Ricky Starks recently joined “AEW Unrestricted” to talk about several professional wrestling topics.
Here are the highlights:
First making contact with AEW talent:
So that was pretty insane, just for the fact that — so one, I actually came to the show, to the AEW show in Austin back in February, just to come and see my friends there. And so, I saw Cody again. And I knew Cody from — I wanna say a few years before that, when he was on the indies. And he remembered me, and we chatted a bit. He invited me to the after-party at the hotel.
Then I got introduced to QT [Marshall] and Charlie and everyone else there. It was really, really cool. And so, that was it. That was the extent of that situation, right? It was just me hanging out, and what-not. And then before Cody left, he was like, ‘You know, we’ll stay in touch,’ and exchanged phone numbers.
How he got his initial AEW match:
Afterward, the whole NWA situation happened, and I left. I didn’t know what was going on. And I remember watching AEW Dynamite where that challenge was put out there, and then the following tweet that clarified this was open to anyone. And I promise to you, promise to God. I was watching that, and I was like, ‘Oh my God! This is how I get in.
This is how thing’s start to go.’ And I’ll never forget, the next day I was at the gym. And mid-set, I could not get the image of me coming out, challenging for the title. I was visualizing this, I was cutting this promo on him. And then we had this great match, and this and that, and that was the end of it. And then, I want to say that following Monday, I got a text. And they were like ‘Hey, would you want to come in and challenge Cody Rhodes for the title?’ I said, ‘Absolutely. Absolutely, I would love to!’ And then literally within a day or two, I got flight info and the hotel info, and I was on my way.
How he came into the match:
In my head, this was just a one-off. So I had a plan for it. I said, ‘Alright, I’ll do this match and then up my price on the indies. And then just keep that momentum building until I get to whatever the next thing may be for me.’ And then obviously we have the match and obviously, you know, it is history from there.
The reaction backstage after the match:
I just, I remember coming to the back. And I wasn’t sure how the reception was. Just because one, that was the first time I wrestled with no crowd, with those types of stakes. I’ve done that before with WWE where they have you wrestle on Smackdown in front of literally no one, but this was a little bit different. So I just remember coming back, and everyone was very pleasant.
They said, ‘Good job.’ But for some reason, I couldn’t find Cody and I think he had walked off from somewhere. But then he came back and was just like, ‘Ohh! So good, thank you, thank you.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, s**t.’ I wasn’t used to that type of reaction from people afterward. I’m always like, ‘Oh, good stuff,’ and we go about our day.
Getting offered a contract:
That night, I went to the after-party and hung out. And then I went home, thinking that was it. And then the following week, Tony contacted me. That was pretty much a wrap from there. I remember him telling me, ‘We want to offer you something,’ and I started crying. Because that is about 10 years of hard work that I’ve done.
H/T 411Mania for the transcriptions