Indie Watch: Extra Talented – “Absolute” Ricky Starks

Indie Watch is our regular series that looks at all of the amazing talents working the independent circuits around the world. Some are veterans revitalizing their careers, some are indie prospects hitting their peaks, while others are names to be on the watch for! This edition looks at a rising star from the Texas indie circuit who has exploded onto the national stage in the past couple years, including appearances in the WWE and being one half of Extra Talented, the “Absolute” Ricky Starks.

Photo: James Musselwhite / Portrait of a Wrestler

Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Ricky Starks got his start in wrestling when he began training in 2012 with Mr. Mexico II, a local wrestler who also worked in the California indie scene. He got his start with Anarchy Championship Wrestling (ACW) in October 2012, and by the following year was also working for Inspire Pro Wrestling and Lonestar Championship Wrestling (LCW) in the area.

He also began to work his way up into the Southern indie scene, with his hometown promotion WildKat Wrestling in Louisiana, as well as St. Louis Anarchy and Georgia’s Anarchy Wrestling. By October, he was moving into the Northeast, debuting with Beyond Wrestling, after working a dark match with Ring of Honor that past June. An athletic wrestler who could fly with the best of them, his wrestling heroes were the farthest thing from his own style. A life long wrestling fan, he told the British Wrestling Revival in 2017 that he “always told everyone I knew I’d become a pro wrestler and I did. I don’t think any one person inspired me but rather everyone, you know? My favorites are Mankind, Undertaker, The Rock. An odd list but those are who I was in awe of.”

In early 2014, he worked a dark match for EVOLVE Wrestling and continued to work around the country, defying gravity and honing his craft as one of the South’s most talented prospects. His strong work on the indies continued and after a run as the Inspire Pro Junior Crown Champion in 2014, he followed it up with the Inspire Pro Championship in 2015, which he held for a whopping 413 days.

In 2016, people began to take more notice of Starks when he debuted with WrestleCircus. One company that Starks hit the radar of was the WWE. In January he appeared on NXT television in a tag match against Enzo & Big Cass and in June faced off against “The Big Red Machine” Kane on WWE Main Event.

In 2017, he paired up with a California indie wrestler and Lance Storm trainee Aaron Solow to form Extra Talented, who has become one of the indie scene’s top tag teams. That year they captured the WrestleCircus Big Top Tag Team Champions, defeating The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz). The tandem made their UK debut that same year, working for a multitude of the UK’s top indie promotions, including PROGRESS, Over The Top (OTT) Wrestling, Southside Wrestling Entertainment (SWE), Fight Club: PRO and ATTACK! They also made their Bar Wrestling debut that November in one of Candice LeRae‘s last matches in The World’s Cutest Tag Team with Joey Ryan. He also won the ACW Television Championship and held it an astounding 651 days.

2018 started off with a bang, as Extra Talented appeared on Monday Night Raw against The Revival, as well as debuted with Chicago’s All American Wrestling (AAW), but Starks still maintained a solid singles career in the process. He appeared on the first season of Dojo Pro and made his debuts for Aro Lucha and DEFY Wrestling. This past January, he returned to Canada for the first time in a while, debuting with Ethan Page‘s Alpha-1 promotion in Hamilton, Ontario, all while remaining an imposing force on the Texas indies with ACW and Inspire Pro.

With a mass exodus of top tier indie stars leaving for contracts with WWE/NXT, Ring of Honor and All Elite Wrestling, a massive void has been left which new stars will be looking to fill, as new opportunities arise for new national stars to be created. If his journey so far is any indication, by the end of 2019 Ricky Starks could just become one of the next big things in the US indie scene.

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