Following his debut on AEW Dynamite in June 2020, Ricky Starks has never shied away from expressing his views on the goings-on within the modern wrestling sphere.
Speaking with Al Castle and Brian Solomon on the latest edition of the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Podcast, Starks spoke in-depth on what the title means to him, and its place in wrestling history.
“I think, for one, coming into AEW and winning the [FTW] Title was a big deal because I’m a big, big person on history and making sure that things from the past aren’t forgotten. Because when you’re forgotten, that’s true death, right?”, said Starks. “That’s the original title from 1998, so that thing has seen so much. I would even liken it to the Smoking Skull Title, ya know? Imagine if you had that title, the original one, you would cherish that and honor that with everything because of its history that it is. I’m not saying they’re on the same level, but I’m just saying, in terms of having such a piece of history like that, is insane”.
The Absolute One continued in this vein, discussing the importance of honoring the legacy of the championship, and carrying it in the best way he can.
“So, for me, I think it’s more important to have this title and represent it the best way I can and do with it what I can. I know it won’t be perfect and I know that there are things outside of my control that I just have to deal with, right? But at the end of the day, I wanna make sure that, one, I do the best that I can with the title and represent it and make sure that it has some type of legitimacy, regardless of it’s recognized or not”.
Starks would then briefly mention in passing the previous title holder, Brian Cage, inferring that the title wasn’t held with the same pride that Starks does currently.
“To me, it’s important to represent this title and its legacy to the utmost that I can. It wasn’t by the previous champion, and when I won it, I made a promise to myself that I would make sure that no matter what, I would ride all the way to the end with it, and then whatever happens at the end of my title reign, I would hope that it goes to someone that actually cares and put in the work for it and dealt with it the best that he could with what he was given.”
Following this, Ricky Starks then spoke on many misconceptions about himself within the industry and fandom, and how this affects him personally.
“Ya know, I thought about it before but I don’t think I carry it as a chip on my shoulder because I’m always gonna be judged in some type of way…whether it’s that I’m too effeminate or I’m too cocky, I’m too much of a pretty boy, or this is a rugged title and it doesn’t really fit”, said Ricky Starks. “People don’t know my history and where I come from and the things that I’ve had to experience, and that’s fine because I think it’s kind of corny when you have to tell people, ‘oh, I’ve done this, this, and this just to prove a point to them and change their opinion, right?
“So, I feel regardless of my size and any of that, I can really whoop anyone’s ass. I’m a very hot-tempered person and can go from 0 to 100 really quick and that may not come through initially when you see me. I’m out there with poise, and suave, and this and that, and you go, ‘oh, Taz was a little more rugged’ and sure he was, but guess what? I can be rugged too and I can dress to the nines and I can do all this stuff. Even when I’m not FTW Champion, I’m still going to be the same guy. So, I kind of tune all that stuff out”.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Pro Wrestling Illustrated with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Have a news tip or correction? Send it to [email protected]