Ricky Starks looked up to some of the Attitude Era’s best, but he was also inspired by the culture and personalities surrounding him while growing up.
Starks had a phone interview with WrestleZone’s Dominic DeAngelo and the “Absolute” of the NWA has some memorable inspirations when it comes to his pro wrestling fandom. Starks is a noted admirer of The Undertaker but also was drawn to the very different personalities of The Rock and Mankind while growing up as well.
“The Undertaker, The Rock & Mankind are my favorites when I was growing up and so, I really can’t tell you why I was drawn to them. I know those three are so different from each other, but I really enjoy watching them and I still do to this day, but I really can’t specify where I grab—I guess you want to call them I guess personality traits?” Starks said.
Fans and people can compare Starks’ personality with “The Great One” but for Starks, his inspirations mainly came from the older demographic he grew up around, the personalities that were embedded in the New Orleans culture.
“People think that I like take from The Rock and I really don’t actually. Growing up, like I said, I grew up around a lot of older people. I hung out, when I was young, I hung out with a lot of adults and whatnot and so I used to observe how they interacted and whatnot and being from New Orleans, everyone had a type of outgoing personality. So really, what you see is just an extension of people from New Orleans. It’s not anyone from wrestling or anything like that, it’s what I saw from when I grew up and yeah, the way I speak and the things that I say, that’s all rooted in the culture in New Orleans.”
Starks certainly doesn’t try to pattern his cadence or delivery off of a certain someone or style, but he does rely on his own personality to shine through.
“I just looked at it as me talking and whenever I’m talking I don’t really try to talk in a certain cadence or be like someone. I think, honestly, I really do take it as a compliment and I think it’s very interesting that people say certain things about the way that I speak and I like the different perspective on it,” Starks said.
He did find one personal inspiration, however.
“I’ll be honest with you – the way that I speak is the way that my mom used to speak to me. And I think that’s a huge influence as well because as kids you just copy what you saw growing up,” said Starks. “So the way my mom would talk to me would be in the way of how I talk to people now. And it’s like, more like ‘a backhanded compliment, but I’m trying to no be so harsh on you…,’ stuff like that.”
As far as his in-ring goes, Starks is very good at selling and only had a few influences from the wrestling ring, the others came from the art of pugilism (both of the observant and participatory nature):
“I’d be lying if I said I really like how Taker sold and I really liked how Shawn [Michaels] sold, but beyond those two my brother is a big boxing fan so I used to watch boxing with him,” he said. “And so I would watch boxing a lot and I really liked, when you watch boxing, when they get hit, man, that’s real, so I kind of pulled from that stuff. I never really pulled from anything else in wrestling as far as my sell goes, but you know what? I have a philosophy too: that if you got into a lot of fights and you got your ass beat a lot when you were younger, it’s very easy for you to know what those emotions are in the ring so yeah, that’s probably a big part of all that too because I actually started them on purpose or you know, just other reasons, but yeah.”
You can catch Ricky Starks tonight at 6:05 PM EST on NWA Powerrr, but you can also see “The Stroke Daddy” in-person this weekend at Without A Cause’s “Daddy’s Home” event this Saturday in Everett, WA.
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)
You can listen to Starks & DeAngelo’s entire conversation below: