Winter is coming for House Starks. AEW World Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman makes his first title defense next week against challenger Ricky Starks at AEW Dynamite: Winter is Coming, the third iteration of AEW's annual TV special. Starks follows in the footsteps of Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson, who won the AEW World Title Eliminator tournament in years past en route to their championship bouts at the December show. Unlike past years, 2022's Winter is Coming main event has two prizes on the line, as Starks also won the right to contest for MJF's Dynamite Diamond Ring.
The bonus bling was cemented this past Wednesday on AEW Dynamite, as Starks won the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royale to earn him a shot at MJF's signature weapon. Following that victory, Friedman confronted Starks with the intent to verbally belittle him, but The Absolute One had bullets ready in the chamber.
Starks blasted MJF's schtick, appearance, and ability to live up to the responsibility that comes with being AEW World Champion. Speaking with ComicBook.com's Liam Crowley, Starks provided insight on his creative process behind the heavily-praised promo.
"I think you'll hear a lot of wrestlers say, 'Oh, I didn't think of it. I didn't plan it out, I didn't write it out.' And Cody [Rhodes] makes the same joke, but that's bull," Starks said. "Even the best promos had to have some type of structure to them. And I am somewhat in the same way, admittedly. I'm not one to really pull back the curtain on anything here, but yesterday, earlier in the day, I had wrote out this whole thing, and in my head memorized it and did all this, and stressed myself out, and then had a match to do. Anything could have gone wrong where I just forget it in the match."
Starks revealed that he decided on the fly to abandon what he had mapped out in favor of improvising in the moment.
"I remember Max cutting that promo and saying these comments, and in that moment I was like, 'I'll just wing it. I'll just wing it. I know where I want to go and what I want to get to, and I'll just fill in the blanks.,'" Starks continued. "So what you saw out there was me winging it. That's how I operate. Yes, I can come up with some lines and think about it, but for the most part, whatever I feel, I just say, and it comes off in that moment."
Even though this particular promo is garnering critical acclaim, Starks considers it just another day at the office. The former FTW Champion referenced a similar rapid-fire segment he had this past summer which forced him to wrestle, speak, and then get physical in consecutive order.
"I'm not a stranger to this type of reception to a promo I've done," Starks added. "Earlier in the year, after I lost the title to Hook, I had a similar promo. The common theme between all that is it's just me really speaking from the heart in every single instance."
Starks challenges MJF for the AEW World Title next Wednesday, December 14th at AEW Dynamite: Winter is Coming.