Ricky Starks made his AEW debut when he responded to Cody Rhodes' open challenge for the TNT Championship. Since then, he has signed for AEW permanently and has been positioned as a top star for the future.
Starks credits this rise in stature and fame and his development in AEW as reasons for calling himself a homegrown talent.
"I do consider myself AEW homegrown. I'm not saying I'm discrediting the stuff I did in the past. NWA was a great time for me and I do value it and cherish it and I think it did help me out. But at the same token, I didn't get the same type of success and improvement and growth, that I had in AEW. So a lot of people are yelling and angry that I seemingly crapped on NWA, but that wasn't it. The point of it is that in AEW I have had my most success, I've had my most growth, I've had boundless opportunities to do what I want to do ultimately. And you could argue that I was popular from NWA but I don't think I was, I don't think everyone knew who I was as compared to AEW."
"I've had my most growth and this is a home for me. I wasn't anyone on the indies, I didn't have any name value, I wouldn't even think I had any name value when I was in NWA so when I say that I mean it," said Ricky Starks.
Ricky Starks used John Cena to prove why he is an AEW homegrown talent
Before becoming the megastar he is now, John Cena spent considerable time in developmental companies like Ohio Valley Wrestling that helped his growth. Despite that, it's safe to say that the Cenation leader is a WWE homegrown talent.
Ricky Starks cited that example to illustrate his point.
"So when we talk about homegrown talent, we can get into the fine details of it and go off of certain definitions and whatnot but if we're gonna go do that, then we should state John Cena who started at UPW, then went to OVW, there's gonna be so many filters, it's almost impossible to have a full roster of people that you have just plucked from obscurity and put them in your training school and churn them out as superstars. It's just not how it's gonna happen," said Ricky Starks.
Starks' stable, Team Taz, is currently locked in a feud with CM Punk, with Powerhouse Hobbs taking on the Straight Edge Superstar this week on AEW Rampage.
Fans are expecting Starks to collide with Punk in a dream match somewhere down the line.