They attacked. They caused havoc. They wanted retribution. They failed. In short that is the story of the newest faction in WWE, Retribution. The team that debuted with so much excitement, so much mystery, so much intrigue, but have ultimately fallen flat. But how did WWE get it so wrong?
They were had one of the hottest debuts in WWE since The Shield debuted in the main event of Survivor Series 2012, stating that they would “cause chaos and shake up the organisations structure”. They tampered with the lights, they destroyed the power generators and they attacked superstars at random.
The unknown balaclava wearing group were the talk of the WWE Universe for weeks, with their identities being the biggest mystery on everyone lips. Could it be a superstar like CM Punk returning? Could it be some of the biggest names in NXT making their main roster debut? The possibilities were endless.
When it was finally announced that the main core of Retribution would be revealing themselves to the world, everyone was excited. But that’s when things went… wrong. When you think of great factions in WWE you think of names such as Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton and Ric Flair.
When you think of Retribution now all you think of is: T-Bar, Mace and Slapjack. The menace behind the group, the anticipation behind the group, all ruined in an instant by these comical names that are reminiscent of the 60s era of professional wrestling.
These names for the group just did not help them, instead they became a laughingstock on social media. Tie in their ridiculous masks that the members were now sporting, and you really have a recipe for disaster. But come on this is WWE, right? Names and attire shouldn’t defy a wrestler, they still had a chance.
Revenge is for the weak. Retribution is for the mighty. pic.twitter.com/nYS05tUWHQ
— Mustafa Ali / Adeel Alam (@AliWWE) October 24, 2020
Alongside their two female members of the group, Reckoning and Retaliation, they immediately began feuding with Raw’s other big faction, The Hurt Business. So, we all know the biggest thing a new faction needs is wins, right? Well that’s exactly what Retribution didn’t get.
Going up against a team of established stars such as MVP, Bobby Lashley, Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander meant that they just looked weak. With no personality shining through due to the masks, against the sheer charisma from the members of The Hurt Business, this feud has only hindered Retribution rather than assisted them.
— WWE. (@ActuaIWWE) October 27, 2020
But wait, surely if we threw in an established star as their leader who could be their anchor and voice piece all in one that would help them right? Enter Mustafa Ali. He has been one of the brightest starts in the last year on Smackdown, consistently performing against whoever he faces and always winning over the crowd with his athletic ability.
But his character was getting stale and wasn’t really leading anywhere on the blue brand as a singles competitor. Shaking things up and making him a heel in charge of this new group was just what Ali needed to kick-start his career for the better.
I sound like a broken record, right? But this just wasn’t the case. Instead Ali has come across as this cowardly figure that uses the other members of the group to protect him, so he doesn’t have to be on the receiving end of any beatings.
This menacing look for Retribution has just seemingly gone out the window and it is clear that WWE creative team have no real direction for them to go. Both Slapjack and T-Bar tapped out to Lashley over the last week, with one coming on their first WWE PPV. Then when the other members came down to the ring to attack Lashley he fought them off single handed, further ruining their image.
As of writing this I really don’t know how WWE can turn Retributions fortunes around to make them look strong again. For starters I would remove their masks, give them a character each and start to build them up. Have them go after the tag team titles, the United States title, but have them most importantly start to win.
It may take some time, but WWE can rebuild this faction and if they start to put time and effort into building Ali he can for sure go on to challenge for major titles one day in WWE. Factions are built to build superstars so they can improve and go on to better things. This is what all the members of Retribution need most, time to improve, characters and wins. Who knows, in six months’ time Retribution could be holding all the gold?