AEW must find a way to book Ricky Starks as a superstar


Ricky Starks has been a rising star in AEW since his arrival in 2020 however due to his booking he has never reached his full potential and that must change.

When it comes to “Absolute” Ricky Starks, AEW has a superstar on their hands but with the way he has been booked, you would think that they are not aware of that. Every time Starks gets an ounce of momentum, it is snatched away from him and unfortunately the same can be said for other AEW talents.

Ricky Starks is the total package. He has the looks, the charisma, the attitude, the in-ring abilities. He has it all. There have been moments where AEW has given him big moments and opportunities but for whatever reason the company has failed to capitalize on them afterwards.

After losing to the AEW World Champion, MJF, to end 2022, Starks entered a feud with Chris Jericho. He did win that feud, but it didn’t do much to benefit Starks. Next came several losses to Jay White and 2023 was looking lackluster for Ricky Starks. That was until AEW’s newest show, Collision, came along in June.

The arrival of Collision revived Starks’ career and he quickly became one of the faces of the show. In July, he won the Men’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament by defeating CM Punk, and although he did cheat to win, by holding onto the ropes for leverage, this was a huge win for Starks. What followed was a title shot at Punk’s Real World Championship, however, Starks was unsuccessful. A turning point for Starks came after his loss to Punk when he attacked wrestling legend, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Starks would later be suspended for his actions causing him to miss AEW’s biggest ever show, All In at Wembley Stadium in London, a decision that confused many as although Starks was a “heel” fans were still rallying behind him and having him appear on the biggest show would have furthered his newfound momentum.

Starks would return to action at the All Out PPV, a week following All In, where he faced and was defeated by “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson in a brutal strap match. Despite the loss, Starks proved he could hang with Danielson, who many consider to be the best wrestler in the world, while also performing well in the uniquely violent stipulation. The match is also considered to be Stark’s best match of his career. Starks and Danielson would meet again several weeks later, this time in a match equally as brutal as their first, a Texas Death Match. Danielson once again picked up the win, a win that should have probably been given to Starks as he would have benefitted greatly.

After proving he could hang with two of the all-time greats, CM Punk and Bryan Danielson, you would think that Ricky Starks would be pushed as the next big star in AEW, right? Wrong. Instead, Starks has been put into a makeshift tag team with Big Bill, and despite them winning the AEW World Tag Team Championships in October, defeating FTR in a surprise victory, it could be argued that Starks is still not getting the star treatment that he should be getting. In a recent interview on the Black Rasslin’ Podcast, Starks explained how despite being a current AEW Tag Team Champion, he is still very much a singles wrestler:

"“I’m still aiming for the AEW World Championship. I’m still aiming for the TNT Championship and the International Championship. I’m still aiming for these things. I’m not a tag team wrestler. I’m the tag team champion, but I’m not a tag team wrestler, and I want that to be clear.”"

Starks has made it clear that being a singles champion is still a goal of his. He did hold the FTW Championship for a record-setting 378 days however the belt is not an officially sanctioned AEW title. He could have very well held the TNT Championship which spent most of the year being hot-shotted between various wrestlers however what Starks was given was stop-and-start booking which saw him build momentum only for him to go nowhere. In July of last year, after losing the FTW Championship, Starks cut a passionate promo that was filled with frustration.

"“Obviously, I lost, and I’m no stranger to losing and I’m okay with that, but I want everybody to know something – I was given that title when people thought it was a noose. I turned it around into a tie, and I made the most of it. I took leather and metal and made it into gold. I brought that title back to prominence, nobody back there can say they did, but I did. It was me! I exceeded all expectations, busted my ass every day, and never gave up, even when I was less than 100 percent.“I deserve to be here talking to all of ya’ll for more than 40 seconds. I deserve that. And there are people back there who tell me, ‘Hey, be patient. Wait your turn. The time is gonna come.’ I don’t want to hear that no more. My time was last month, my time was last year, my god damn time is right now! And I don’t want people to say that I’ve had a string of bad luck. It’s not bad luck, it’s just a string of bad timing, that’s why me and Hobbs were…”"

Starks himself echoed what many fans were thinking, that AEW needed to do more with him and that it was his time to be a star. That promo is still as relevant now as it was then. Ricky Starks is a star. He knows it. Fans know it. Does AEW know it? It doesn’t seem like they do. It has been Starks’ time for well over a year now and we are still waiting for him to get his big moment.

Who knows what the future holds for Ricky Starks? Perhaps he stays in AEW and finally achieves his goal of winning singles gold or maybe he will go to another company that will see his true potential as a main event star. Whatever happens, Ricky Starks is destined for greatness no matter where he is or what he does.

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