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Hook said FTW and took Ricky Starks’ belt on AEW Dyanmite


You have to give it to AEW’s Ricky Starks, he sure knows how to make an entrance.

That’s right, after having his open challenge for the FTW Championship answered by none other than the very nicest, very evilest man on the AEW roster, Danhausen, at Fyter Fest Week 2Starks preempted his own in-ring entrance with a presumably self-commissioned video package detailing the “absoluteness” of his championship reign.

Now, as you may or may not know, AEW’s most recent edition of dynamite didn’t just mark the 2022 running of Fight for the Fallen but also marked the official date where Ricky Starks surpassed Brian Cage, Sabu, and Taz himself to become the longest-running FTW Champion of all time – hitting 378 days with the belt and counting.

… OK, technically, that last part wasn’t correct; technically, for the number to be “counting,” Starks would actually have to retain the title over Danhausen, which, considering his mixed bag of in-ring performances, was anything but a sure thing.

Fortunately, Starks is a pro’s pro, and much like how he got his gig in AEW in the first place, by putting on an absolute show versus Cody Rhodes during the then-TNT Champion’s open challenge, “Absolute” Ricky put on a show and took care of business against the 6-foot-7, 300-pound wonder in the ring without breaking much of a sweat.

Had that been that, then that would have been that, but for the second week in a row, Starks got greedy, and this time, his hubris bit him in the behind.

Ricky Starks FTW’d around and found out in the AEW ring.

Normally, when a wrestler wins a match, they go to the back after and go about their business. Sure, occasionally, a winner will get on the mic to cut some sort of promo, celebrate a big win with their buddies, or even beat down another wrestler, their opponents’ friends, or even their defeated foe themselves in order to get a point across and/or defend themselves, but unless it’s an uber stipulation match where they have to defeat a gauntlet of foes – think Bobby Lashley versus the Alpha Academy and Theory last month on raw – when the match is done, the bell doesn’t ring again.

For two weeks in a row, Ricky Starks has bucked that trend, and on both occasions, he’s assuredly regretted that decision.

After foolishly securing a match against Danhausen the previous week via a post-match calling, Starks asked once more for a second opponent, and this time, his factionmate, friend, and trainee Hook emerged from the Babyface Tunnel to challenge “Pretty Ricky” to an impromptu match while garnering incredible cheers from the assembled crowd. Starks reluctantly accepted, and after going back and forth through a commercial break, the student became the master and the most over undercard guy in the history of AEW, wearing FTW-colored orange shorts for the first time in his professional wrestling career no less, put his father’s belt above his head while the ECW legend gushed about the results on commentary.

predictable? You bet; when the aforementioned video package hit the screen, it felt like the end of an era for sure, but hey, Hook wasn’t in AEW when the FTW Championship was introduced into Tony Khan’s promotion, and he was still a month away from the debuting when Starks took it off of Cage in a Philly Street Fight – sooner or later he was going to take the strap and use it as a tool to keep his undefeated streak alive.

What wasn’t predictable, however, was Powerhouse Hobbs attacking his long-time tag team partner after he delivered an impassioned speech about how much his lost title meant to him as even Taz sounded shocked on commentary. What gives? Was Hobbs going into business for himself and leaving Starks and Team Taz behind? Or did he do the deed at the behest of Hook, or even Taz for one reason or another, and the duo will now go forward as a two-man team with Hobbs serving as the muscle?

Needless to say, this is going to be interesting indeed.

When Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland won the AEW Tag Team Championships, Dave Meltzer reported in his Wrestling Observer News Letter reported that Swerve in our Glory and the Team Taz pairing of Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks were internally viewed as two of the top-five teams in the promotion alongside the Young Bucks, FTR, and the Lucha Brothers. Has that changed? Or could this “breakup” be more of a bump in the road than an outright parting of ways a la Lee and Strickland at the post-Double or Nothing Casino Battle Royale? Either way, we will find out soon enough.

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