AEW Unrestricted got “Absolute” this week as Ricky Starks sauntered his way on the program.
One third of Team Taz talked with hosts Tony Schiavone and Aubrey Edwards and to start off the show, Starks detailed the the process which led up to him inking a deal with All Elite Wrestling. Starks says he happened to meet Cody Rhodes a few years back on the indies before the promotion was even an idea in anyone’s mind.
“I actually came to the AEW show here in Austin back in February just to see my friends there, and so I saw Cody again and I knew Cody from I want to say a few years before that when he was on the indies and he remembered me and we chatted a bit and he invited me to the after party at the hotel.
“Then afterwards the whole NWA situation happened and I left and 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 which clarified this was open to anyone and I promise to you, I promise to God, that I was watching that and was like, ‘Oh my God, this is how I get in, this is how things start to go,’ and I’ll never forget, the next day I was at the gym in mid-set and I could not get the image of me coming out, challenging for the title. I was visualizing all 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 so I want to say that following Monday, I got a text and there were like, ‘Hey, would you want to come in and challenge Cody for the title?’ I said, ‘Absolutely. Absolutely I’d love to.'”
Don't miss out on this cool interview I got to do for #AEWUnrestricted
Great conversation!🕺 https://t.co/k1MTACbygP
— Ricky Starks (@starkmanjones) August 28, 2020
Starks was pumped for the opportunity, but kept his expectations as simple as he could.
“In my head, this was just a one-off so I had a plan for it. I was like, ‘Alright, I’ll do this match and then I’ll just up my price on the indies and just keep that momentum building until I get to whatever the next thing may be for me,’ and then obviously we had the match and it’s history from there. I remember coming to the back and I wasn’t sure how the reception was because (1) that was the first time I’ve ever wrestled with no crowd with those types of stakes. I’ve done that before with WWE where tehy had me wrestle on SmackDown in front of literally no one for whatever reason, but this was a little bit different just because we had a bigger stake at hand.
“That night, I went into the after party and hung out and then I went home thinking that was it and then the following week, Tony [Khan] contacted me and it was pretty much a wrap from there. I remember him telling me, ‘Oh we want to offer you something,’ I just started crying because that is about ten years of hard work that I’ve done, just me. I’ve never had anyone help me out, I’ve never was with any type of cliques or stuff like that. Yeah, I’ve literally had to do things on my own and that was a big culmination of that and it felt good to finally be proud of myself no less of working towards something and getting to a certain point. Yeah, I just sat in this apartment just bawling my eyes out because I was like, ‘This is so crazy. Absolutely crazy.’ I’m thrilled and grateful to be here, but the series of events leading up to it was something I couldn’t even fathom.”
Schiavone then told Ricky he got that job offer because of his match specifically.
“I remember, first thing I did was I went to the gorilla position and told Tony [Khan] I said, ‘That kid is really, really good,’ and I think I came back and told you congratulations your match because it was tremendous.”
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)