Ricy Starks faces the biggest challenge of his career later this week. The former FTW Champion looks to etch his name in the history books when he challenges MJF for the AEW World Heavyweight Championship at Winter is Coming.

Sparks spoke with DAZN about a number of topics, including the opportunity to work closely with CM Punk and William Regal in AEW over the past year.

Punk name-dropped Starks during one of his first promos after returning to pro wrestling. He thinks the ‘Punk thing’ really helped the way fans perceive him, but he’s a bit annoyed they never got to work together in the ring.

“It’s not to stroke my own ego, but it’s about iron sharpening iron,” he said. “I’m definitely a type of person that would be able to benefit from that in terms of just excelling in my talent.”

Starks says he learned a lot from working with Punk and Regal behind the scenes. Punk’s AEW status remains questionable at best, but Starks is still hopeful they’ll get to wrestle at some point down the line.

“I am hopeful that down the line I do get that matchup. If not, then I get it. That’s how the business is. But it would be nice (smiles). It would be nice to be able to work with somebody of that caliber because besides Sting, I’ve yet to work with someone of such a high caliber.”  

Catch Ricky Starks vs. MJF this Wednesday on TBS when AEW presents the special ‘Winter is Coming’ edition of Dynamite.