RETRIBUTION aren’t out of the woods yet, but they picked up an important victory on WWE Raw on the go-home show before Survivor Series.
The biggest story on the episode of WWE Raw before Survivor Series was undoubtedly Drew McIntyre winning his second championship by beating Randy Orton for a third time, and the best match of the night was the tag title match between the New Day and the Hurt Business.
But lost among the major title matches was a huge win for the promotion’s newest faction, RETRIBUTION.
The group seemed to be in trouble for weeks. They tapped out in their debut match, their new leader was cowering in fear in front of other wrestlers, and they seemed to be created as a means of Vince McMahon burying an ideology that is at odds with his own self-interests.
Through it all, the members of RETRIBUTION never stopped doing their best to make this work. T-Bar and Reckoning continued their excellent work on social media. And Mustafa Ali, the group’s leader, was money on the microphone and on social media, hitting A-plus promos week after week in spite of WWE’s frustratingly woeful booking.
Ali scored a major win in singles competition the previous week against Ricochet, who still has a standing offer from Ali to join the faction. The match between Ricochet and Ali stole the show and was the highlight of another plodding episode of Raw. Two of the most talented wrestlers in the company, Ricochet and Ali left it all in the ring, with Ali coming out on top.
And this week, WWE followed it up with RETRIBUTION winning their biggest match yet against four of Team Raw’s competitors at Survivor Series (Braun Strowman, Riddle, Keith Lee, and Sheamus…AJ Styles was on commentary).
Now, the match may have been simply to add more uncertainty to Team Raw before Survivor Series, in lieu of an actually enticing build to the five-on-five matches at the no-stakes Pay Per View. Maybe that was the reason for Team Raw’s loss, rather than the match being RETRIBUTION’s momentum-building win.
But I choose to be optimistic. To me, it meant something that RETRIBUTION defeated Team Raw, with Mustafa Ali creating confusion and pinning Team Raw’s weak link, Riddle, amidst the chaos. Yes, it was a roll-up, but the victory in chaos was almost poetic of what RETRIBUTION is all about as a team.
They were a team, working together to finally pick up a victory in a meaningful match on Monday night. It’s a potential sign of things to come.
But most importantly, it was exactly what RETRIBUTION needed. As amazing as Ali is on the mic, great promos will fall flat if they cannot be backed up by wins. Just ask Bray Wyatt how that went for him before he concocted the Fiend.
So it was huge for Ali and Co. to get the win, especially in a match that many fans were worried would serve as RETRIBUTION’s burial to Team Raw.
Instead, RETRIBUTION won, and, hopefully, they have a big role to play on WWE programming before 2020 closes.