Does AEW know what to do with Ricky Starks?


With the start of AEW Collision just under two months ago, new stars were given a bigger spotlight than previously. One of the wrestlers that immediately became a mainstay of weekly programming was Ricky Starks. This seemed like a great chance for him to launch himself into the main event scene, but now that he has made it, he seems to not have a definitive direction.

Ricky Starks has recently had himself a trilogy of matches with Collision’s top main eventer, CM Punk. While this seems like a mammoth push to the top of the card, none of his wins have been clean. Both wins Ricky has gotten over Punk have been by holding the rope to secure the roll-up pin, once in a singles match and once in a tag match.

This past week however Ricky Starks took a roll-up loss to CM Punk to push him back in the opposite direction. He did attack special guest referee Ricky Steamboat after the match, which pushed his character development toward being the full heel, but he kind of feels directionless as of last week.

Having Starks win the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament was a feel-good moment, and gave him serious direction, but now he feels like he is just being put in Punk’s back pocket if he has no match that week on Collision.

Punk is in the trios’ title scene with FTR, is laser-focused on proving he is the real-world champion, and has a challenge to answer by Samoa Joe. Where does Ricky Starks fit into all of this? If you want to run a Punk vs Starks program, AEW should’ve gone All In, pun intended.

Let Ricky have a star-making performance of his career in front of 80,000 fans at Webley Stadium against CM Punk, and all of a sudden he would feel like a main event star. Instead, as of right now he more than likely won’t be on the show, and it doesn’t feel like his wins over CM Punk even mattered.

This has been the story of young talent that feuds with CM Punk since his debut in AEW two years ago. There have big moments against Punk but don’t ultimately win the payoff match, and go right back into the shuffle. The feud between Starks and Punk is probably not over by any means, so AEW still has a chance to get this right. Have Punk beat Ricky and a partner in a tag match to tie their series at two matches a piece, and have one final match at one of the Chicago shows in September. Ricky can win the match clean in Chicago and get some serious heat by beating their hometown guy.

The story of Ricky Starks career in AEW has been he is so close to a true star-making moment but keeps falling short. It is time he finally gets his big win that creates a true path to the main event scene, and not just be stuck in limbo to be CM Punk’s c level feud.

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