by Christian Duque
The world of bodybuilding and fitness is on fire as rumors seem to be confirmed that both Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden and Big Ramy are both wanting to do the 2020 Arnold Classic. A new video from Nick Miller (Nick’s Strength And Power) has added considerable fuel to the fire. The fact that these reports are coming out from a channel as reputable as is, also increase the legitimacy. There’s several factors that make this particular contest unique. For example, those who run the Arnold may not take the same approach with Rhoden that Weider/AMI took for the Olympia.
In fact, they may not even include conditions for letting him take the stage, either. Another very unique factor is that competitors don’t qualify for the Arnold, like they do for the Olympia; the Arnold is an invitational, so ultimately anyone could get invited. I’d imagine some of the factors that are looked at, would include giving the fans what they want, what’s going to sell more tickets, and what’s going to raise the production value. Having Shawn Rhoden return to the stage, as well as The Eyptian Phenom, makes all the sense in the world. What’s interesting is that this could have all the makings of being one of the best Arnold’s of all time, but the question is, how likely is it to happen. Another important question is, how well would Shawn do, how well would Ramy do, and what would the results in Columbus, mean for the 2020 Olympia?
Many, many people have gone out on a limb and stated, quite frankly, that no one on the 2019 Olympia stage had a physique that beat Rhoden’s physique in 2018. For starters, that’s very bold, especially because Rhoden wasn’t allowed to compete in 2019 and because we have a new, well-liked, and respected champion in Brandon Curry. One thing I really like, which is part of the top guys’ whole modus operandi is that Shawn has publicly urged his supporters to recognize Curry’s win and respect his tenure. This is something we saw William Bonac do earlier this year when Brandon Curry won the Arnold. It’s important that the champions stick up for each other – I can’t tell you how great that is for the sport. That being said, you have big names in the media, supplements, and social media saying that Rhoden would have easily repeated – if allowed. So there really shouldn’t be any question as to whether or not he could bring a great physique for Columbus and win an Arnold title. That being said, unless his case is resolved, we may have Rhoden with a win at the second biggest contest in the sport, but sidelined yet again from the biggest show some months later. I can’t imagine AMI would uphold the ban for a second consecutive year; however, I was also betting they’d cave in 2019, so who really knows? If they don’t cave, I think it would make for a very confusing and messy situation.
Big Ramy is going to be a bit more complicated. I love the guy and everyone I know loves the guy. He’s an honest, hard working, and extremely committed athlete. He’s worked very hard for everything he’s got. I mean let’s not forget, it was just a few years ago that Ramy could barely speak English. Now he’s fluent in our language, has toured the USA extensively, and has traveled the world several times over. He’s gone from a fisherman into an international superstar. He’s doing movies with Mike Tyson, signed the most lucrative supplement sponsorships, and placed as high as 2nd in the Mr. Olympia. That being said, he’s also no longer with the Camel Crew, the guys who were instrumental in his rise to stardom. He’s also no longer with Neil Hill. He didn’t compete at the 2019 Arnold, didn’t compete at the 2019 Tampa Pro, and was noticeably absent from the 2019 Mr. Olympia. Despite a very weak attempt by some of his most hardcore fans to rally for a special invite, the Mr. O went on largely without even noticing his absence.
The big question for Ramy would be, if he competes, who does he work with? Would he ever go back to Dennis James, would he work with Chris Aceto again? Would he go back to the Camel Crew or maybe try to work with Neil Hill? Another big question is, could Ramy do like Bonac did for the Olympia this year? Is Ramy disciplined enough and knowledgeable enough to prep himself? These are all very big questions. The biggest question of all, like with Rhoden is, would the Arnold committee even invite him?
Assuming Rhoden and Ramy could compete and actually signed and submitted their contracts, that would make the 2020 Arnold Classic one of the most exciting in history. The Arnold Expo would be absolute pandemonium, the mainstream media would circle, and the talking heads in our sport would have content for months. This is exactly the way the next contest season should kick off. Another big question would be whether or not Brandon Curry would defend his Arnold title – or – if the title would be vacant, in which case, 2017 Champion and 2019 Mr. Olympia Runner-Up William “The Conqueror” Bonac will almost definitely be there to battle for it. Could Ramy beat Bonac – in the current time – I don’t think so. He might, I guess, but if we’re being 100% candid, I’d say Bonac is out of Ramy’s reach for right now. Rhoden, on the other hand, could beat anyone.
The Arnold is a very big event – with HUGE PRIZE MONEY – did I forget to mention that? No one’s arm needs to get twisted to compete in this show, rest assured of that!! I guess only time will tell.