Andrew Jacked Eyes Texas Pro?

by Christian Duque

No one likes to title an article with a question, at least I don’t, but what can you do when all you’re going off is a hunch? That said, this isn’t just speculation for speculation’s sake. We are dealing with a competitor with a very active social presence and we know he’s as of yet not qualified for the 2023 Mr. Olympia.

It’s great to see guys like Andrew really take to the various platforms and engage with the fans. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to have gone two years under the reign of Big Ramy and constantly wondering where he was, what he was doing, and if we’d even see him defending his Olympia title. Who can forget the doubt that was created when he announced plans mid-way through 2022 of working with Mike Tyson on a film? I guess it’s not too hard to imagine considering how absent reigning Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan is. People don’t even know if the photos he’s posting are actual.

That’s not the way to grow the sport or even to maintain a personal fanbase. Thankfully with Jacked we know what he’s up to and we can calculate what shows he may do to qualify. I think many fans, myself included, believe he’s gunning for the Texas Pro because of the fact it’s about 8-9 weeks out, it will provide a stacked lineup, and it’s a key destination for the sport.

As of 2023, there’s South Florida, Texas, of course the Chicago area, and the northeast. Whether we’re talking New York, Connecticut, or Massachusetts you know you’re dealing with some of the best contests in the sport of bodybuilding. Of course we can’t forget Cali and the southwest, but I’d argue that bodybuilding counts far more adherents in the concentrated areas of the northeast, South Florida, and Texas than anywhere else. Plus the promoters that run shows in these areas have also been doing it for a hundred years. Competing in any of these regions all but guarantees running into the best competitors in the world.

It’s also important that Andrew qualify in a deep lineup. Just this past week we saw Michael Krizo win the Empro Classic in Alicante, Spain. While Krizo did a fantastic job on his social media posting constant updates and interacting with the fans he picked a weak contest. Yes, I know, the competitors brought their A Game and all looked fantastic, but I never heard of most of them. When you have to Google search competitors you know you’re not dealing with a contest drawing top Olympians. To be honest, I don’t think Michael competed against a single guy who did last year’s Olympia or this year’s Arnold so while they all looked great – so what? The Empro Classic was low hanging fruit and he got an Olympic qualification. That’s not to say that Krizo didn’t make dramatic improvements from last year’s Mr. Olympia, but he also isn’t a guy who nearly won the 2023 Arnold Classic. With Jacked you’re dealing with a guy who’s on a much higher level and thus he can’t go to a remote part of the world and get down with a bunch of scrubs. Again, please pardon my bluntness, but this is IRON MAGAZINE and here we tell it like it is.

If Andrew does in fact compete in Texas he’s going to hit the stage at a contest put on by Ed and Betty Pariso. These are some of the most respected promoters in the world and to win their contest would mean to go into the Olympia with a tremendous amount of buzz. He’ll likely run into several top guys, most notably guys in places 7-11in the world. That’s Mr. Olympia 2nd call out guys, which in case you don’t realize includes guys who have been in the Top 6 in the past. This dramatically raises the stakes. Moreover, the Texas Pro isn’t the last show before the big dance but it’s certainly a lot closer than competing in mid June. The pressure will be on Andrew to qualify and barely have enough time to breathe before embarking on a full Olympia prep.

While some might press him on why he’s waited so long all I can say is that his plan was probably to win the Arnold Classic. I totally respect Samson’s big win, but I don’t quite understand how the judges could reward aesthetics and symmetry with the win, but then put Nick Walker over Andrew Jacked. That didn’t make any sense to me. Then again bodybuilding decisions often leave me scratching my head. After all, it is a subjective sport and the judges are looking for different things at different times.

I’ve heard that giving Walker 2nd was in part because he represented the mass monsters and in part by way of being a defending Arnold champion. In the end, Andrew should have been runner-up as far as I’m concerned and a great many people – media included – had him winning the contest. That being said, when you prep for the 2nd biggest contest in the sport, you don’t jump into another show right away afterwards. Doing so is a recipe for disaster so I totally understand AJ taking a break to give his body a breather and figure out what his next move was.

The fact Jacked has Chris “The Technician ” Aceto and Psycho in his corner means to me that no matter what happens he will be dialed in and ready for Texas. With coaches like that in your corner you can rest easy that whatever life throws at you – particularly – in the final 48 which is where most competitors fail that he’ll be well looked after. Having Aceto in his corner also ensures that he’ll continue to get tons of media attention, particularly at RXMuscle where Aceto has a track record of pumping up his clients. That’s not to say they’re not worthy of every last mention. He only works with the best of the best (e.g. the late great Shawn Rhoden, Jay Cutler, and Big Ramy).

I have a feeling Andrew will continue posting often on social media and might give the fans some clues as to what contest he’s going to do to qualify. I think right now if I was to bet I’d put my money on Texas but I might be wrong. There are other contests and he needs to keep the Olympia in mind. While top guys may frown upon having a Plan B you have to have one if you’re not qualified for the Olympia and if you’re a top guy.

Remember that the points system is gone and getting a special invite is next to impossible. Therefore, if you don’t have contingencies in place, you’re playing with your career, not to mention the fact that sponsors wouldn’t think it too kindly if their athlete was left out in the cold come November in Orlando, FL. That said Jacked needs to qualify in style and going to some random show in some random part of the world won’t cut it. Had he got his qualification at the Empro last week, just for example, after nearly winning the Arnold Classic earlier this year, I think that would have been cause for some raised eyebrows in the industry. It would have almost seemed like he was looking for the easy way out. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me.

In any event, I think that if Andrew brings what he brought to Columbus to Texas, maybe with some minor touch-ups, that he’ll be unstoppable. I also think that he’s going to have a very good outing at the 2023 Olympia. But what say you?