In the 1970s, bodybuilding had major publicity thanks to the appearance of Arnold Schwarzenegger , Franco Columbu , Lou Ferrigno , and others in the 1977 docudrama Pumping Iron . By this time, the IFBB dominated the competitive bodybuilding landscape and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) took a back seat. The National Physique Committee (NPC) was formed in 1981 by Jim Manion ,  who had just stepped down as chairman of the AAU Physique Committee. The NPC has gone on to become the most successful bodybuilding organization in America, and is the amateur division of the IFBB. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the decline of AAU-sponsored bodybuilding contests. In 1999, the AAU voted to discontinue its bodybuilding events.
Flex Wheeler had the best midsection in the game and a chiseled body to go along with it. He had it all- size, mass, definition, proportion, and symmetry. He was often compared to near-perfect legends Steve Reeves and Bob Paris throughout his career, yet obtained a level of muscularity never before seen. It’s just a shame that mass has consistently beat out definition at the O. The judges have always been more impressed with mass than perfection. Otherwise, Flex might have been right there with Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman, holding the title for Most Olympia titles ever won.
But as someone who works out daily in a southern Australian hardcore gym there is no doubt that he had some influence. He was seen as counter-metrosexual in an increasing sissified country and unlike other amateur bodybuilders and indeed pro bodybuilders his physique was seen as far more desirable than, say, Alexey Lesukov. Hence he certainly has credibility as being influential. With his more natural athletic build, Hollywood looks and darkish European appearance he had a far greater female following than all the Australian bodybuilders put together, or, even Melbourne-born actor Chris Hemsworth of Thor fame.