a posing presentation. Maybe if he did he would have placed higher, or even taken the whole thing. Dorian held up his first place award for the crowd to see. Dorian was just a blocky mass of hard, shredded muscle with an awesome back. At least Ronnie Coleman has some degree of aesthetics to go along with his freaky mass. Dorian is the look which changed bodybuilding judging from what it was to what it is today.
This was a very high quality competition given that it was a lesser known pro show from the 1990s. The quality was high and the pros still showed up in excellent conditioning, despite competing for peanuts. The low prize money at these shows is the topic of a completely separate article and debate, so I will leave it at that. The production values of this DVD were high, so if you want an excellent piece of bodybuilding history, this is an item to get.
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