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Manoli Savvenas worked as a professional wrestler in the 1960s and ’70s. 
Rebecca Green | SBJ 
Manoli Savvenas worked as a professional wrestler in the 1960s and ’70s. 

Documentary featuring local jeweler, former wrestler shows at Moxie 

Posted online

The co-owner of Manoli’s Jewelers in Springfield is the subject of a documentary that will receive its second screening Sunday at The Moxie Cinema downtown. 

The documentary by local filmmaker Jason Brasier delves into the career of Manoli Savvenas, who wrestled in the 1960s and ’70s under the moniker The Flying Greek. The documentary has the same name. 

Savvenas was known for his acrobatic moves, like the flying scissor kick, for which he launched himself into the air to grasp his opponent’s neck with his legs for a takedown. He said he had a hard time convincing the World Wide Westling Federation, the precursor to today’s World Wrestling Entertainment, to take him on because of his small stature, at 5-foot-7 and 175 pounds, in an era of wrestling giants. 

While Savvenas acknowledges wrestling is scripted, he also notes it is not accurate to call it fake. He retains a sore shoulder as a souvenir of body slams and blows. 

“Wrestling is real – trust me,” he said. “They tell you what to do, but you earn it. You work very, very hard.” 

The documentary features Savvenas, now 81, demonstrating some of his wrestling moves. 

Proceeds from the showing will go toward The Moxie’s $30,000 July fundraiser. 

Moxie Executive Director Mike Stevens said the nonprofit cinema’s board of directors has agreed to match donations up to $15,000 to cover a $30,000 shortfall in year-to-date revenue as audience members remain reticent about returning to the theater post -pandemic. So far, the cinema is more than halfway to its goal, with $18,000. 

Moviegoers can contribute to the fundraiser for the nonprofit Moxie Cinema by making a donation or buying a first-time membership, Stevens said. 

As for the showing of “The Flying Greek,” Stevens said showcasing the work of local filmmakers is important to The Moxie. 

The documentary has a 45-minute run time and is unrated. General admission price is $9. 

An expanded article about Savvenas and the documentary will be published in Springfield Business Journal’s July 18 print edition. 

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