Retribution has been wreaking havoc on WWE Raw (and a couple of times on Smackdown) for a while now, but we still don’t know anything about them. They’ve started cutting promos, but they’re still wearing those black masks with their all-black outfits, and they haven’t had an actual match. Retribution segments tend to involve a bunch of extras, making it hard to tell how big the group is supposed to be. Recently, however, five members have begun to emerge as the core of the group. Reports have come out regarding who those five are, and the names do make some sense.
According to Post Wrestling, the five central members of Retribution are the ones who appeared in the promo segment on Raw this week. If you look at that video, it’s pretty easy to recognize them.
On the left is Shane Thorne, once a member of TM61 (aka The Mighty) with his since-released partner Nick Miller. In back of the group is Dio Maddin, who was part of the Raw announce team for a few months last fall, before returning to NXT to get back in the ring. In front of Dio is Mercedes Martinez, indie vet and former Mae Young Classic competitor who just got booted from the Robert Stone Brand after losing a cage match to Rhea Ripley. Next to her is Mia Yim, who has been working as hard as anybody in NXT for the past few years, without ever being treated like a serious title contender. And finally, on the right is Dominik Dijakovic, former best frenemy of Keith Lee and noted Very Large Man. Dijakovic and Martinez were the two who spoke in the segment.
The promo started out being sort of broadly about letting go of the WWE dream and believing that the company is holding you back, but then it gets kind of abstract right at the end when Dominik starts talking about enjoying oblivion or whatever. But the main point is clearly that they don’t like WWE, and therefore don’t like anybody who sides with WWE, which apparently includes all the wrestlers who aren’t wearing black masks and hoodies. It’s really pretty typical heel faction stuff, with the lightest antifa gloss painted over it.
A lot of people thought Retribution would be made up of wrestlers who WWE laid off back in April. That would make narrative sense, although it might feel a little gross, and at the end of the day I just don’t know that anybody really wants a faction made up of people who got laid off in April and haven’t already signed with Impact or AEW. When people were fantasy booking that version of Retribution, I’m pretty sure they were picturing Rusev pulling one of those masks off, and it definitely wouldn’t have revealed bleach blond hair and Mickey Mouse couture.
So now of course the big question is, does this go anywhere? Although a lot of their segments have been lackluster up to now, I don’t think it would be impossible to build them up as a credible threat, especially with five performers so talented doing the in-ring work that surely has to come eventually. Still, the next thing that needs to happen right now is their unmasking. The Wrestling Observer has reported that WWE has considered keeping them masked for months to come, which was already a terrible idea, and would be a disaster now that their names have leaked out.
It’s time for WWE to decide what they ultimately want Retribution to be, and work on making them that. The one thing they can’t be anymore is a mystery.