After struggling to really take off for weeks, tonight’s episode of WWE Raw may have finally made RETRIBUTION as amazing as we’d hoped.
It’s been over two months since we saw the first glimpse of RETRIBUTION during security footage on WWE Raw when video showed a hooded group lighting up a stack of equipment with a Molotov cocktail. Since that moment, the group has seen an incredibly inconsistent run.
We’ve seen shocking moments like their destruction of the WWE Performance Center, but we’ve also seen anticlimactic attacks by the group get easily fended off. In recent weeks, we seemed to get confirmation of exactly who was in the group as their custom masks allowed enough of a glimpse as to who was indeed behind those masks.
We even got their new names. T-Bar (formerly Dominik Dijakovic), Mace (formerly Dio Maddin), Slapjack (formerly Shane Thorne), Reckoning (formerly Mia Yim), and Retaliation (formerly Mercedes Martinez) rounded out a five-person group that left warnings with hidden voices about their plans to destroy the WWE.
As hopeful as many of us were to see these former NXT stars in this role, the online reactions indicated the group could be dead on arrival and may have lost all hope for being something amazing. Despite the best efforts of those in the group, even on Twitter, things weren’t looking good.
Tonight on WWE Raw, that may have finally all been remedied. Late in the night, MVP of The Hurt Business was in the ring to take on Mustafa Ali. Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin were at ringside to support MVP, but during the contest the lights went out and RETRIBUTION began to swarm the ring.
MVP began pleading with Mustafa Ali, asking if he would be on their side at least for this moment. Ali hesitated, but agreed and turned to stand with The Hurt Business against the approaching RETRIBUTION.
That’s when everything changed. Mustafa Ali slid out of the ring and approached the massive duo of T-Bar and Mace, seemingly showing courage to stand up to these dangerous figures. Ali finally turned, smiled, and said “get ’em.”
Everything changed. RETRIBUTION did as Mustafa Ali said, swarming the ring and ultimately destroying The Hurt Business in moments. With the damage done, Mustafa Ali stood in the ring in front of the group with his hand outstretched, positioning himself clearly and definitively as the leader of RETRIBUTION.
On commentary, Samoa Joe shouted the questions we were all thinking. How long has Mustafa Ali been planning this? How long has he been in the background orchestrating every moment?
This could go back as far as the hacker storyline, something we saw in WWE before WrestleMania 36. Mustafa Ali was rumored at the time to be revealed as the hacker, and the one who had revealed Sonya Deville’s betrayal of Mandy Rose, sparking an implosion between the friends and a bitter rivalry that included Otis and Dolph Ziggler.
Has Mustafa Ali been planning this since before WrestleMania 36? The reality is that WWE may not deserve ultimate credit on this, there’s a chance they’ve fumbled their way into this moment and didn’t properly plan this.
That doesn’t really matter, though. Despite all the fumbles, and the problematic imagery, Mustafa Ali is leading a faction of former NXT standouts to target the evils of WWE. We may finally be seeing the redemption of RETRIBUTION.