When Ricky Starks appeared in Cody Rhodes‘ party at WrestleMania 40, it made waves on social media.

Sure, it's the worst kept secret imaginable that Starks and Rhodes are good friends, as their relationship was featured prominently on the latter's Rhodes to the Top show on TNT, but in the eyes of some fans, having an AEW guy appear at a WWE event, even if it wasn't in an official capacity, or even on camera, felt weird, with every imaginable take being thrown around on social media int he aftermath.

Discussing his appearance in support of Rhodes on arguably the most important night of his professional wrestling career in an interview with WhatCulture, Starks explained why he had no hesitation in going to WrestleMania 40, as he has nothing but love and loyalty for the “American Nightmare.”

“Dude, I made a joke to Cody. I was like, that video, they caught the video of me acting like that after I just saw ‘Taker come out, dude. It wasn't because you were winning. I was making that joke with him. Bro, it was crazy. It was really cool to witness that because Cody… people make all these jokes about me being Cody's friend and all this stuff, but the reality of it is that I shouldn't feel like I can't talk about a friend that I have,” Ricky Starks told WhatCulture Wrestling via Fightful.

“Cody has done more for me behind closed doors and for my family than anyone will ever know. I don't have to explain myself or justify any type of relationship I have with someone. But I will just end it to that and say, beyond this wrestling s**t, he's done more for me than I could have ever asked someone to do. So in return, he will always have my loyalty and respect because that is how, me as a person, that's how I operate. So to see that, to see that live, to know the things that he went through the year prior, that was really cool to see because, as a friend, you should always want to see somebody succeed. I was there to see Jade have her WrestleMania match, and I was so floored. Me and Jade were training so hard months prior to doing all that. No one knows that. It's cool because I'm invested as a person outside of wrestling to see these people succeed in what they are working towards, and they would do the same for me. So it was great to be there and to share that with everybody in the box.”

Whoa, interesting stuff, right? Well wait, it gets even better, as “Absolute” had plenty more to say on the subject, including his deep dissatisfaction with tribalism in professional wrestling, which ruins being able to enjoy the sport for everyone.

Ricky Starks refuses to play into WWE versus AEW tribalism.

Discussing his WrestleMania appearance further in an interview with WhatCulture, Ricky Starks recalled how unusual it was for someone to leak the security footage of him walking with Cody Rhodes before the show, noting that some fans simply take their wrestling fandom too seriously.

“I loved it. I have no problem with supporting friends at other companies and all that stuff. I don't believe in that tribalism bulls**t. You got people who've never been in wrestling that try to push that agenda, but I don't care. When I went to go see Cody at the Rumble, someone leaked the security footage. It's not like I was trying to be seen. Someone leaked that footage. It was so bizarre, so weird,” Ricky Starks explained.

“I was doing my part of trying not to bring any focus to me. Just because I kind of knew, like, all right, I'm just gonna chill out. That's always how it is. I'm just trying to chill out. I'm not trying to be out here with a flag, saying, ‘Hey, here I am.' That's not it. But I'll be d**ned if I let anybody, whether it's the people I work with, whether the people online, I'll be d**ned if I let anyone let me feel like you shouldn't have friends. Think about that. Outside of this wrestling bubble, that's sad. It's mind-numbing to be like, ‘We're mad at this guy, this guy sucks because he wanted to go see his friend.' It's like, guys, it's not that big of a deal. I'm just there watching wrestling. I'm going to continue to support my friends at whatever company because who's gonna tell me otherwise? Who am I hurting? What village am I pillaging? Who cares?”

For better or worse, plenty of wrestling fans look at AEW versus WWE like the Dallas Cowboys versus the Philadelphia Eagles or the Los Angeles Lakers versus the Boston Celtics, instead of, say, 30 Rock and also Parks and Recreation. Will the day eventually come when everyone is cool with each other, with AEW fans accepting WWE fans and vice versa, since stars from one promotion routinely get hired by the other? I mean, probably not, but hey, one can dream, right?