Ricky Starks is the guest this week on AEW Unrestricted with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone.
Starks was on to talk about his journey to AEW, his killer golf swing, how he prepared for his match with Cody Rhodes, why he was surprised at what happened before and after the match, WWE, The Undertaker, The Rock, burning tables, Whataburger vs. In-N-Out and much more.
Here are some highlights:
Starks explained how he got his match with Cody Rhodes on AEW TV: “I actually came to the AEW show in Austin back in February just to come and see my friends there. I saw Cody again and I knew Cody from a few years before that when he was on the indies. He remembered we chatted a bit. He invited me to the after-party at the hotel. Then I got introduced to QT and Charlie and everyone else there. It was really cool. That was it. That was the extent of that situation. Then before Cody left, he said we will stay in touch and we exchanged phone numbers. Then afterward, the whole NWA situation happened and I left. I didn’t know what was going on. I remember watching AEW Dynamite where that challenge was put out there and then the following tweet that clarified this was open to anyone. I promise to you that I was like, oh my God, this is how I get in. This is how thing’s start to go. The following Monday, I got a text and it said do you want to come in and challenge Cody Rhodes for the title? I said absolutely. Literally within a day or two, I got the flight info and the hotel info and I was on my way. In my head, this was just a one-off so I had a plan for it. I said, alright, I will do this match and then up my price on the indies and then keep that momentum building until I get to whatever the next thing may be for me. We have the match and it is history from there. I remember coming to the back. I wasn’t sure how the reception was because that was the first time I wrestled with no crowd with those types of stakes. I remember coming to the back and everyone was very pleasant. They said good job. For some reason, I couldn’t find Cody and then he came back and said that was good, thank you. I wasn’t used to that type of reaction from people afterward. That night, I went to the after-party and hung out. I went home thinking that was it. Then the following week, Tony contacted me. That was pretty much a wrap from there. He said he wanted to offer me something and I started crying because that is about 10 years of hard work that I’ve done.”
Starks talked about meeting the Undertaker: “I used to go to a gym in Austin whichever year that was where Undertaker was wrestling Shane. He was getting ready for that. I want to say 2016. That’s how I initially met Taker at that gym. We would always work out at that same time. At that time he was getting ready, he had a guy that was filming a documentary for him because he wanted something for his kids to see of the process of getting into it. I met him there. I talked to him. We kept in contact. Then Brandon, who was doing the documentary, wanted to do a documentary on independents on how things worked. So he followed us one week on a loop from San Antonio to Laredo all the way to Mexico to Monterey. In this whole documentary, he wanted a segment where we actually sat down with Taker. We went to a barbeque joint and picked his brain. We sat there for like three and a half hours and talked to him. We asked him all these different questions like where he trained. I asked him about Don Jardine and walking the ropes. A lot of people don’t realize I get a lot of my ideologies and the way I do things in the ring from Taker. That experience was so cool to have because who else can get that? We sat on a couch together and he reviewed my match from one of the local independents. Then a few years later, he needed to get prepared to wrestle Cena and we went in for 2 days straight and I did nothing but heat drills on him. Taker is really big on story. The one thing he reinforced into me is you can literally make a story out of anything.”