HomeArticlesChristian Duque

Nick Walker ‘Wins’ the NY Pro Again


by Christian Duque

So what are my thoughts on the 2024 New York Pro? Well I have quite a few to be honest with you and I will do my best to give you a general description with this article. But I must confess there will probably be two articles behind this one talking about more finer points.

For starters, let me just say that the New York Pro is the third most important bodybuilding show. It is the former NOC (Night Of The Champions) and it is run by one of the most powerful and capable promoters in the bodybuilding world. It is a competition that I have covered in the past and that I think exemplifies everything that is good about our sport. And I say our sport even though I am not a competitor, but I have covered it for well over 20 years in articles, videos, and other commentary.

I was fortunate enough to get a press pass to cover the New York Pro some years ago (StrengthAddicts coverage sponsored by IronMag Labs) and see how it all ran. I will say that it is a fantastic competition and quite frankly, I think anybody that is a fan should go at least on NY Pro Show!!

For me, it is no surprise that Nick Walker chose this competition to make his comeback after his injury. He was not able to do the Olympia or the Arnold Classic but he made sure to make up for it by competing at this prestigious event in one of the most active regions in the country, if not the world.

New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are places where bodybuilding has thrived since the very beginning. Even during its lowest points, Female Bodybuilding was huge there!! People work out hard and they don’t miss any shows. That being said these audiences also make their displeasure heard. If there is ever a bad decision, you will hear about it and we have heard about it concerning the 2024 contest.


I am going to be brutally honest as I always am. Sometimes my writing gets me in a lot of trouble. For example, Nick Walker has had me blocked for years not because of anything I said about him, but things that I have said about his coaches and people he has worked with. I never make it personal and I always try to hold my tongue whenever possible, but that being said when you are a reporter, you have got to be unbiased and relentless in getting the story out. You cannot release puff pieces or tiptoe around controversial issues. At least I have never done that. As a result, I have been blocked by people like Nick, like Phil Heath, Luimarco and others. It is unfortunately the price that has to be paid in order to be objective.

My issue with Nick is not a personal one. I just don’t like his physique. I don’t think he has good symmetry, I don’t think he has good aesthetic value, and honestly, I think he is a freak. I think that the nickname of The Mutant is very fitting for him and while I know there are a lot of people that like to celebrate gnarly looking physiques I don’t think that a gnarly looking physique should be the top titleholder in the sport. I think that if we had a Mr. Olympia that looked like Nick Walker, it would be a step backwards for the sport of bodybuilding. That being said that is exactly what seems to be happening. It really looks like they want this guy on the Olympia stage and they gave him this win to ensure that reality. I’m not going to talk about who they are and I’m also not going to say that Nick’s victory was purely political (although politics I do believe played a role).

If I had been a judge, I would have given the wi to Martin Fitzwater. In my opinion, he exemplified everything that a champion should have. He had a fantastic physique on top of great structure and he was very conditioned. Not only that but he also had tremendous flow to his muscle and presented a physique that I thought was worthy of the win. Tonio Burton was also very impressive and also presented a very solid package, although I don’t think it was superior to that of Martin’s. In the end, however, I would have put either Martin or Tonio ahead of Nick. In fact, if you want me to be brutally honest, I don’t think I would’ve had anything higher than fifth.

Again, this is not because Nick was not ripped, because he was. This is not because Nick had bad color – he had great color. It is not because Nick did not pose hard – he did do that as well. It is simply because I don’t like the way that Nick looks. I don’t think that is the look that we want at the top spot of the third most important bodybuilding show.

Moreover, I think that his victory in New York had more to do with other things as well. For example, I think that they, again not going to say who they are, wanted to guarantee Nick’s appearance at the 2024 Mr. Olympia. I think it’s important for ticket sales and pay-per-view downloads to have a real rivalry afoot. Rivalries keep the media busy, they force the fans to choose a side, and they undeniably have an impact on buzz and marketability of a contest.

Now it has been argued in the past that the Olympia does not need any help when it comes to promotions. It is afterall the Super Bowl of Bodybuilding. And that is true to an extent, but it’s also a half-truth to another. We live in the digital age and everyone and everything can benefit from exposure and buzz. And that includes the most important show in bodybuilding.

Having a rivalry between Nick Walker and Derek Lunsford is liquid gold. Hadi is old news and will not repeat history like Jake Cutler did in 2009. In 60 years of Olympia history only only one champion that has lost the title has been able to reclaim it. It is not likely to happen again in 2024. Big Ramy couldn’t even appear for a guest posing appearance. Samson, while very impressive, was not able to defend his Arnold title this year and will likely not win the Olympia this year either.

So the reality of the matter is Derek will probably retain the title and be a two-time champion, but that alone is not noteworthy enough to sell tickets, much less pay-per-view downloads at $80 a pop. Especially not when the Arnold Classic offers it for free. Therefore a rivalry is necessary and there is no better rivalry than one between Derek Lunsford and Nick Walker. In my opinion, it was absolutely imperative for Nick to win in New York. Because if he didn’t, the chances of him finding another contest to qualify for the Olympia would have been slim to none. If he could not have won a show where neither Derek, Hadi, or Samson were present, his spirits would have been crushed – not to mention his very fragile ego. He would have been humiliated in front of the world and we probably would not have seen him again until 2025.

Therefore, Nick had to win in New York. Did he deserve to win? Absolutely not. But did he have to win? Absolutely. I don’t know if you want to call it politics; I don’t know if you want to call marketing; but whatever it is, it’s bullshit. say you?

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