Cody Rhodes made a stunning comeback at the 2023 Royal Rumble after being sidelined for several months due to a torn pectoral injury. He made a dramatic entrance as the 30th and final participant in the match, ultimately emerging victorious and securing his spot at WrestleMania.

While Rhodes’ win was a major talking point, fans were also abuzz about a separate incident that occurred prior to the match. Photos began circulating on social media showing Ricky Starks, a popular wrestler and Rhodes’ former teammate, entering the arena alongside Rhodes.

The images fueled speculation that Starks may be making a return to WWE, sparking excitement among fans who are eager to see what the future holds for both Starks and Rhodes in the world of professional wrestling.

Obviously, that wasn’t the case, as Ricky Starks is still working in AEW. While speaking on Out of Character with Ryan Satin, Cody Rhodes addressed the aforementioned Royal Rumble incident. Rhodes ultimately blamed himself for it and made it clear it will not happen again.


“I’ll take full blame. My fault. It was a friend coming to see me in a very big, truly emotional moment. To lose your confidence as an athlete, a fighter, and entertainer; to get back up off the mat, and not just get back up, you have to be at the level you were. I liked having people in my circle around me. I think also, that will be the only time anyone from another company is ever present because it creates a conversation that is not accurate.

It creates an outlook…this is my friend. He wanted to be there to support me. He should have stayed his butt on the bus, he did not, and because of that, no friends at work anymore. I’ll make some new friends at WWE so there is not random surveillance photos of them and I walking backstage. You know you’re pretty popular when people are making a story out of that. So, I guess good for the Rick Man.”

Ricky Starks previously reacted to the photo, posting it on social media and referencing the “GTV” storyline that played out in WWE in 1998-99. Regardless, it will always remain a memorable incident, for better or worse.

Cody Rhodes is set to challenge Roman Reigns for the Undisputed Universal Championship at WrestleMania 39. While Starks might not be present with him for the event, he will definitely cheer for Rhodes, no matter where he is.

Subhojeet Mukherjee

Subhojeet is a professional wrestling fan for over 22 years. He got captivated by the sport during the Monday Night Wars and has a passion for it ever since. He also enjoys TV shows, movies, anime, novels and music, which broadens his perspective and appreciation for wrestling. He is a knowledgeable and respected voice in the industry.

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