Cody Rhodes Addresses AEW's Ricky Starks Being Backstage for the 2023 Royal Rumble

Backstage photos from this year's Royal Rumble event at the Alamodome revealed Cody Rhodes showed up to the event with rising AEW star Ricky Starks. While wrestlers in different companies having friendships are nothing new, the photo wound up going viral given Rhodes' status as the biggest name to leave the young promotion in favor of returning to the WWE. Rhodes spoke about it in a new interview with Inside The Ropes and said he hoped Starks didn't get in trouble for it.

"Listen, it's one of those things where the locker rooms have crossover. People are married to other people from other locker rooms. People are friends. This is a kid I started on his journey at my former home, and obviously, I want to follow and see his journey, but I will say it's probably best that none of my friends come and visit me at the shows anymore. We don't need security cam footage of that. Poor dude. I hope he didn't get in any trouble. I don't think he did. He was there to support a friend who had been absolutely down and out with a pec injury," Rhodes stated (h/t

"Ricky was one of the guys who nursed me through it to a degree and helped remind me of who I can be. I was happy to have him, and I had some other friends there. The other friends stayed on the bus because they were not crazy yayhoos. Hopefully, we can watch each other from a distance. I don't want to cause any strife between any places. We all love the same thing. It's the squared circle, it's the wrestling industry, and I always think I don't have any rules. There are rules, so," he continued. 

Rhodes went on to win the Rumble and will now challenge Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania 38 this April in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Starks came up short in his AEW World Championship match with MJF back in December and has been in a program with Chris Jericho, The JAS and Action Andretti ever since. Starks famously earned himself a contract with AEW back in 2020 by impressing Tony Khan in a TNT Championship match with Rhodes.