Ricky Starks suffered a neck injury on the April 21 episode of AEW Dynamite when he landed awkwardly following a german suplex from Hangman Page.
Starks was out of action until July 14 when he returned to defeat Brian Cage and win the FTW Title.
Despite being cleared for the match, Starks had remained inactive outside of a match against Darius Lockhart on September 11 that was taped for AEW Dark.
Speaking to Denise Salcedo of Instinct Culture, Starks clarified the situation regarding his neck injury.
"No, the situation is that I've been cleared since July, I had a match in Austin, and that was my first match after the neck injury, and I've been cleared there after. For whatever reason people just put together 'well he isn't on TV because of that.' That was never stated, that was never confirmed or anything like that. I do appreciate having the time off though, to further heal up my neck.When you have a broken neck, when you have a fractured neck, whatever type of bone that is broken, you have 3/4 months that it's healed, but to fully heal it takes like 2 years. That's just from a doctor's point, a bone doesn't fully heal until 2 years after. So I am always gonna have that, but to have the time off, and to have the time where I am still on TV and commentating and things like that, I am very appreciative of it, especially AEW giving me that time to slow it down and take my time with it. Anyone else could have rushed me back into the ring," he said.
Despite not wrestling, Starks remained on television to continue his feud with Brian Cage over the FTW Championship.
Starks and Cage finally settled the score on the October 8 episode of AEW Rampage in a street fight with Starks picking up the victory.
"I honestly was happy to finally have this match. I know we had went through some injuries, Brian had some knee issues and things like that but I was happy to just get it over with and be done with it," he said. "Everyone thinks my neck, like if I still have a broken neck. No. I had a match in July, that I was actually cleared for and I'd been clear since July. Just things haven't happened to where I was having matches. So to have a match especially in Philadelphia, of all places especially with wrestling history and to have it as a street fight, it was insane. I am still feeling some stiffness and what not just because I hadn't been wrestling too much. But I am glad that it's over with. I definitely got my ass kicked for sure and hopefully it paid off. "
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