Cody Rhodes addresses AEW’s Ricky Starks backstage for the 2023 Royal Rumble

Backstage photos from this year royal rumble event at the Alamodome revealed that Cody Rhodes came to the event with rising AEW star Ricky Starks. While wrestlers in various companies having friendships are nothing new, the photo eventually went viral given Rhodes’ status as the biggest name to leave the fledgling promotion in favor of returning to the WWE. Rhodes spoke about it in a new interview with Inside The Ropes, saying he hoped Starks wouldn’t get in trouble for it.

“Listen, it’s one of those things where the locker rooms intersect. People are married to other people from other locker rooms. People are friends. This is a boy I started on his journey in my former home, and of course I want to follow and see his journey but i will say it’s probably best none of my friends come visit me at the shows anymore we don’t need any security camera footage for that poor guy i hope he didn’t get in trouble . I don’t think he did. He was there to support a friend who was absolutely down and out with a chest injury,” stated Rhodes (h/t

“Ricky was one of the guys that helped me through it to some extent and reminded 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’re not crazy jeers Hopefully we can watch each other from a distance I don’t want to cause a fight between any places We all like 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 in Los Angeles in April. Meanwhile, Starks came up short in his AEW World Championship match with MJF in December and has since been on a schedule with Chris Jericho, The JAS and Action Andretti. Starks famously earned a contract with AEW in 2020 by impressing Tony Khan in a TNT Championship match with Rhodes.

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