AEW star Ricky Starks recently appeared on The Chris Van Vliet Show and revealed that WWE contacted him shortly after he made his AEW debut earlier this year. You can see Van Vliet’s full interview with Starks above or below. Van Vliet also sent us quotes from the interview.
After a run with the NWA, which included a stint with the NWA Television Title, Starks debuted with AEW on the June 17 edition of Dynamite, losing to then-AEW TNT Champion Cody Rhodes. AEW signed Starks that same month. Starks, who is now a member of Team Taz in AEW, revealed that WWE contacted him immediately after the match with Cody.
“The funny thing is, the day that I wrestled Cody I got a phone call from WWE saying, ‘Hey, we’ve been watching you and we wanted to bring you in’. I said, ‘Oh really? Oh ok. Interesting. Of all days.’,” Starks said. “And so I entertained that conversation because I was curious but I think I knew already which decision I was going to make. And I had a very dear, great friend tell me once: you should look at the people who want to invest in you and not know anything about you as opposed to the people who only wanted you when they saw someone else having interest.
“So that put things in perspective and I don’t hold any ill will towards WWE but I really think they dropped the ball majorly on that. I’ll never know why and I guess I don’t care now.”
Starks previously worked a WWE tryout in 2017. He commented on how close he thought he was to getting hired after that tryout.
“I don’t think I was close at all and I’ll never understand why,” Starks admitted. “I love wrestling. I’ve never played any sports, I never did anything, I only watched wrestling. And I have immersed myself and become obsessed with it and I love it to death. So when I did the tryout in 2017 and I was told and saw the reaction when I killed it in the promo class and I was keeping up with everybody when we were doing the workouts and even Matt Bloom was saying how good of a job I did, I realized that they didn’t want a wrestler.
“They wanted someone who wasn’t passionate about it that they could probably make into it. And I still don’t get why and that was a time period where I kind of went crazy; I dyed my hair and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. So I don’t know why that happened and I thought every time that I went to WWE I was like ‘This is going to be it. This is how I get in’ and it wasn’t and that’s fine. I’m ok with that.”
Starks is now looking for a title run to take his career to the next level in AEW. He was asked what he needs to take his career to that next level.
“I think the next step would be a championship title,” Starks said. “Here’s my opinion: I don’t necessarily need a title. I can be just as great without it. I could probably go my entire career without ever having a title.
“But obviously having the title adds a certain spice to things and that only enhances the flavor of the entire meal, right? So I think having that only takes me up another step.”
Starks has often been compared to former WWE Champion The Rock for his in-ring work and his mic skills. Starks was asked what he thinks of the comparisons.
“I should have been cast in that new biopic show that he has coming out. I’m not too sad or mad about the comparisons, right?,” Starks said. “I mean that’s cool to have that but I know at the end of the day who I pattern myself after if you even want to call it that. And I already know how my lineage is going to be moving forward.
“The comparisons won’t last my entire life. They just won’t. So if that’s the starter for how people see me right now and the intrigue is still there then I’m fine with that.”