Australia - Big Men, Bigger Dreams, by Robin Oliver
- 23rd April 2004
The Sydney Morning Herald)
Three professional wrestlers and
a few others on the side - giants of grunt most
of them - full of all the posturing shenanigans
and of the ring. But before dismissing this splendid
film - a first documentary from director, producer
and writer Dimitri Ellerington - take a few moments
of blather on the chin and get to meet Con Jakovidis,
Adrian Tiatto and Greg Heasly.
brutes, all three of them. Jakovidis is better
known ringside as "Mr Damage". Wrestling
royalty, if you like, for he's the Australian
champ, a determined fighter ever since his dad,
the veteran Alex Jakovidis - "The Great Greek
Bear" - came home in triumph, his face covered
in blood, after his big match with "King
Kong" before 14,000 screaming fans at the
Olympic Pool in Melbourne. "Wrestling today
is more easy," says Alex. "In the olden
days, very hard."
Mr Damage's reckoning, the most promising of the
rising stars looked like being Tiatto - "The
Ox" - most entertaining of the three big
men in Ellerington's film. The Ox's wrestling
potential is undeniable. He was best mates with
Jakovidis until the well-promoted match between
the two, an agreed show-off occasion for Ox. All
went well - rather too well - until Jakovidis
decided it was time to exert Damage control. The
Ox took a lathering, the friendship withered.
Ox still wants to be No. 1. "There's a few
guys in Australia that are holding me back,"
he says. That draws a retort from Mr Damage. "To
even compare Ox with me is like comparing a Mercedes-Benz
to a Morris Minor."
of the three, Greg Heasly fights as "Bully
the Brawler". He's a showman, tough, ferocious
and intimidating. "I don't dilly-dally,"
he says. "Once I'm in there, bang! It's on."
He's sure of his place in the scheme of things.
"Mr Damage thinks he's Mr Wrestling and he
thinks everyone likes him. But they don't."
is a tattooist, and while he adds further embellishments
to a young man with an already heavily illustrated
back, he gives Mr Damage another jab. "What
have the Greeks got? Have you ever seen a Greek
world champion? In anything?"
there's Janine Bubb, Ox's partner. "It's
soap opera," she says. "I laugh when
the wrestlers get a bit precious and start comparing
their gear and the clothes." That's water
off Ox's back. "If you're going to be a wrestler,
you've got to dress like a wrestler." He's
as good as his word.
Sydney Morning Herald
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