Ricky Starks has quickly become one of AEW's most promising young stars since he first arrived on AEW Dynamite back in June. A month after he contract with the National Wrestling Alliance expired, the former NWA World Television Champion appeared on Dynamite to answer Cody Rhodes' open challenge for a TNT Championship match. That match turned out to be a tryout for Starks, who impressed AEW president Tony Khan so much that Starks was signed to a contract shortly after.
But the entire situation didn't go down without WWE trying to get involved. Starks revealed in an interview with Chris Van Vliet this week that WWE contacted him right after his Dynamite debut, saying they were interested in signing him. Starks turned them down.
"The funny thing is, the day that I wrestled Cody I got a phone call from WWE saying 'Hey, we've been watching you and we wanted to bring you in'. I said 'Oh really? oh ok. Interesting. Of all days'. And so I entertained that conversation because I was curious but I think I knew already which decision I was going to make," Starks said (h/t WrestlingNews.co) "And I had a very dear, great friend tell me once: you should look at the people who want to invest in you and not know anything about you as opposed to the people who only wanted you when they saw someone else having interest. So that put things in perspective and I don't hold any ill will towards WWE but I really think they dropped the ball majorly on that. I'll never know why and I guess I don't care now."
Starks tried out for WWE in 2017 prior to his run with the NWA and said he never got the sense they were remotely interested in him at the time.
"I don't think I was close at all and I'll never understand why," Starks said. "I love wrestling. I've never played any sports, I never did anything, I only watched wrestling. And I have immersed myself and become obsessed with it and I love it to death. So when I did the tryout in 2017 and I was told and saw the reaction when I killed it in the promo class and I was keeping up with everybody when we were doing the workouts and even Matt Bloom was saying how good of a job I did, I realized that they didn't want a wrestler. They wanted someone who wasn't passionate about it that they could probably make into it."
Starks and Brian Cage defeated TNT Champion Darby Allin and Rhodes in the main event of last week's Dynamite.