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Ricky Starks talks his neck injury, AEW’s momentum, recent talent signings, more

Denise Salcedo interviewed AEW FTW Champion Ricky Starks. During the chat, Starks talked about his feud with Brian Cage, his working relationship with Tony Khan, and more. The following highlights were sent to us: 

His Thoughts on His Long Feud with Brian Cage

“I honestly was happy to finally have this match. I know we had went through some injuries, Brian had some knee issues and things like that but I was happy to just get it over with and be done with it.”

“Everyone thinks my neck, like if I still have a broken neck. No. I had a match in July, that I was actually cleared for and I’d been clear since July. Just things haven’t happened to where I was having matches. So to have a match especially in Philadelphia, of all places especially with wrestling history and to have it as a street fight, it was insane.”

“I am still feeling some stiffness and what not just because I hadn’t been wrestling too much. But I am glad that it’s over with. I definitely got my ass kicked for sure and hopefully it paid off. ”

Starks Clarifies The Situation with Neck, Says He Has Been Fully Cleared and Can Wrestle & Have Matches, Appreciated the Time Off AEW Gave Him

“No, the situation is that I’ve been cleared since July, I had a match in Austin, and that was my first match after the neck injury, and I’ve been cleared there after. For whatever reason people just put together ‘well he isn’t on TV because of that.’ That was never stated, that was never confirmed or anything like that. I do appreciate having the time off though, to further heal up my neck.When you have a broken neck, when you have a fractured neck, whatever type of bone that is broken, you have 3/4 months that it’s healed, but to fully heal it takes like 2 years. That’s just from a doctor’s point, a bone doesn’t fully heal until 2 years after. So I am always gonna have that, but to have the time off, and to have the time where I am still on TV and commentating and things like that, I am very appreciative of it, especially AEW giving me that time to slow it down and take my time with it. Anyone else could have rushed me back into the ring.”

Starks Says He Would Like To Do Open Challenges with the FTW Championship

“I like the challenge of having the FTW belt because I don’t fit the stereotypical mold of what that is as history has shown. We have Taz who is a very hard-nosed, badass basically, and I am a badass in my own right…. I would like to have an open challenge for it. Regardless of whether people recognize it as a real thing or not, the fact of the matter is I am a champion regardless and at the end of the day I will remain a champion. So it would be cool for me to have somebody to come and challenge or I throw out the bait and see who catches it. But I think for me most important is that it’s Ricky’s title, it’s Ricky’s vision of what it is, and no one can say it differently. I can have the type of momentum that the TNT title had with the open challenges and things like that.”

How He Feels About AEW’s Momentum and The Signing’s of CM PUNK, Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole

“I think because we have such a good rapport with the fan base and a reward system and giving wrestlers a chance, and letting them have the opportunity to actually go out there and wrestle, and all of these things. It’s a big thing, a big melting pot of success that will only get better as we keep moving forward. When I came into AEW in 2020 during Covid, it was a night and day difference, the landscape was totally different. So to see it go from that to what it is now, and we have so much more to go, I am still amazed by that…. but I think in part it had to do with the help that we got, the signing of CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole and things like that and from that point I do want to say, we were building a base before these guys came in, we built a platform, a home, for them to see ‘Hey that’s a place we want to go.’ So don’t get it twisted, the people that were here originally built all of this, to bring in people, like Bryan and people like Punk… and just like any type of building piece, we had that, then we had them come in, then we have the young guys that are moving up now being the stars they were being built up for, it’s just so many cool parts. I think it’s cool to have someone like Punk, Bryan and Adam Cole because iron sharpens iron and we cannot get better if we just wrestle the same 50 guys that we did the past ten years…. So I am a fan of it, I am really am excited for it. The more the merrier as long as they come to out in the work, and wanna help out and not be selfish.”

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